Mark H Walker takes a few minutes to talk with us about the new Heroes More »
Mark H Walker takes a few minutes to talk with us about the new Heroes of Stalingrad game – the first digital entry in the Lock’n'Load line.
9 March 2014
Grogheads: OK, first things first: It’s been, what? – 6 years! What’s taken so long to get this game out?
W. First off, making a computer game is difficult. Damn difficult. I’ve written novels, designed board games, and raised three daughters. Creating Heroes of Stalingrad ranks right up there. If both Tom (the programmer) and I had been full time on the game, it might have been easier. However, I work full weeks designing board games as well as keeping the company that publishes them moving forward. By the same token, Tom also has several other irons in the fire. Hence the game took longer than we would have liked.
Secondly, nothing beats experience. I consider myself video and computer game fluent. I wrote full time in the industry for ten years before I founded Lock ‘n Load Publishing, but nothing prepares you for creating a computer game better than creating a computer game. We were lucky to have Matrix’s Erik Rutens join the team as producer, and bring the game home. His experience was invaluable.
GH: As computer games go, this one is clearly “playing a board game on the computer”. How hard was it to maintain the feel of the board game as you worked on the computer game? What were some of the particular challenges of keeping the soul of the game as you digitized it?
W. Not hard at all. Basically the design document centered on making this a PC board game.
GH: For someone who has never seen the board games, what’s the pitch for picking up this game over a comparable-scale WWII computer game?
W. It’s much better. LOL. Taking into consideration that this is a hex and counter game and no threat to the Titanfall crowd… it’s pretty, it’s immersive, it’s easy to get into, it doesn’t take itself seriously, and it has a cute Russian nurse.
GH: For the boardgamers out there, why should this be the game that causes them to boot up the computer instead of cracking a beer and taking over the dining room table with a map and counters?
W. They shouldn’t. If you have a chance to down a Parkway Get Bent IPA with friends as you play a great board game you should always do it. If you don’t have that chance HoS is a great substitute. The AI is pretty sharp, and the clean up is easy.
Unleash your inner Wolverine with the latest addition to the World at War family.
Reviewed by Scott R. Krol, 7 March 2014
Click images to enlarge
The World at War series from Mark H. Walker and his LNL Publishing is a series of tactical wargames set in a hypothetical mid-80’s World War III between the forces of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Earlier titles focused on this cold war gone hot on the European continent, but now the war comes to North America with World At War: America Conquered (henceforth, WAW: AC).
Upon picking up the box for WAW: AC the first thing one will notice is that for a relatively thin box it feels like its made of depleted uranium. LNL Publishing has filled the box with gaming goodness: four 11” x 17” mounted maps, with European folds and no American valleys, over seven hundred counters, a couple of full color player aid charts and of course a rules book. Unfortunately while all this fits snugly into the box prior to punching the counters, once the counters are punched there is no room in the box for the pieces because of the mounted maps.
The maps themselves, representing terrain in both Texas and Florida, are nice. The visuals may not be breathtaking but are simple and clean, with no confusion over what is represented. Counters are of high quality, with an almost linen like finish. Vehicles have full color side views while infantry and support weapons are NATO icons.
While many of the World at War titles have been expansions, WAW: AC is a complete, stand alone game. Ownership of earlier titles is not required to enjoy WAW: AC .
Part 3: Oopsies all around
I’m using HyperSnap, and for some reason, the suns aren’t appearing in the screenshots. Nor are the dilithium displays. So, I’ve downloaded Fraps to capture these things, so let’s see if it’s done right.
Looks like it.
So, the Seadragon moves into the Sarona star system and finds not only lots of big planets with energy and food bonuses…but dilithium as well! This is huge news, because dilithium is what makes starships move, and starships moving means the Federation becoming big and powerful, which means we’re safer when we run into ali-err, I mean, IF we run into aliens, of course.
A Review of To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo
By Avery Abernethy, 5 March 2014
To Sail a Darkling Sea is the second book by John Ringo in the Dark Tide Rising series. A zombie apocalypse has been released in the modern world by an unknown group of individuals. The Smith family, composed of an ex-military father, a mom with an engineering background, and two daughters under the age of sixteen are practical survivalists. [Stop reading here if you want to avoid spoilers about book one].
At the end of book one the father had reconnected with the tattered remains of US national command authority. The family spearheaded an effort to clean zombies off of ships in the Atlantic and gradually gather survivors. The Smiths and a small number of others in the ragtag fleet were immunized against the Zombie plague. The long run plan was to secure Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where there should be enough equipment to resume making the anti-zombie plague serum. If serum production is restarted, then the members of the US Navy in uncontaminated attack submarines can be added to the meagre US military forces attempting to retake Earth from the zombie hordes.
The book starts with the “fleet” freeing small towns and ships in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. The group traveled to this region to avoid the Caribbean hurricane season and engaged in the first land battles against the zombies, where they attempted to free small, geographically isolated towns on these tiny islands from the mindless horde.