Monthly Archives: October 2013

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm – Part 4 of 5

Author: Al Sandrik

Scenario: 11 Bravo

During Part 3 bad weather continued to hamper my plans. Limited visibility meant that the Soviets could get up close and personal before I could engage them. Reinforcements arrived to help out, but a wing of Soviet Hinds was battering one of my Abrams tank companies. Would the Cobra’s arrival come in time to tip the scales in my favor?

Turn 6, 08:50-09:20: The Soviet Hinds circling northeast of Delta/2-32 Armored didn’t disappoint and hit their position about 08:55.  As the unit was prepared three (3) Hinds went down within five (5) minutes with the remaining Hind observed headed southwest. Radio warnings were relayed to Bravo and Charlie Companies and within minutes that Hind indeed attacked Charlie Company, majorly pressing its attack. For at least fifteen (15) minutes that lone Hind engaged an Abrams Company before it to exploded into a ball of flames.  2-32Armored’s S-2/Battlefield Information Coordination Center (BICC) has analyzed the likelihood of continued Soviet attack helicopter activity to be low and accessed the Soviet battalion to be rendered combat inoperative due to losses and damage.

Elsewhere the Soviet assault continues to attempt to overrun Charlie/2-36 positions in Michelbach and while they are close to breaking Charlie Co had driven back every assault so far.  Plan on them being eliminated within the hour, but they have bought time for Bravo/2-32 Armored to enfilade the Soviet assault’s southern flank (Figure 23).

Figure 23

Figure 23

Tuesday Screenshot – Medieval WAR!

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The Holy Roman Empire vs the French…

See it played out and discussed, in our forums >>

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GARPA 30 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

Authors: Lloyd Sabin and Jim Zabek

Halloween arrives next week. I know this because my neighbor just a few houses over has a display of decorations that would shame many a professionally stocked haunted house. We moved just a few months ago and I still haven’t found the boxes with the Halloween stuff in them (though Christmas is looking good). The pathetic string of purple lights around my front door makes me feel like I’ve done something to celebrate the season – and it’s better than the guy across the street who is banking on a string of Christmas lights (green bulbs removed to give him plausible deniability) to save his bacon. Still, the lack of assorted skulls, ghosts, and ghastly visages dampens the normal joy I feel as winter begins to wrap its icy fingers around my bones.

So this edition of GARPA is tilted slightly in favor of finding projects that could accompany the spooky spirit of Halloween. But fear not, if we spot something interesting that isn’t creepy or spooky, we’ll include that, too. We are gamers after all.

PC Games

You Are Not the Hero by Donn Manalili

$33,510.00 pledged of $12,001.00 goal, funding ends November 12th

YouAreNottheHeroYou Are Not the Hero [Hero from here on in] has a great sense of humor and confidence in itself to go along with it. Its premise is simple:  things gamers usually do in RPGs should, in a perfect world, piss off the in-game NPCs as well as have repercussions. Slay a beast? It was probably someone’s pet. Kill a witch? That was my sister. And hey, get out of my bathroom!

So, how to remedy these issues? If you’re Donn Manalili, you create a 2D action platform game with an anime style which tells it like it is and places the player in the tiny, quick moving shoes of Petula, Hero’s protagonist.

The royal army has just passed through Petula’s village, scavenging for supplies and stealing some of Petula’s jewelry. Getting the jewelry back is the main quest of Hero. But the real point of the game is ignoring that main quest and doing anything else you could possibly imagine in an open world. Start a business, buy a house, explore ruins or go fishing all day…the open world of Hero intends to focus on details and not get lost in its own scope.

The technicals of Hero include:

  • Pixel-based movement instead of tile-based movement
  • Dealing with enemies through options other than combat
  • Run, jump and explore a world of forests, tunnels, and caves
  • Pound through mazes and solve puzzles
  • Different outcomes for every game depending on how you play it
  • See how the other half lives by getting a job as a farmer, innkeeper or merchant

The response to Hero on Kickstarter has been excellent and a host of goals are being met, including upgraded graphics, and is fast closing on Mac and Linux support. Additional chapters are also proposed including Petula in a modern-themed world as well as a possible horror story, so things are looking very good for Hero and supporters should be able to play it in the not-too-distant future.


Confederate Express by Maksym Pashanin

$5,215.00 pledged of $10,000 goal, funding ends November 20th

ConfederateExpressConfederate Express places players in the role of a courier. Doesn’t sound exactly thrilling from the get go, but stay with me. The game let’s players choose what kind of package they want to deliver according to their skill level, what kind of group they have assembled to deliver said package, and of course the player’s attitude towards permadeath.

All characters available to choose from are unique criminals that come from the local prison when assembling your courier team. There’s also a whole slew of loot scattered throughout the game world that you can gather as you explore while on your delivery runs. Maps are varied and randomized every time a new game is started, with the promise of a new game every time it’s started.

Of course this would all be very pedestrian without zombies, right? The back story of Confederate Express involves homeostasis, bio-engineering, a horrible ‘side effect,’ and many, many zombies, as well as an entire opposing army, rebels and angry robots. All will try to stop you from getting to where you are supposed to make your delivery.

Confederate Express is rendered in 2d sprites, with advanced lighting effects, in an interesting blend of old and new school graphic technology. The end result is a unique looking game with a bit of a creep factor and a dark sense of humor. Funding is ongoing as the developer is still looking for an audio composer and an animator, but Maksym Pashanin seems hell bent on completing this game and making his supporters happy.

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm – Part 3 of 5

Author: Al Sandrik

Scenario: 11 Bravo

During Part 2, the first turn kicked off with several surprises. A Soviet helo attack inflicted serious damage on Bravo and Charlie companies of 2-36. However, Alpha company managed to set the charges to blow a critical bridge to impede the Soviet advance. The 2-32 armored battalion moved into position in good order. During the second turn Alpha company took heavy fire from the Soviets as they now attempted to blow the bridge, but the arrival of Delta company brought some armor into the fight which quickly dispersed the Soviet mechanized company giving Alpha so much trouble. Let’s see how Turn 3 unfolds.

Turn 3, 07:07-07:45: Things continue to go well with the general defensive plan this past 30-45 minutes. The northern Soviet thrust finally cleared two of the obstacle hexes but not before bombardment from friendly SPA M106 mortars and an F-16 airstrike called in by the FAC caused significant enemy casualties. Rather than trying to bridge the blown span their mechanized units turned southwest along the river running right up against one of Alpha Company’s mechanized platoons. With the American mechanized platoon now blocking the route southwestward the over watching Abrams of Delta 2-32 were able to savage the Soviets. Bolstering the defense were several batteries of the 94th Field Artillery (FA) Battalion arrived on the battlefield and hit the thrust with harassing fire. By 07:40 the Soviet lead units were pulling back (Figure 20).

Figure 20.

Figure 20.

Around 07:15 a second Soviet mechanized thrust hit the line of resistance just east of Albstadt. As Bravo Company had been heavily attrited by the earlier helicopter attack this assault was a bit more successful, however one of Bravo Company’s platoons fought a stand up engagement with lead recon and armored elements. As I expected Bravo to be hit hard and planned for them to fall back, I’m not totally surprised but it looks like they will have to fall back to Michelbach earlier than I had planned.

Tropico 4: Apocalypse – PC Game DLC Review

Developer: Haemimont Games

Publisher: Kalypso

Author: Jim Zabek

Sandy beaches, tropical islands, piña coladas, tourists, and perky salsa music. No, I’m not day dreaming like the Zac Brown Band, I’m playing Tropico 4’s latest DLC, Apocalypse. Apocalypse offers a single new mission, How I Learned to Love the Bomb, a new skin for El Presidente, a new trait, Survivalist, and a new building, the Fallout Shelter.

Does this hazmat suit make me look fat?

Does this hazmat suit make me look fat?

I hadn’t played Tropico 4 in over a year but when the new DLC came out I figured I’d drop $5 for it and see how it treated me.

I loved it. The scenario weighs in at 168% of normal difficulty and it took me all weekend to beat the mission. True to its roots I was faced with all the normal challenges of running a banana republic. Elections are held every 10 years (unless I were to take totalitarian steps against them), my people needed to be fed, sheltered, and their economy managed. The happiness of the various political factions was always hanging in the balance and there was never a point where someone wasn’t unhappy with how I was running things.

But in addition to the normal challenges faced in Tropico 4, the Apocalypse DLC placed me in new and dangerous territory: a tip from Agent Sasha informed me that nuclear war was “imminent.” Her definition of imminent and mine might differ slightly (some decades passed before I was able to win the scenario) but, as will all things Tropican, you can’t take things too seriously. Setting the plot, giving me a plausible sense of urgency, and plopping an extra $30,000 into the Tropican Treasury, my first task was to build the new building, a nuclear bomb shelter. Easy enough. With that out of the way the real work began.

Not the typical news you expect when you take office.

Not the typical news you expect when you take office.

At its surface the objective to win the scenario seems easy: recruit four political factions to join you in the shelter. In practice this is more difficult. Creating policies that make you popular with a particular faction don’t help. Instead you have to accomplish a series of what otherwise might appear to be “optional” tasks. None are particularly easy or cheap.