Hello readers, a string of updates for the next few weeks :
- We have pretty much finished all 1980 wargames, with :
- the only clear exception of Galactic Revolution (Galactic Trader, which is not a wargame but happens before Galactic Revolution in the saga is resisting me),
- two edge cases :
- Ants!!! (1979 TRS-80)
- Galactic Empires (1979, aka as Galaxy – the name under which it was released again in 1981).
If you see other single-player, non-reflex based wargames from 1980 or earlier, tell me !
- Since we reached this first milestone, it is feedback-time. Please comment on whether you prefer longer or shorter action reports, longer or shorter reviews, more of one or more of the other, please tell me as well.
- Operation Apocalypse is going to receive its first article on Monday, and I am currently learning two games :
- The Warp Factor – I opened a Commenters Command on it if you want to join, I am looking for maybe 3-4 players in total,
- Torpedo Fire – an anti-submarine tactical game (at least in single player). The game does not come with any scenario, except the tutorial, so I will have to imagine one. If you have a preference (“I would like to see Japanese submarines against British destroyers in 1943”) it is here.
- Rest of the 1981 list :
- Tawala’s Last Redoubt (last episode of the Galactic Saga)
- Conflict 2500 (Avalon Hill / William David Volk)
- Eastern Front (APXl /Chris Crawford)
- The Shattered Alliance (SSI)
- Tigers in the Snow (SSI)
- Southern Command (SSI)
- Crush, Crumble and Chomp (Automated Simulations), if deemed wargamy enough
- The Battle of Shiloh (SSI)
- Napoleon’s Campaigns : 1813 & 1815 (SSI)
- Possibly Galaxy, as above
I am not confident I got 100% of the 1981 wargames, so again don’t hesitate to complete me.
This post will autodestruct in roughly one month.
My 2 cents:
The reviews are good. I particularly like the bits where you put the games into the context of their time, look for and quote from contemporary reviews and intersperse with your own opinions. I definitely want to keep reading those. The action reports are less interesting when the graphics are as borderline-illegible as they are, and there’s no Commenters Command on. I mostly skim those. Not much you can do about that, of course, but as it is the reviews are definitely the main feature for me.
I find that how much I enjoy your action reports often boils down to whether or not it’s a game I’m familiar with myself. Seeing you almost beat Computer Conflict’s hardest scenario was a thrill. Often times, though, following the action is difficult, even with your visual annotations. But these are still invaluable as playthroughs for games that most people, I imagine, aren’t going to be too keen on playing themselves. Your reviews are interesting and entertaining in all cases.
On earlier wargames, have you considered Walter Bright’s Empire, and Mike Mayfield’s Star Trek? Neither game is all that technical or realistic, but both have their place in wargame history. Star Trek almost certainly influenced the Orion series, for example. Also, if Crush, Crumble & Chomp is under consideration, then StarQuest: Star Warrior ought to be too. They’re essentially the same game with different skins.
Thanks for the completion of my list of wargames :
I had Empire in my list, but only for the Wargame of the Century edition (in 1987) because I was convinced that the first 1977 edition was multiplayer only. It looks like I was wrong, so now I have the issue that I need to do some research on how to emulate the PDP-10. It looks like you managed to do it, so I will follow the guide on your blog.
Star Trek is one of those ancestors I planned to cover eventually with one big post with all the different versions, but I did not want to start the blog with it. I will do it eventually.
StarQuest : Star Warrior was on my list at some point (I even “prepared” for it in my Invasion Orion posts) but then I dropped it when I realized Rescue at Rigel barely qualified – and I would feel compelled to play Rescue at Rigel if Star Warrior was there. The jury is still out on those two.
Checking your blog, it looks like I missed a big one : Battle for Normandy in 1980, which is most definitely a wargame. Happily enough, I don’t force myself to play the earliest edition, so maybe I will not have to “finish” it on TRS-80, but nonetheless I need to check a bit on TRS-80 so well, it is time to understand how the emulator works (it will be needed for Ants!!! anyway)
Battle for Normandy is 1982. Did you mean D-Day: The Invasion of France? Same designer, David Landrey, who also did Battle of the Bulge: St. Vith in 1980, which I’m sure is the predecessor to Tigers in the Snow.
I never did figure out how to play the PDP-10 version of Empire, and I went down a lot of rabbit holes that never went anywhere. So I’m not sure I can help much with that, but the DOS version I did play predates Wargame of the Century.
TRS-80 emulation is a nightmare, but the path of least resistance in most cases will be SDLTRS.
Get the “model 3” ROM here:
Just drop model3.rom into the same folder as SDLTRS.
Get “autorun” disk images here:
Run SDLTRS. Press F7 to enter the emulator menu.
Go to “Floppy Disk Management” and mount an autorun dmk file to drive 0. Esc out to the main menu.
Go to “TRS80 Model Selection” and pick TRS-80 Model III. Esc out to the main menu and press Esc again.
It should reboot to this prompt:
TRS-80 Model III Disk Basic
38,202 Free Bytes
Wait about 30 seconds and the game should (hopefully) autoload.
I’m a reader, so I enjoy long AAR and reviews both. If it feels like too much work to do both, then I probably slightly prefer longer reviews to after-action reports, but it’s close. I’m playing these games vicariously through you, after all, so detail is helpful.
I would cut back on the wordiness of the AARs just a tad. It can get hard to follow. Or better yet, adapt the text into the graphics. Those are good, showing the units and where they’re going. Maybe a comic book like format, with the units saying what they’re doing.
Needless to say they’re entertaining and interesting, and I’m glad someone is going through all of these games, reading the manual as they were meant to be played.
Thanks to the four of you for the feedbacks
Given this, I will alter a bit :
– After Action Report will be dropped fully or almost fully for games that are neither visual nor allowing a good narrative (which honestly will actually help me with Galaxy or Galactic Trader – I was postponing the former because I had no idea how to approach it), and shorten in some case (if I redid Computer Napoleonics now, it would less detailed for instance). If I feel I have good story / graphics / narrative, I will keep as is.
– Operation Apocalypse has already been shortened a bit, but let’s call that one transitional in that I kept a large part of what I had written, The Warp Factor will have only one AAR instead of two (one commenter comment, one personal like I did for Computer Ambush), we will see for future games,
– I could try comic book format, but I believe it does not fit all genres nor graphic styles (in particular you need it to be varied enough so the camera is not always at the same “location”, eg it would fit well a modern game like “The Phantom Doctrine”. Those games from the 80s ? I don’t believe so.) On the other hand, I could use more “characters talk in the pictures and explains what they are doing” for where you can allocate characters to units (eg Ambush, Air Combat)
I am a bit late, but I love the byplay with Lt. Narwhal.
Another remark, more on the usability of the site (and I don’t know if you’ll be able to change it anyway): when going to the landing page of the blog and then using the “page” link at the bottom, the posts are shown without the comments, which is bummer because they are usually interesting; okay, there’s a link at the top to open the archived version with the comments, but still.
Good idea. It was actually not that easy (I had to ask the person who made the template to help me) but it is done. The comment section can now be reached top & bottom, not sure if I should remove from top.
Although I enjoy your reviews, I’m not really into reviews here and almost anywhere else (unless that reviewer happens to be Sseth Tzeentach).
I enjoy AAR and let’s plays in general. Since I read during downtime at work, I don’t mind how leghtly or short it can be.
I should mention that sometimes I can’t tell what you’re trying to say on your images. Computer Ambush and the Orion games were the ones I had most trouble trying to understand what was going on in their images.
Lastly, I love the intros in your AAR’s:
Lieutenant Narwhal, why isn’t our artillery supporting our infantry attack !?
I did the calculations, and it is better to attack unsupported, mon Général ! Our attack is on the 3:1 combat result table, and adding our guns would put us on the rather worse 4:1 result table !