Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Command Ops 2: Prelude to Korsun

Fourteen reinforced Soviet rifle battalions have begun probing German positions 24 hours before the main battle will begin.  German forces are lightly spread across a 19 km front.  A Kampfgruppe from SS Wiking and a regiment from the 57th Infantry division are sent to stop the bleeding. 
The estab file for this scenario was created by Bletchley Geek and the map was too (though I am adding in features to the map and adding additional units to the estab file for the OOB).  I am not sure who created this Soviet Union map graphics pack but it is tremendous for a winter battle like Korsun.  It just looks cold!

This is still a long way off, but it is something I will make available when it is done.  In between now and then, I just have a Panzer Battles scenario I need to finish.

Zoomed out view of the battlefield. Only battalion level units or higher are showing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My New Year's Gaming Resolution Is Working

Every year I hit the Matrix Games and Steam holiday sales with a lot of momentum.  I've been waiting all year to buy certain games and once they go on sale I purchase a number of games at steeply discounted rates. Lucky me.

Six months later, I often realize I've only played one or two of them. You can imagine what the cumulative effect of years of this behavior looks like. I have dozens of games I've never spent more than 15-20 minutes on and only a few that I have obsessed about.

This year, I vowed to be different, I am leveraging all of the momentum I get from a new year and applying it to gaming.

At the end of 2016, I did not buy any new games.  Oh I came close many times, but I held off (except in one case, an absolute gaming surprise: Ultimate General: Civil War, which I couldn't buy quick enough).

The campaign in Ultimate General: Civil War


Instead, I am actually devoting time to playing games in my library of games.  Recently for example I cracked into John Tiller's Campaign Series and just completed "Tragedy at Fastov" a great representation of a battle without much coverage in the gaming world:  25th Panzer's absolute blunder into a Soviet armor formation in the fall of 1943.

Tragedy at Fastov from John Tiller's Campaign Series.
I am also working on developing scenarios for Panzer Battles, Command Ops 2 and playing some multiplayer with Doug at Cry Havoc (Campaign 1776 and Campaign Marengo).

I don't know how long I will be able to hold off on purchasing a new game but I have a list this long of games I have vowed to play more of this year:

Advance of the Reich
Renaissance
Campaigns on the Danube 1805 and 1809
Decisive Campaigns Barbarossa
Lock n Load Heroes of Stalingrad
Scourge of War Waterloo
Cities: Skylines
Command
Alea Jacta Est
Ukraine 1943 (boardgame)
Command & Colors Napoleonics Austria Expansion (boardgame)
Sicily 1943 (Fast Action Battles boardgame)

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Favorite Games of 2016

Inspired by Tim's list at RangerX3X blog here are 10 games I enjoyed playing in 2016.  They are listed in no particular order.

1.  Ultimate General: Civil War
2.  Panzer Battles: Kursk and Perekop 41: Kursk is the original PB title and 41 has three scenarios I created.
3.  Firefight:  This Close Combat clone is a gem of simplicity at a great price!
4. John Tiller's Campaign Series:  The Fastov scenario was great fun and I can't wait to play more Eastern Front goodness.
5. Pike & Shot - Matrix Games - Doug at Cry Havoc and I played this quite a bit on multiplayer.  Loads of fun.
5.  Campaign Marengo - John Tiller Software - My favorite Napoleonic period using the very comfortable JTS interface.
6. Sengoku Jidai - 2.0 version of Pike&Shot set in feudal Japan.
7. Modern War - John Tiller Software
8. Decisive Campaigns Barbarossa:  This game system keeps improving.
9. Pride of Nations:  I've had this for awhile but recently started playing the Sepoy Mutiny.  What a challenge.
10.  Cities: Skylines:  I've not played this enough, but what I have played has been great.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The future of Command Ops

The Stolberg Corridor: This scenario is included in the Westwall and details the fighting outside of Aachen in September 1944.

I love Command Ops but almost never play it now.  That is amazing because I basically spent all of 2014-5 playing it, creating scenarios for it and musing about it's future or lack thereof.

I do not love Command Ops 2.  The game is essentially the same, with some improvements but it's new publisher smartly released it for free with some stock scenarios and then re-released all of the old content plus some new stuff (see the screen above) for a reduced price that better fits the marketplace (kudos to David Heath!).

The base game is still charming but CO2 symbolizes for me how gaming companies can go off the rails with patches and updates (there were years of these) while failing deliver on the wider promise of said wargaming engine by delving into new content (which you have said for years is just over the horizon).

I am writing about Command Ops today because there is some discussion in the forums that CO might not continue.  If that is true, I hope that Dave and company will consider releasing the almost complete Eastern Front game and whatever else they have (by the way I have seen the Eastern Front stuff and it is already awesome).  I would pay for this content even if it is half-baked or doesn't have mounted ops.  After all, this is just a game and I don't need the most accurate simulation of command and control warfare ever built, I just want to continue playing.