Monday, March 18, 2013

This upcoming PC wargame looks promising..

Wargame: Airland battle is a sequel to Wargame: European escalation. The first game received mixed reviews, but this one looks downright delicious:

The feature list looks as impressive as the visuals. I just hope they'll include a "click here to watch shit blow up from a neat camera perspective" -function so that we'll actually see some of that eyecandy instead of just looking at some top zoom level NATO symbols flashing :)

Any European Escalation players out there? Will this be worth the wait?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Waterloo and Borodino

After visiting the Waterloo battlefield, I decided it is high time to fill a gaping hole in my education and watch the 1970 Waterloo movie. I can't believe I've missed it until now! It definitely climbs to the undefined top 5 of my favourite war movies of all time. Apart from a few cheesy moments the movie is a real treat. Christopher Plummer does an excellent portrayal as Wellington and Rod Steiger's Napoleon alternates interestingly (and overactingly) between despondency and inspiring enthusiasm, just as I imagine the Emperor did at that point. The battle scenes are simply epic with about 20 000 Soviet extras bulking up the scenes. There's a lot going on in the background and the fact that none of it is in CGI is humbling. The movie has aged very well and I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone else who's missed it.

The next day I had an opportunity to end my two month long wargame-less season and with the battle of Borodino, no less! We sat down to play Columbia Games' treatment of the battle. The scenario was set up for the initial engagements at the Shevardino redoubt instead of the full battle. The French are only just arriving on the field and must capture as much ground and inflict as much damage to the Russians as possible, while maintaining cohesion. I got the role of Napoleon and set out to do just that.

The French columns advance towards Borodino, making sure to grab as much ground on the right as possible.

The French move into contact with Shevardino redoubt from two directions. Wait, did someone forget to secure the road on the French left?

Yep, Cossacks exploit the vulnerability by making a rush for the French supply area. The French have to make a desperate realignment to counter. In the center, there is an envelopment developing around Shevardino and the defenders are in the danger of being cut off. The French imperial guard reinforce the right.

The cossacks reach the supply point and block it. Against all odds, they repel all attempts to chase them off for three whole turns. Napoleon facepalms me from beyond the grave.

The noose tightens in the center, but both Russian block groups manage to repel attackers for one round before being destroyed. The French guard moves ahead on the right, but the French left is dangerously thin. The Russians exploit the situation and beat the French back.

The Russians, seeing they're one VP behind the French, make a push in the last turn. On the French right, the Russians send their Guard units to attack what they think is the Polish division. Instead they encounter the French Imperial Guard with a grand battery of guns and the Old Guard coming in from reserve. The result is bloody, spectacular and decisive.
The game ended in a three VP win for the French. In the center, I was pretty pleased with my envelopment around the redoubt where most of the Russian blocks were captured. On the right, the Imperial Guard was in a good position to defend the flank. On the left, however, I made that terrible tactical blunder with the cossacks and as a result, the flank was left in a poor state. The Russians were in a good position to punch through the thin line and managed to capture three blocks. In the end, nightfall saved the French left.

All in all, a good game with plenty of maneuvering and and bluffing. A good offering from Columbia games!

Lousy cossacks.. *grumble*