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About panzeh

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  1. BTW, the Communists can change stances for free when they draw the home front chit.
  2. I think Frank Hunter's Piercing Fortress Europa is a pretty good take on the Italian campaign- the air units are pretty abstracted as are the naval and even the rear area units- you only have to move combat units on the map, and the focus is on supply and preparation for attacks(for example, when you're attacking as the allies, you will pull units behind the lines and spend several turns increasing their combat supply, and then they will be good for a few turns of hard combat, then have to be resupplied if you want maximum efficiency). It's a WEGO game, the interface is a bit.. minimal, but I think it's probably the best italian front game i've played on the PC.
  3. The fascinating thing about Imperialism 1 is that it actually has a transition point in the game - oil. Once everyone has power generation on line and a decent source of oil, you can send all your workers off to war, making food production almost meaningless and world war inevitable.
  4. Episode 409: Field of Glory II

    I think if you play the cavalry correctly, they're more maneuverable than you might think, but you have to either keep them away or go past the enemy to keep their mobility. It's really hard to catch them with infantry without getting exposed if you spread them out enough and use the maneuverability mechanics by going right past them and force them to face somewhere. Even the javelin cavalry can do a ton of damage by charging infantry in the flank.
  5. Episode 402: Battle Brothers

    That's an intresting dilemma- The previous hearts of iron just gave you a dissent penalty for not purging it, but HOI4 gives you the coup if you don't. Is this true? Extermely unlikely, but in reality, it's a far more interesting decision than a little dissent. It makes it a better game. I think strategy games in general make men like Stalin out to be wiser politicians than they really were, just in general. The need to be a good game puts historical decisions in a very different context than real history. The game needs to make interesting decisions, but not every decision in real life is 'interesting', particularly when you're putting in the effort to play a game. Twilight Struggle assumes an Allen Dulles-addled view of Cold War politics, but it's a much better game for it. I think it's historically interesting if you understand that, the same way Labyrinth assumes most of the Bush-isms during the post-911 world.
  6. I don't really think civil war battles make sense if someone spells them out and says "this is the battle of gettysburg" or "this is the battle of chancellorsville". Honestly, if you're going to do games at this level, I think i'd prefer randomly generated battles, which would more effectively lay out the uncertainty involved in ACW battles than randomizing a couple things in a battle called Gettysburg. Guns of Gettysburg is a pretty interesting take on Gettysburg because the US and CS reinforcements are totally random. It has a counterfactor, though- the objective points begin very far forward(McPherson's rige, I think), and then every turn the Union has fewer units than the Confederacy, they can move the objectives back one space, allowing for the game to stay balanced.
  7. Three Moves Ahead 399 - Air Combat

    There's some really nice insights into air combat and how it comes out in games here. I much appreciate James' input for this show and it's wonderful!
  8. It is impressive seeing such a studio come out with such an ambitious game, and yeah, likening it to commanding troops in Mount & Blade is a really solid comparison. It's an interesting game concept that comes with its own limitations but can still be wonderful when it works. I think as the game got more tactically complex, it became even harder for the AI to play it well. A lot of it also comes down to scenario design- because you have to traverse a 3d space to go around parts on the map, you can't really have a geographically huge scenario be manageable for a single player. The earlier games were a lot better about that. I've seen so many games come out with interesting premises and scenarios that did a poor job of showing off what the game was all about.
  9. I think, to be quite honest, the 'on the field' camera perspective is disadvantageous to the gameplay of strategy games in general. One of the reasons Sid Meier's Gettysburg was more managable than Scourge of War is that the perspective is based on old maps that were made to inform. There's also more abstraction in that game but I think there's a very good reason strategy games tend toward a higher perspective than SoW typically allows. Also, I think automation is a very poor solution to dealing with the problems of the player not being able to manage the forces at his disposal- the perspective, interface, and level of abstraction can all be adjusted to make units more manageable and I think that the further they got away from Gettysburg's qualities(from TC Bull Run to Waterloo) the less manageable the game gets and the more it leans on the gimmicks. That being said, if you're looking for a battle with a sense of scale, it's hard to match Scourge of War, and it's a testament to how much better it is to work with real military units rather than Total War's generic approximations. Also interesting to me is that the experience of watching the number on a brigade go down very quickly with a devastating volley in Ultimate General is almost more satisfying to me than seeing a cavalry charge hit its mark in Total War.
  10. I think one of the problems this game had is that the designers had an idea that would suit itself more to abstract units and more of an emphasis on the character and political mechanics and this competed with Star Wars and FFG's style which required more components and, of course, the iconic machines, the TIE fighters, X-wings, Star Destroyers, etc. Thus, the game is way too heavy on combat mechanics that can't really be that deep because they'd take away from the character-mission core of the game. It suffers for this problem quite badly. You could replace the units with COIN style cubes/cylinders and probably not lose much at all.
  11. Eventually your force becomes almost the entire force in the battles, they just start off with a bunch of non-core troops so you don't have to have several corps from the start.
  12. It strikes me as a bizarre conclusion that Microsoft was all about killing PC gaming. Games were changing, and the "PC-style shooter" was going away on PCs because lo and behold games like Medal of Honor Allied Assault were showing up and doing really well while being simpler to play than Quake. Even Quake II was a significant departure. People were looking for more realism and they were getting it- from Rainbow Six to Counter-Strike. Army Men was 3do's attempt to make a zany, fun, and easy to play RTS but it had a poor sense of direction and never really played tightly enough for how finicky it was. They spun it off into action games because I think they realized their RTS formula wasn't working.
  13. Episode 364: Pet Peeves

    I do agree that customization amounts to tending toward samey and optimal rather than zany and different. I think the problem with Ashes' controls is that the units are too concrete and low-down for that kind of control scheme. If the units were, say, Napoleonic battalions instead of individual tanks and howitzers the presentation would be a lot more palatable.
  14. Episode 357: Total War: WARHAMMER

    I feel like the way the game forces every faction into its own sort of thunderdome with another(though this isn't perfeclty strict) by not allowing factions to capture territory outside their "lore enemy" for example is extremely limiting in terms of strategic decisions. In terms of the troop balance, I feel like the empire probably has the most interesting unit selection- but the dwarves tend to have units with poorly defined roles, orc units tend to be "unit x, unit x+1, unit x+2", etc. Yeah, okay, sometimes, y'know, a game can be good despite GW, and I was hoping for that. I'm not here to shit and run, I can explain what I like and dislike. Not every thread needs to be a hug-fest and I can certainly see how people like it. It's in my genre preferences, it's not just totally out of left field- I can judge its mechanics and see whether I like it or not.
  15. Episode 357: Total War: WARHAMMER

    The design choices in this game tend to be really bad IMO. The unit balance is still at that kind of linear progression of three, maybe four roles of unit with zany wizards and dragons now. The strategic mechanics are very one-note and limiting for each faction- you don't really make too many terribly interesting decisions there. It's polished, but there really isn't anything there. It's still not got the kind of craft Shogun 2 had. I guess GW IPs make people overlook or even want bizarre and weak game design. It's the same for their actual games- they're made without even having considered that other people were making better games- they just do their own thing like it's still 1990. Since Warhammer doesn't do it for me, this game doesn't do it for me.