War in the West : And Now for Something Totally Different

Gary Grigsby’s War in the West is not in the same vein as his other monster, War in the East. Where War in the East is firmly an Eastern Front game, War in the West is a Strategic Bombing game with a ground combat layer. Where air power is mostly abstracted in WitE, in West, you get to handle it in all the gritty details. It’s not a bad game, but it’s definitely a totally different one.

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Matrix Christmas Sale 2016 Highlights

It’s that time of the year again where we finally get some time off and decide to spend it playing video games. Matrix has released a fairly massive PDF list of what games are on sale, I’ve culled that a bit and provided my own list of what’s worth buying. Now it’s still worth browsing if you’re looking for some oddball era or theater. It’s worth noting that if you buy a game from Matrix, and it’s available on Steam, you can get a Steam key from Matrix. (Note, you actually need to log in at Slitherine’s website to get the Steam Key.)

So, here we are, the Matrix Games Sale List of Good Games.

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Book Review : Atlas of the Eastern Front 1941-1945

Give me a map, a moment, and I’ll wander the world.

Ok, so I’m actually kind of biased here. My Brother-in-Law, an awesome dude, happens to be a professional cartographer. So I’ve spent many a good hour browsing through high-end map coffee table books. Beyond that I spent hours of my youth studying maps, imagining the battles fought on those little squares and circles, and tracing history one page at a time.

My initial drive to get this book was actually from a video game. Sure, I’d read some basic books about the Eastern Front but my knowledge was pretty slim. I’d always been a Battle of the Bulge kind of guy. Then I started playing Gary Grigsby’s War in the East.

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Cities Skylines : No, you can’t drive.

TL;DR – The goal is to create a carless city in the game Cities : Skylines. It happens, but not like you’d expect. Blame it on the bouncy houses.

Calville has a traffic jam that stretches nearly 2 kilometers. Delivery trucks wait patiently next to sports cars. The psychodelic flashing of police cars and ambulances pepper the route like some sort of funfetti cake gone wrong. And, to top it all off, buildings are burning down while my firetrucks wait in line.

This will not do.

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A Game, A Puzzle, or a Simulation?

My daylight gaming lately has been spent playing a lot of Cities : Skyline with my son. When I haven’t been watching graveyards fill up, or buildings burn down, I’ve been alternating between Combat Mission : Black Sea (CMBS) and Graviteam Tactics : Mius Front (GTMF). At first what seems like two similar games, and a totally unrelated city builder, all share some interesting features, and are all also totally different. Are they a simuation, a puzzle, or a game? (Parent note, my son found it terribly funny when people catch on fire and run about like mad in GTMF so due to mom anger he doesn’t watch that one anymore)

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Combat Mission : Black Sea – Run Away!

In a game with imperfect information threats seem… extraordinarily threatening. Especially this game, we have no drones, our forward recon element is only about 100 meters ahead of some tanks, and an entire US armored column lurks on the other side of the treeline. We can hear them. Our recon dudes have taken some fire (Sorry DecoyBadger!). Our ElInt is picking up something…

Like monsters in the mist, there could be a company of Abrams tanks… Or just a couple of trucks.

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Combat Mission : Black Sea – First Contact

We finally have our first contact in the cooperative Let’s Play of Combat Mission : Black Sea (From now on – CMBS). Read more about it here : http://thestrategygamer.com/2016/10/04/combat-mission-black-sea-double-blind-game/

A brief recap, our entire Russian Motorized Brigade is moving into position to block an incoming NATO force. This isn’t just me and an opponent, this is a cooperative team of 20 individuals each in command of a Platoon or combat asset. On the other team is another 20 or so individuals. There’s a Brigade CO, Company Commanders, and Platoon Commanders. Some of our specialty forces, like Engineers and such, also get a commander. What’s it like? Well, like herding cats. The first turn is under our belt and we have the first kill!

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Combat Mission Black Sea : Double Blind Game

One of the greatest problems with wargames is the perfect knowledge issue. I see the entire battlefield while you also see the entire battlefield. The fog of war is, for the most part, non-existent. Card Driven Games add a new element as you may not know what abilities your opponent has or whether or not he can activate a unit. PC games are able to act as a moderator, a referee of sorts, and give you that blind issue. But still, you are (usually) an omnipotent commander who relays orders.

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Wargames on the Table / Screen

Lately I’ve been working on a few new games that are pushing my strategy gaming boundaries. Yes, the Decisive Campaigns Barbarossa campaign is done. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I binge played through to the end of the war. I had a few sudden breakthroughs and, well, I kind of ended the war. So I took a brief hiatus, played a few less groggy games, and at the same time beefed up my boardgame collection. Like, seriously beefed it up.

But first, Command.

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