You’ve likely heard Joe and I talk about this stream elsewhere, but tomorrow at 8 AM EST, LTAW will be streaming for TWENTY FIVE STRAIGHT HOURS in support of Extra Life, a video game arm of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Please come watch us here, and donate to our fundraising efforts here!
Hello everyone! It’s my pleasure to announce here on the blog that Sunday September 19th and 9:00AM EST, Jack and I will be hosting the Paper Time Machines talk by legendary designer Volko Ruhnke!
Please come check out the stream for an enlightening talk about science fiction and historical simulations! Here’s the official description:
“Boardgames can transport us to different worlds by showing us on a tabletop how these worlds work. This is as true of fantasy and science fiction boardgames as it is of historical simulations, because great fantasy and science fiction draws from knowledge of human history to make its alien worlds work in coherent and realistic ways. Historical boardgame designer Volko Ruhnke will show how science fiction and fantasy boardgames and historical boardgames all share and can reveal facets of human affairs, including:
• The flow of resources in warfare: DUNE and Falling Sky (Caesar in Gaul).
• Medieval military operationa: War of the Ring and Nevsky (Teutons and Rus).
• Insurgency and counterinsurgency: Star Wars Rebellion and Fire in the Lake (US in Vietnam).”
We’ll be there to moderate questions and comments so if you want to get some words in with the big man himself about wargaming and conflict simulation, drop on by!
Hey folks! This will be a special, weekly column where we review what we reviewed, talk about what games we’re playing (for review or otherwise), drop some facts about new podcast content, and other news of that nature!
Jack: This week, my AC continued to be broken (and has been since the beginning of July. I crave death.), so I snuck downstairs late at night to my PC when it’s cooler, as the PC room is obviously the hottest area in the house. I got a bit of time in on the latest Panzer Corps 2 DLC, which is an interesting pivot for the DLC series that I appreciate, more on this to come as I get more playtime in, of course. Similarly, I played a little bit of Highfleet, which reminds me of some of those old flash games you’d find online years ago, but in a good way. Certainly very unique! Full thoughts on the way there as well.
In my time stuck in my room with my work laptop, I haven’t been able to do much wargaming besides, but I did watch an 80’s classic and prepare to play the associated board game, which is baffling that it exists. Expect a review soon of a game that makes light of a certain “danger zone.”
We’re also recording a new episode over the weekend with a guest, in which we’ll be talking about the gaming community and how it treats certain members, both as players and as developers. Expect that episode out towards the end of the month!
Joe: I’m struggling! Work is still eating up 90% of my time and trying to get some gaming in for reviews in that final 10% is a bit of a challenge. But I am happy to say that I’m enjoying what I am getting my hands on.
I’m getting closer to completing Warhammer 40k Battlesector, and I’m happy to report in the meantime that my initial opinions have not changed very much. We’ll have to see what the end game content does for me.
I’m also chipping away at another more traditional wargame that should delight those of you who are interested in some classic JTS action. Hopefully that will come out as soon as I finish another couple scenarios.
Finally, and happily, the latest drops from Microprose are looking to be something special. With Jack’s take on Highfleet forthcoming, and my own look at Carrier Command 2, fans of outlandish and stylish wargaming have a lot to look forward to.
Some Official Updates from Publishers:
Slitherine is happy to report on the progress of Masters of Magic with this neat update about in-game events:
“There are several different types of events in Master of Magic, and they will all make a comeback in the remake: The map of Master of Magic is filled with various locations that can be explored by the player. These include things like fallen temples, ruins or mysterious caves where both treasure and challenge may await. There are also three power nodes, Sorcery, Nature and Chaos, and the magic towers that serve as portals between Arcanus and Myrror. All of those locations have an event attached to them, so that the appropriate path will trigger – combat if there are defenders, or loot if it is abandoned. Those events are fairly straight forward and apart from some extra fluff here or there, they will remain unchanged.“
“All of the random events from the original MoM are returning, but they are slightly modified. In the remake, we want to give the wizard a chance to react to some of those events, instead of them being a simple notification of what occurred. You will always have the option to simply accept the default result, but in some cases, you will be able to either alter or even avoid the consequences. This will typically be achieved by offering a payment via mana/gold or other means that an event may respond to.”
Age of Empires IV’s closed BETA is underway having started on August 5, and while personally we haven’t managed to get in on that, I’m cautiously optimistic about how AOE4 is shaping up. Let us know (if it won’t break a NDA) how much fun you’re having if you’re one of the lucky thousands who got in on it.
Well, that’s something. Relic, the makers of Company of Heroes, Dawn of War, and the new Age of Empires game, are teasing something on their Twitch stream. What we see is a map of Italy with the occasional overlay of 40s war propaganda films, so it’s safe to say that this is an expansion for Dawn of War 3, best game ever this is related to Company of Heroes somehow, though whether this is a new game entirely or a DLC a whole 8 years after release isn’t certain.
Well, isn’t this something special! Warhammer 40k: Gladius – Relics of War is adding new units to the 40k 4x game via a “Specialist Pack,” adding… specialists. Each faction gets a unit from this, and they all do wildly different things, from functioning as support units to being straight-up ‘eavy ‘itters, boyz. Here’s what Developer Proxy Studios has to say about the new units:
“Astra Militarum – Ratlings Sniper infantry unit that can move after shooting. Though less resilient than their human comrades, Ratlings are naturally excellent shots. It is said that Ratling marksmen can take the head off a heretic from over a kilometre away. Coupled with their knack for staying out of harm’s way, this makes Ratlings formidable snipers who can take a surprising toll upon superior enemy forces.
Chaos Space Marines – Dark Disciples Infantry unit that increases the defenses of Chaos units. Dark Disciples carry profane accoutrements of their masters’ worship and parrot the fell words spoken in his baleful prayers. Many such disciples have been augmented to better serve in their role–their skin stretched out and inked with grim litanies, or their mouths fitted with Daemon-touched vox-grilles to project their voices into the warp. Amidst the din of combat they join their Dark Apostle’s chants, crying out for the Chaos Gods to manifest their blessings.
Craftworld Aeldari – Warlock Psyker infantry unit that can teleport around the battlefield and cleanse their foes. When the Warlocks of the craftworlds join their minds, the fate of worlds can hinge upon their actions. As true sons of Khaine, these militant psykers will plunge into combat at the slightest provocation. Witchblades and singing spears are swung in graceful arcs, leaving coruscating webs of energy behind them as the Conclave carves through the ranks of their adversaries. They do so with joy in their souls, for of all the seers of the Eldar hosts, the Warlocks are the fiercest and most violent of all.
Necrons – Canoptek Wraiths Extremely mobile infantry unit that passes through terrain and enemies with equal ease. Canoptek Wraiths flit across the battlefield like the spectres of the restless dead. Using their dimensional destabilisation matrices, these strange constructs are able to phase in and out of reality at will. This unique technology means that, though no more than mindless drones, Canoptek Wraiths have manifold uses in war. Fortifications are no obstacle to a Wraith, and they are able to pass more or less undetected even through the midst of the foe, making them exceptional spies and assassins both. Furthermore, Canoptek Wraiths make effective terror- troops, appearing as if from nowhere to strike at vital targets in the enemy’s midst. Here, swirling through the panicked gunfire of the foe, the Wraiths flicker rapidly in and out of phase with reality, shots and blades passing harmlessly through their indistinct forms.
Orks – Kill Bursta Super-heavy vehicle with a big kannon and transport assault capacity. Kill tanks are an Ork heavy tank design based around the twin Ork loves of speed and extreme violence. The Kill Bursta’s main gun is an immense, wide-bore siege mortar mounted in the centre of its forward hull, much in the manner of a Space Marine Vindicator, only much, much larger! The huge rocket-boosted ordnance launched by the bursta gun, while appallingly short ranged, is powerful enough to blast a hardened bunker or defensive bastion to smithereens, and has been observed in direct fire shattering Imperial super-heavy tanks in a single shot, based as much on luck as good judgement by its gunners.
Space Marines – Devastator Centurion Very bulky infantry unit with massive armaments. Devastator Centurions pound their enemies with a remorseless, relentless rain of fire. Bloody havoc is wrought upon anything that falls within the Centurions’ targeting reticules. The pilots’ marksmanship is augmented by the grim machine spirits of their warsuits, decimator protocols guiding servo-assisted recoil absorption and oracular auto-targeting to ensure the Centurions maintain a punishing rate of fire. Return fire is a futile gesture, akin to flinging stones at a fortress, for should the enemy launch an assault in an attempt to silence the Devastator Centurions’ guns they must contend with the suits’ massive strength and the pilots’ skill at arms.
T’au – Krootox Rider Sneaky infantry unit with both ranged and close combat capabilities. Surging from the undergrowth with their rifles blazing, the warriors of the Kroot Carnivore squads fall upon their victims with feral shrieks. In their midst lumber massive Krootoxes, gunners perched upon their backs as they direct sawing bursts of heavy fire into the foe.
Tyranids – Venomthrope Infantry unit with poisonous attacks and a protective spore cloud. The Venomthrope serves as a living chemical weapon dispenser for the swarms of the Tyranid hive fleets. Its whip-like tentacles drip with a multitude of alien poisons. Indeed, so potent are these toxins that it is believed that a Venomthrope’s very touch means certain death.“
It’s always nice to see games still get some love from devs several years after launch. I personally haven’t played Gladius, but it is in Joe’s words, “a fun game,” and I trust his judgment. You can find the unit pack here, and the base game on Steam here.
We’re getting to that time of year: GameCon season. We just saw Slitherine’s Home of Wargamers event just a few days ago, and now Paradox is hosting an event for their big games, which is very exciting. Paradox is known more for strategy, both grand and skim flavors, than wargames, though we feel that they are adjacent to our hobby here.
There are panels that start on Friday (May 21st) and go on for the whole weekend, dealing with their flagship games, mostly seeming to be CK3, HOI4, and Stellaris, as well as their less grand strategy games, such as Empire of Sin, Cities: Skylines, and Surviving the Aftermath. Notably, there seems to be a lack of content for Imperator and EU4, though more panels for those games could be announced. We’ll definitely be reporting on any big news from the event, but if you’d like to check it out for yourself, you can sign up here.
Personally, I’m looking forward to the HOI4 panels, since we can get a good look at the new features rolling out in the currently unnamed expansion. Also of note is the NOCB podcast doing a liveshow on Friday, which is very exciting for them, and I’m eager to hear our game journalist comrades’ thoughts on the event. We’ll be chatting about the event in our Discord, which you can join here. Looking forward to talking with everyone about the event!
Creative Assembly have graced us with a new trailer for Total War: Warhammer 3, what looks to likely be the opening cinematic for the game. In it, we get an angry Kislevite (Russia-proxy) talking about the forces of Chaos, and lo! Chaos appears. We also get the very exciting cries of BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE! and who doesn’t love that?
CA will be dropping us a gameplay trailer soon, but you can check out the cinematic below. Total War: Warhammer 3 is expected for late 2021, and you can check out their Steam page here.
Slitherine just finished with their Home of Wargames Live Event and there was quite a bit of new stuff to take in. From interviews to game previews, the talk was very professional and very interesting. The future of digital wargames looks bright. Here are our favourite announcements!
Warhammer 40k Battlesector
I’ve personally had a lot of fun with both previews of 40k Battlesector, but the trailer showed some stuff off that I haven’t had a chance to interact with yet. The army building and upgrading gives it a bit of a tabletop vibe, but the gameplay is still very computer wargame feeling, which isn’t a bad thing. Dealing with proper Line of Sight, optimal weapon ranges, and the relentlessly attacking AI is definitely fun, but feels more like a PC wargame than the tabletop. There is a cool photo mode to get some great screenshots to show off. It’s been a lot of fun to play the previews, and our full preview will be coming soon!
Combat Mission Cold War
Bil Hardenberger from Battlefront emphasized the sandbox nature of Cold War, with several years and therefore different styles of warfare to implement in scenarios. They’ve also included a wide variety of equipment for the different factions and terrain types. Also, cluster munitions for the first time (oh my!) I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Distant Worlds 2
The supposed Stellaris Killer! No release date yet, but apparently it’s coming along. It was great to see the game in action for the first time. The graphics are looking great and it’s nice to see the full zoom from galaxy to home world and back. The ship design screen looks expansive. Like I could get lost building ships for hours. Same for the research and technology tree. There is just so much there. Clone troopers? Yes please. The preview dealt with some pirate problems, and it sounds like the diplomacy and military systems are pretty involved. When the devs talked through an invasion of an independent world, I thought it might really do what I want a game like this to do. I really hope Distant Worlds 2 lives up, because I’m hankering for a new deep space game. Also, giant space spiders!
Starship Troopers Live Gameplay
We finally get to know more! Mostly Single Player focused RTS game controlling the Terran Army and attempting to not get your guys ruined by tons of bugs. This is a game based on the movie license, but looks like its trying to keep the film’s tongue in cheek anti-militarism and over the top violence. Check out my first preview/rant about the different versions of Starship Troopers. There is some emphasis on pushing outwards to capture radio towers, which give you resources .It’s looking like a fun defensive focused RTS, but it’s also clear that the game is far from finished at this point.
Valor & Victory
This is my favourite tabletop squad level game, and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on a proper digital version. It’s a great system and it looks like there is a lot of scenarios and the possibility to make new scenarios after launch. From the talk given by Lance Craner, V&V is almost ready with just some AI tweaks and writing to handle.
WEGO World War II: Stalingrad
A Wego hex based wargame covering the battles around Stalingrad. This looks really interesting to me. Orders are given by both sides and then executed at the same time. I can’t wait to see how this works out with multiplayer. If it does what I think it should, I can see this really taking off as a new way of playing hex wargames.
Campaign Series Vietnam
Oh I’ve been waiting for this for so long. It looks like the wait has been worth it. The Campaign Series has a lot of depth to it, and it looks like they aren’t skipping on the amount of content that is going to be present in this one. The inclusion of the French-Indochina war period is especially welcome.
-Rapid Fire New Games!-
Master of Magic
Master of Magic is a reboot of a classic 4x fantasy game helmed by the developers of Thea the Awakening, Muha Games. Master of Magic has its own well developed fantasy world to draw from. Players take on the roll of a wizard battling to become the best wizard of them all. The development team has some experience doing this kind of game, so I’m glad it’s in their hands. There is city management, army composition, and most importantly, massive world altering spells. There are five schools of magic, and depending on how many books a wizard has in a school, more or less spells are available. There should be some fun spell manipulation. It’s currently in early alpha, but looks like a promising reboot of an old classic!
Scramble: Battle of Britain
Scramble is a WEGO dogfighting wargame that pits squadrons of WWII aircraft against each other in an innovative system. Players issue orders, then play out in real time, and at the very end they get to see the entire dogfight play back in its entirety. That sounds like a great feature to me, and the 3D art and design is beautiful. Players get a set amount of time per aircraft to individually deal with its flight path, its pitch, roll, and all that while planning for future combat. With a multiplayer feature allowing for split control of different squadrons, I’m looking forward to this as a great multiplayer game. There are also campaigns, and squadron management, aircraft customization, and a lot of other upcoming features like gamepad support. But the focus is on match play with other humans. Really one to keep an eye on.
Wow this looks good. From a new team headed by a veteran of Eugen of Wargame/Steel Division fame, this looks like an interesting new bit of competition in the real time modern war wargame space. They say they’re trying to find the sweet spot between action and realism, and I really hope they get there. The visuals are amazing at this point. This is a combined arms game with a lot of detail, including unit customization. There are shore landings, air insertion of men and vehicles, and even tactical nukes.
Here’s the official Let’s Talk About Wargames post reminding you all to check out Slitherine’s upcoming live event “Home of Wargames Live 2021+” a full afternoon event covering a bunch of new games from Slitherine. While there are a few we know about, like Warhammer 40k Battlesector, Distant Worlds 2 (YES!) Starship Troopers Terran Command, we also get first looks at four unannounced projects!
LTAW has also gotten its hands on a new preview of Battlesector, and from May 11th will be featuring written (and if I can figure out my settings) video content about what to expect from the full game!
Finally, Field of Glory Medieval: Reconquista is just around the corner and you can expect a full review, some more battle reports, and some streaming/video content of multiplayer matching going foward!
Check out the event and stick around for a lot of new content coming down the pipeline!
I don’t have much to say, other than we at LTAW are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of John Tiller, a man who’s name is synonymous with classic wargaming and one of the titans of our community.
John Tiller Software and Wargame Design Studio’s Battles of North Africa was one of the first games that I reviewed for Wargamer.com back in 2017, and it amazed me. After playing that I went back and snagged a few older games, and had just as much fun with them, prompting me to ask to review as many future releases as Wargamer could give me! The system has an endurance and an elegance which makes the massive scenarios enjoyable and digestible. Playing through these games was one part of my transition into enjoying more complex wargames.
I know there is so much more to an individual than the games they create, but the work John Tiller did will forever be foundational to digital wargaming. My condolences to his family.
From the obituary, the family would appreciate any contributions to John’s favorite charities: Atlanta Food Bank, the Salvation Army or other charity of your choice.