Tag Archives: Tactical

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 15

The toddler of tanks talks tellingly about trench tactics ~

Lloyd Sabin, 22 January 2018

It took me a ridiculous amount of time to finally fire it up, but this past week I got in some time with Battlefield 1’s single player component, called War Stories. Each story is set at a different front of the First World War. There is a tutorial in which the player takes the role of a black soldier of the 369th Harlem Hellfighters, attempting to hold off a brutal German onslaught. It throws the player directly in to the storm and forces learning by doing. It can be chaotic and insane, but that’s the point. This tutorial is hardcore but effective.

It can be chaotic and insane, but that’s the point.

Out of the six different War Stories (including the tutorial), the player can choose any of the next five in any order he chooses. The next one I chose was set during the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, and as you can probably guess, it puts the player in the boots of a British tanker, assigned to the Black Bess, a kitted-out Mark V tank.

This particular War Story, entitled “Through Mud & Blood,” is broken in to four different chapters which see the player engaged in tank on tank combat against German armored cars, captured French tanks, anti-tank troops, and also engaging in dismounted, commando-style combat against a variety of German troop types. There are literally dozens of weapons to choose from when not piloting Black Bess, the environments are totally destructible, and the combat can be frenetic. Static trench warfare, this is not.

That said, at times it felt like the game was a re-skinned version of other Battlefield games. The First World War vibe is definitely there, but the high-paced combat sometimes felt a little too modern. I still enjoyed it very much…so much so that I’m even dabbling with the idea of playing MP. But so far my hate for people in general has kept me from diving in to an MP game with other players who I don’t know. Months ago, someone in the forums claimed that Battlefield 1 felt like a steampunk Battlefield game, and to a certain extent I found that to be true.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 12

GrogHeads’ rump-height rapscallion rides the ropes ~

Lloyd Sabin, 25 December 2017

I’m sure there are many games that you return to after months or even years away. This was the case for me with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue. You know, the AssCreed just after Black Flag that kept the well done naval combat but shifted settings to New York’s Hudson River Valley during the French and Indian War in the 1750s.

It’s one of those games that makes players excited to be gamers, and I can’t think of a better comment to lavish upon it!

Oh and your in-game avatar spent most of the game breaking away from his usual Assassin’s guild and worked on joining the Templars. Traitor? Turncoat? Depends on your perspective.

Rogue does give players an opportunity to explore the beautiful Hudson River Valley hinterland as well as its bigger cities like Albany and New York City, one of the only games I can recall that provides that setting. And living here in that setting 250 years later made Rogue irresistible…it just draws players in with beautiful graphics, stealthy mechanics (where you want them), a solid naval combat component, even fleet management.

Classic Reviews – Prisoner of War

Got a hankering to conduct your own Great Escape? ~

Michael Eckenfels, 19 December 2017

Developed by Wide Games and Published by Codemasters

Prisoner of War is an evolution, of sorts, of the usual mind-assaulting first-person shooters – or a regression, depending on one’s perception. True adventure games with more puzzle solving and limited or no violence are rare; such a title set in the chaos of World War II makes for an even more interesting game. I tried hard, however, to not like this game; I’m afraid that this perception came from the plethora of lukewarm reviews that have preceded mine into print regarding this title.  Something tugged at me, however, to check this one out; I had a feeling I might not be disappointed.
Besides the Cold War, very little can evoke images of skullduggery or sneaky missions performed behind enemy lines like World War II. OSS agents mixing it up with fedora-donned instruments of the Gestapo and their jack-booted gun-toting guards…it’s a time of intrigue that helps to define modern standards for suspenseful storytelling.

So bring in Prisoner of War. No, it’s not about spying, but the premise is similar: an Allied pilot is shot down behind German lines while running a photoreconnaissance mission. He’s captured and brought to a sort of way-station (which doubles as a truck depot) for prisoners that are eventually shipped off to the official Stalag Luft prisoner-of-war camps. The pilot, one Captain Lewis Stone, resolves immediately and heroically to not stand for such imprisonment, and is off on one minor adventure after another to outwit his German captors and escape to freedom. Along the way, he uncovers a heinous plot that he tries to stop.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 10

Our pint-sized pistoleer picks up Pike & Shot ~

Lloyd Sabin, 11 December 2017

If you include fan made scenarios and campaigns, Pike & Shot Campaigns covers warfare all the way up to the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

As soon as I learned that the Pike & Shot: Campaigns engine was the same one used by the Battle Academy games, I knew I would be drawn in. I love those games for their simplicity and also for the sense of urgency their turn-based structure creates. In some ways they create a sense of tension usually reserved for playing against other humans, either digitally or in person in a board game. Pike & Shot is exactly the same, with the added bonus of covering European conflicts that are generally lacking in game coverage from the late 1400s to the late 1600s. If you include fan made scenarios and campaigns, Pike & Shot Campaigns covers warfare all the way up to the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

It had been a while since I had fired up Pike & Shot: Campaigns to look around, but I quickly downloaded literally dozens of fan made scenarios, including ones based on the 16th century Italian Wars, the early 18th century Great Northern War, a Gustavus Adolphus campaign and many more. I then started the first tutorial mission. It was one of four in the the tutorial campaign portraying the struggle of 17th century Transylvanian Boyars against the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. Digest that for a moment, I’ll wait…

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the Fifth

The continuing chronicles of last summer’s wanderings ~

Jim Owczarski, 2 December 2017

On the evening of October 13, 1806, Napoleon I, emperor of the French, made his headquarters here at the site of what is now the Jena Battlefield Museum.

If the displays are to be believed, a recent proprietor was given to dressing up as Napoleon annually and playing at Jena.  I admire this.