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GrogHeads Reviews Making History: The Great War

Before they made the sequel, there was the original World War.  Muzzy Lane’s take on World War I was recently released after a lengthy beta period, and our review teams gives it a go.

Jim Owczarski, 28 February 2015

Designing global strategy games in a digital environment  requires a commitment to both craft and art.  It requires an acute sense of what information, which details, can safely be kept hidden from the player — unless he really wants to know — and those which, if hidden, will leave players screaming at their monitors because they can’t figure out how to do something they really need to do.  More, it requires a careful understanding of how to communicate events going on in the world around the player in ways that don’t introduce absurd tedium — I’m looking right at you Europa Universalis III — while simultaneously preventing head-slapping aggravation when the player suddenly realizes that the Sudan sued for peace in its war against the Anglo-Egyptian government 12 turns ago and he never noticed it.

My respect for what Muzzy Lane attempts in its “Making History: The Great War”, then, is great.  I only wish I could say they’d done a better job in the event.

The topic isn’t a surprising one given the centennial observations of World War I and a number of other developers have offered their takes.  If nothing else, Muzzy Lane’s is familiar as it uses the Sandstone engine previously seen in “The Calm and the Storm” and “The War of the World”.  Players are the now-commonplace nigh-omniscient rulers of nations charged with the building of infrastructure, armies, technologies, and economies, and then guiding those they lead into the tempest of Europe in the years after 1912.  Units are typically “division” sized (more on that in a bit) and the game. which one should note up front is turn-based, runs in one-week turns.

“The Great War” (hereafter TGW) does not skimp on the choice of nations to control.  Every strategy guide you read for games of this type tells you that it’s a bad idea to try and learn a system from some remote corner of the globe, but I already know a great deal about this history of the British, French, German, American, &c., empires and definitely fancied the notion of playing out the first half of the 20th Century from the Emirate of Jabal Shammar

Caption:  You thought I was kidding?

Caption:  You thought I was kidding?

Tuesday Screenshot – Making History: The Great War

Revisiting Muzzy Lane’s excellent WWI game, which we had previously covered here.

click to enlarge

 

MLMHGW-SectarianUnrest

 

Unrest spreads again
What’s your next move commander?
Next crisis awaits

 


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Tuesday Screenshot – Making History: The Great War

Back to Muzzy Lane’s Making History: The Great War; read the developer interview here.

click to enlarge

MLMHGW-Italianfleet

Italian navy
still afloat against the odds
and looking good too!

Share your screenshots here >>

Tuesday Screenshot – Making History: The Great War

Revisiting Muzzy Lane’s excellent WWI game, which we had previously covered here.

click to enlarge

 

Mutiny

 

Rebellion Against
Another sprawling empire
A long time ago…

 


Share your screenshots here >>

Developer Interview with Muzzy Lane Software

Craig Handler has a chat with the Muzzy Lane crew about their upcoming release in the Making History series, The Great War.

 

muzzyLANEWe recently had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Parsons, the Product Manager at Muzzy Lane Software, to talk about their upcoming grand strategy game, Making History: The Great War.  As Muzzy Lane’s first departure from the battlefields of the Second Word War, this new title in the Making History series spans from 1910 through 1922, and will focus on the horrific trench warfare of World War I.  Making History: The Great War promises to permit players to experiment with revolutionary new armaments, technologies and strategies in an effort to rewrite history by leading one of the great powers during one of the most turbulent and pivotal times in modern world history.

With Making History: The Great War, Muzzy Lane hopes to appeal to serious historians and hardcore gamers, alike, by combining historical authenticity with a design system geared towards fostering education through strategic gaming.

 

GH: Thanks for agreeing to sit down with us to talk about Making History: The Great War. As you can see from our forums, there is a lot of excitement in the air over this upcoming early access release. Our readers, who consist of old fans of the Making History series, as well as new comers, are interested in learning about Muzzy Lane, the Making History series and importantly, Making History: The Great War.

Muzzy Lane games seem to be more focused toward education and the classroom, rather than the traditional commercial gaming market. What are the backgrounds of the individuals behind Muzzy Lane and is there professional experience as educators, teachers, professors, etc.?  If so, does any of this professional experience focus on either of the World Wars?

ML: At its core, Muzzy Lane is a technology company that focuses on game-based learning.  In addition to education, we also make games for business training and for healthcare, and of course, for strategy gamers!  Our underlying technology allows us to customize the learning for specific subjects and curriculums, and share the actions taken in the game with everyone involved.  This same engine drives our Making History games as well.  The founders include educators and engineers, and from the start we’ve always worked with subject matter experts.  For example, we worked closely with economic historian Niall Ferguson on Making History II, and the name of that game: “The War of the World” is taken from his book of the same name.