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Issue 111, October 2010 "I can make more generals, but horses cost money."  
~ Abraham Lincoln

  1. The October Editorial Introduction
  2. News Direct from the Frontlines of Shrapnel Games
  3. Trivia Time: The Rise Of Rockets In War
  4. Q & A With Alex Kutsenok of Dreamspike Studios
  5. The Dice Of War: Space Hulk: Death Angel
  6. Sizzling Sellers and Those Special Offers
  7. Link O' The Month
  8. The Crystal Ball
FRAG! is Edited by Scott Krol

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But we in it shall be remember'd; we few,
we happy few, we band of brothers.

It's the time of year for ghouls and goblins, and yet the scariest thing I've seen so far is the amazingly shoddy state most games are being released in this year. From games that are nearly broken completely, to day one patches, to poor AI, to failed designs, this year has got to be one of the worst for PC gaming. What's worse is how many of these games show real promise, and if they had only been left to bake in the development oven just a little bit longer, maybe they'd be worth the price. Instead, the mantra on forums has been, "It'll be good in a couple more patches."

"You think Activision, EA, or Microsoft wants to deal with all that?"

Of course there's never a guarantee that it will get better in a couple of patches. Sometimes, developers just end up vanishing. Perhaps because they don't have any income coming in. Maybe because their game was a broken mess.

This is nothing new, but maybe my perception is just off but it seems like it's happening more and more, to the point that a game that isn't crippled out the door is the exception and not the rule. This is absolutely ridiculous, especially if you start comparing the game industry to other industries. Imagine for a moment that games were automobiles. With the constant stream of recall notices they would do more to promote bike riding and public transport as means of conveyance than any eco PSA.

Okay, granted, computer games are somewhat trickier than other products since your customers can have a wide range of system configurations but for Pete's sake, console games on closed system configurations are just as bad! And frankly, we've reached a point in the PC world that there aren't too many drastic hardware variations out there. We're also not talking about a broken game for that one person out there who homebuilt their PC out of spare parts and bubblegum, but a broken game that is broken for the majority of folks.

So here's the question I have...why do we continue to allow this? When it comes to bending over and taking it after being continually deceived gamers are worse than voters. How many people who end up vowing to never purchase a game from developer X or publisher Y then end up doing so later? Unfortunately, even if that does happen there are still too many gamers who don't pay attention to the watercoolor bitching and will go out and blindly buy their next game. So fighting the

battle from an economic standpoint, while in theory the road to victory, is ultimately meaningless when the blind outnumber those that see by a hundred (or more) to one.

What we really need is some sort of quality standard requirements, such as how the ISO 9000 standards are used for quality assurance by various companies, including software developers. Something which guarantees that okay, you've exhausted all the logical possibilities in this game and it appears to be working on these hundred systems, now you can ship. The customer sees that it has been certified and at least has the peace of mind of knowing it's at least going to work. It may end up being a terrible game, but there will never be protection against that.

Certification though means documentation, clear communication, auditing, and more. Plus the possibility of games being held up because they failed two out of fifty tests, as an example. Oh no, now Blaze Duty Super Destruction XVII won't hit until after Christmas...

You think Activision, EA, or Microsoft wants to deal with all that?

When was the last time you've played a borked indie game? I can't even remember a single indie game I've ever played which needed a day one patch. Bad AI-well, maybe, but one man's bad AI is another man's challenging AI.

Why is that? Well, because in the world of indie gaming we have a lot more personal responsibility. If we here at Shrapnel released a game that wouldn't work on 50% of the systems that purchased it, you can bet we'd hear about it. The developer would hear about it, so would other customers. In turn, this would mean potential future customers may decide to take their business elsewhere, along with potential future developers. Releasing broken games is simply a bad idea.

Unless, you have a customer base in the millions, who will forget the issue three days later when the next hot game comes along...

Hey kids, welcome to the Frag! October frightfest. Admittedly, it's not really a very frightful newsletter, so you'll just have to conjure up visions of something that scares you (zombies, vampires, where your 401K will be in ten years) while reading it. So grab your pumpkin, dim the lights, and let us begin...

First, we just want to let everyone know that Bronze (you know, the game that Tom Chick says "shows up other strategy games") is getting ready to release. We're talking right around the corner, close-your-eyes-and-it's-out, soon. Look for the official press announcement in a couple of days. The demo will be released the same day Bronze goes on sale, so everyone will get a chance to try it out before purchasing.

For anyone who missed out on the news Bronze is a new strategy game from developer Dreamspike Studios. Set during the Bronze Age the game is primarily focused on single-player gaming, although it is possible to play against three others in hotseat mode.

Combining strategy, puzzle, and Eurogaming together Bronze is a pretty unique entry in our catalog. Unlike what you may think a traditional strategy game focusing on the era would play out as, Bronze is a game of virtual tile-laying. See, in the game scenarios are won by expanding your empire on a eight by eight grid. On the grid are various terrain tiles which can limit what you can build on a tile; additionally sometimes the tile itself is helpful to certain constructions. Each turn an empire can build on one tile. These buildings could be farms, ziggurats, military encampments, et cetera. Each type of building provides a different benefit. A farm can bring in cash, an army camp conquers the surrounding tiles, and so on. The object of the game is to end up with the controlling share of the map tiles.

As you can see it plays out like a Eurogame, but like an Ameritrash game the theme is not just plastered on but has a direct impact on gameplay. One of the nifty things about Bronze is that it is very rooted in its historical references. For example, take the twelve civilizations found in the game. This isn't a game in which all that changes between the civs is the art, each civilization is modeled on the strengths and weaknesses of the civilization it is based upon. So you can't play the game the same way with the Gutians as you do when you play as the Egyptians. Helping players understand what each group is capable of are ten campaigns, which do a good job of parceling the game into ever increasingly difficult pieces.

Besides the campaigns there is also a survival style game mode in which you take one civilization and see how long you can last in a series of rounds against other civilizations, and a custom game creator. With random maps and the ability to modify starting variables, Bronze is a game offering endless replayability. Also, while focused primarily on single-player (something which seems less of a focus in the mainstream world of gaming today), Bronze does support hotseat play for up to four players.

Bronze will be available for Windows as a downloadable product and will retail for $29.95. Watch for its release very (very!) soon. Please visit its product page to check out more information on what will surely be one of the most talked about games of ancient history. Once the game is up for sale you'll also be able to purchase from the page and download

the official demo.

Announced before Bronze was Malfador's Machination's return to strategy gaming, World Supremacy. World Supremacy is a turn based strategic game for Windows that combines a little bit of Axis and Allies, Supremacy, and Empire to make a very fun beer and pretzels style conquer-the-world game in the modern era.

We wanted to give everyone an update that all is progressing well and the game is on track for a late 2010 release. As always, expect to hear more about its progress as the next month rolls on.

Supporting up to eight players through online play or hotseat, World Supremacy isn't a game of micromanagement or widget-creating tech trees (not to say there isn't R&D, it's just not deep R&D in keeping with the overall style), but a game of sending scores of tanks, troops, jets, and maybe even a nuke or two deep into enemy territory and kicking ass. With easily grasped mechanics, strategy gamers will find themselves able to quickly pick up and play World Supremacy. Random world creation makes every game a new challenge, and let's not forget that this is a game by Malfador Machinations. Best known for their Space Empires series, Malfador has always been a friend to modders and World Supremacy is no different. The game supports mods, providing even further endless gaming opportunities.

For screenshots of the game and more information step on over to its official page at Shrapnel Games.

The other day we spotted on a forum a thread about a game called Star Trek: Infinite Space. Sadly it was not someone's Weird Worlds mod but a big name publisher ripping on the name apparently. To that we say accept no substitutions! If you want to play the original Infinite Space game then you need to check out the one and only, Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space.

Developed by Digital Eel Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space is space exploration in mere minutes. Boot up a random universe, discover strange new lifeforms, recover mysterious objects, and battle fiendish enemies in real time all with your mouse. Each game is unique, and Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space fully supports mods for even more fun.

Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space (the real Infinite Space game) is available for both Windows and Mac. Check out the award winning title here, which includes a demo.

Did you know that the game that started it all, Strange Adventures in Infinite Space is available for free? You do now! Head on over to our Free Games page to score you copy of this gem.

Until next month enjoy your treats, don't get tricked, and if anyone thinks it's a good idea to read passages from the forbidden tome found in the basement of the abandoned house that was home to a murderous cult, well, it's probably not really a good idea. Roll for SAN. Catch everyone in November!

The use of rockets as weapons of war can be traced back to their first recorded use at the battle of Kai Fung-fu in China. In 1232 the Chinese city of Kai Fung-fu, located north of the Yellow River, found itself besieged by the Mongols. Attack after attack came, and while the defenders were holding out it would only be a matter of time before the Mongols wore down the defenses. At some point the city's governor suggested using rockets against the hordes. These rockets were created during the siege. Creating a massive amount of noise (the Mongols referred to them as 'thunder that shakes the heavens') and quite a bit of destruction (reports estimated shrapnel going out at least 2,000 feet from impact) the rockets drove the Mongols away.

For the next several hundred years the rocket then spread throughout the known world, first from the target of the Chinese bombardment, the Mongols, then to the Arabs and finally to Europe. Rockets were used during the Crusades and the Hundred Years War, although since little development was made in rocketry during the period their military use became less and less.

It was not until the 18th century that the rocket was once again seen as a valuable component of then modern warfare. The British were fighting campaigns in India against Tippoo Sultan, ruler of Mysore. Tippoo interestingly enough had established a rocketry force of about 5,000 men, which were used at the battle of Seringapatam. The Tippoo rockets varied in size, with the longest being only ten inches in length, but some had their guide sticks replaced with blades, so that even if the rocket failed to do damage perhaps the sword would impale a hapless British soldier. While the rockets did not create much havoc amongst the British, it did reignite attention to the rocket as a weapon of war.

Colonel William Congreve of the Royal Laboratory of Woolwich Aresenal in England began developing rockets for the British military after the campaigns against Tippoo. These were large rockets, three and a half feet long, with a fifteen foot guiding stick, capable of reaching about two thousand yards. These were incendiary rockets, and were first put to the test in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1806 a British fleet outside of Boulogne launched over 2,000 rockets in a span of only a half hour upon the city. The destruction was great, and Congrave said this of it:

"The dismay and astonishment of the enemy were complete-not a shot was returned-and in less than ten minutes the town was discovered to be on fire."

The following year the British unleashed nearly 25,000 rockets on the city of Copenhagen. Other Europeans armies soon followed suit with adding rockets to their inventories, but no army made as great use of rockets as the British. Americans will of course forever remember this, as the British rocket assault on Fort McHenry has been memorialized in the Star Spangled Banner, the United States national anthem.

During the peace after the Napoloeonic Wars the next step of rocket design was to create one that had a better guidance system. The traditional stick guidance method was simply not very good. The French had the idea about adding fins to a rocket but the fins proved to be little better than the stick at the time. An Englishman, William Hale, took the idea and realized the missing ingredient: spin. Just as newly created rifles and cannons were spinning their shells to promote better accuracy and range, a rocket needed to do the same.

Hale was then able to use the rocket's own exhaust gases to create the spin, and added moveable tail vanes which were controlled by the exhaust gases. Soon the Hale rocket became the de facto rocket of choice amongst the world's armies.

The Hale rocket saw good use by the United States in the Mexican-American War, most notably during the siege of Vera Cruz in 1847. After five days of rocket bombardment the city surrendered. Hale rockets were then used during the American Civil War, though never in great quantities.

In the later half of the 19th century, just as rocketry was advancing so was the artillery piece. Originally, rockets were found to be so useful because they were able to deliver death and destruction at a range, and speed, that artillery could not. This remained true from the original use of rockets in the 13th century up to the mid 1800s. But as artillery became more sophisticated the use of rockets declined.

During the first World War rockets began to see a resurgence as an aerial weapon, but it would not be until World War Two, and the power that the V-2 rockets represented, that rockets were once again looked at as a viable weapon of war.

With Bronze's imminent release we talked with the mastermind behind the game, Alex Kutsenok, about the game and what led up to its creation.

FRAG!: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers a little about Dreamspike Studios.

Alex Kutsenok: Hello, my name is Alex Kutsenok. I am the project manager and lead designer of Bronze. Dreamspike Studios started out as a one-man company. Initially, it was just me writing code, but then other people jumped in to help with art, music, and other game components. Bronze is our latest effort and our most ambitious title to date. By the way, we are based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. That's right. We are surrounded by corn fields and horse farms. Go Hoosiers!

FRAG!: What is the genesis for Dreamspike Studios?

Alex Kutsenok: I have been making board games since I was about six. Designing gameplay experiences has always been a passion for me. In high school, I started writing computer games. This allowed a lot more people to play my games. Eventually, the school had to ban my games from the network, since they were destroying student productivity. Personally, I feel that modern computer games are not very original. Too many of them are just clones of previous games. I feel like very few developers and are willing to take risks on new ideas. As a result, I decided to start a company that would be dedicated to making unique games.

FRAG!: As someone who creates strategy games what have been notable strategy games over the years that you've enjoyed/and or influenced your work?

Alex Kutsenok: For me, Myth: The Fallen Lords (1998) was the best strategy game ever made. In that game there was no repetitive base-management. Instead, Myth had deep tactics and lots of strategic multiplayer interaction. Also, you could play a single round in 10-15 minutes, which just kept drawing me in for yet another go. Also, the Civilization series influenced me (in a way). I could never fully enjoy those games because there was just too much micromanagement. As a result, I wanted to make a game that would allow the player to focus on the big picture and not worry about the peons and tech trees.

FRAG!: Bronze plays out rather uniquely. Did Bronze's gameplay evolve over time or does it play now as you originally envisioned?

Alex Kutsenok: The gameplay for Bronze was an idea I wrote down in a notebook four years ago. The idea sat there for quite some time... it was just some notes on a sheet of paper. About a year ago, I came back to that idea and created a playable prototype in about a week. After a month of play-testing, the original concept was shaped into what we now call Bronze. During that month, we ended up removing lots of unnecessary rules, since we wanted the game to be highly strategic but also fairly easy to play.

FRAG!: Why the Bronze Age? Could you see it working in other settings, such as perhaps a feudal Europe sequel?

Alex Kutsenok: I love history, and I wanted the setting to be some place special. There are just too many games set in feudal Europe or space. Having the game take place in ancient Mesopotamia was a decision we made very early on, and it allowed us to use some very unique music and art. Also, researching the history was fun...there is just so much we did not know about that time period. Furthermore, the way land and rivers were vital in those early days made a huge impact on how the game was designed.

FRAG!: It's obvious from playing Bronze that you really enjoy the history of the time. What came first, learning history and then playing historical strategy games or vice-versa?

Alex Kutsenok: I'm not sure what came first, but I've been playing historical games and reading books on history for a long time. I actually became interested in the region after making a trip to the Middle East in 2007. There is just something magical about a land where human civilization began and history is all around you. Probably, the book that inspired me most was "Napoleon in Egypt" by Paul Strathern. Interestingly, even Napoleon was not immune to the charms of Mesopotamia, as he devoted an entire campaign to conquering it.

FRAG!: Bronze seems to be influenced by the board game genre known as Eurogames. Are you a fan of Eurogames, and if so which ones?

Alex Kutsenok: Almost all of us at Dreamspike Studios enjoy Eurogames, and we frequently play against each other. In fact, we probably spend more time playing board games than computer games in our free time. Our favorites are Carcassonne, Citadels, Settlers of Catan, and Age of Mythology (with house rules, of course!).


FRAG!: What's your favorite aspect of Bronze?

Alex Kutsenok: For me, it's the fact that EVERY civilization plays the game in a different way. You could completely dominate as the Sumerians, but just try switching factions and see what happens. With twelve factions we had to spend months on just getting the balancing to work. However, it was definitely worth it. In the end, I just love how every civilization forces you to think about the game in a completely new way. Whatever tactics you developed with one faction are useless with another. You get to experience the game in a completely new way whenever you pick a new side.

FRAG!: Do you have any strategy secrets to share that gamers could use when Bronze is released?

Alex Kutsenok: When playing Bronze, be creative! If a strategy that you developed doesn't work, try something else. There is no luck in this game, so you can't win by doing the same thing over and over! Also, always pay attention to who your enemies are. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of other civilizations, so that you know how to best deal with them. Finally, don't be afraid to lose. In fact, losing allows you learn from your mistakes, so that you can eventually become a better Bronze player. Conquering ancient Mesopotamia will not be easy, and I hope you'll enjoy the challenge!

Thanks to Alex for his time. Look for Bronze to be released shortly, along with its demo.

Space Hulk: Death Angel (Fantasy Flight Games)

Co-op seems to be the new black in board gaming, although the problem is half the time the definition of co-op is more like 'multi-player solitaire'. Not so with Space Hulk: Death Angel (DA), the new co-op card game of man versus alien in the coldest reaches of outer space (da-da-DUM) from Fantasy Flight Games.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Wait a sec, isn't Space Hulk a board game from Games Workshop?" Indeed, it is, and furthermore if you were to assume that the DA is based on said game, you would be correct. Give yourself a yummy crumpet.

If you're one of the few folks out there who have never heard of Space Hulk, or played it, essentially it's Aliens, the board game. Set in the Warhammer 40K universe, one player controls a team of Space Marines, superhuman soldiers wielding gigantic weapons and wearing massive power armor (that for some reason provides no protection and even hinders vision and movement), while his opponent controls the xenomorphs known as the Genestealers. Genestealers, who look like Pumpkinhead's first cousin, are easy to kill but always outnumber the valiant Space Marines. The two groups do battle in the corridors of a drifting...wait for it...space hulk.

Space Hulk is considered a classic, and it's easy to see why. The theme rocks, the components look great, and gameplay is intense as the heavily armed Space Marines must make every move and shot count against the terrible alien hordes. So how well does it translate into a card game?

Frankly, whatever Fantasy Flight Games is paying Corey Konieczka, the designer, isn't enough. DA somehow manages to take everything awesome about the original board game and distill it into a card game that can be played in under a hour. In fact, thanks to the co-op style of play there's a good chance this will hit the table far more than the original game.

In DA the players (or player, it works just as well solo) each choose a combat team of two Space Marines to play. Each combat team is slight different, so one player may have a psychic warrior while another may have the flamethrower guy, while someone else specializes in melee. Obviously it works best when the teams complement each other, but since all Marines can handle themselves ultimately the choice of who to take lays in player preference and style.

Each team is represented by a card on the table, which can face either left or right, and a set of three Action cards. These Action cards are: Support, Move + Activate, and Attack. Each action card allows an action to play out for your combat team on your turn, along with usually some sort of special effect tied to your particular team. For example, an attack card allows you to attack with both your Space Marines but could also allow you to trigger a flamer attack.

Only one action can be chosen per turn, and then on the subsequent turn the same action cannot be chosen again. So if your support on turn one you will not be able to support until turn three.

Play is handled by laying out the Space Marine squad in a single file line. This represents their squad order. At the top of this line is a Location Card, which describes the Terrain card set up and any special events due to the Location. Terrain cards are set up next to the squad line based on the Location Card. These could be doors, hallways, et cetera. It is from the Terrain cards that the Genestealers appear. And this is your entire play area. Table space requirements aren't too bad, although with a full squad represented by six players the line can get pretty long. Still, when compared to the board game the space requirements are nowhere similar.

The main object of the game is to get to the final Location Card and satisfy whatever conditions that particular card dictates. Killing all the aliens while not having all your Space Marines killed is a good path to victory, by the way. To get to the final Location Card

the players must have zero Genestealers waiting in the wings. When this happens a new Location Card is played. Repeat until the final one is uncovered.

Genestealers are divided into two stacks, one on the left of the Space Marine line, and one on the right. Space Marines can only attack the side that they are facing, although they can defend from either side. As Genestealers come into play individual cards are lined up next to Space Marine positions.

A turn consists of the players choosing one action, resolving the actions in ascending order (the cards are numbered), having the Genestealers attack, and the finally playing an Event card. Event cards can be positive or negative. A great example of a negative event is one in which all the attacking Genestealers move to attack a single Space Marine.

Combat in DA is dirt simple. DA includes a d6 that is labeled zero through five. Three of the numbers also have skulls next to them. For a standard Space Marine attack a single roll is made against any Genestealers that are next to the Space Marine in the line, and in which he is facing. If a skull comes up one alien is killed. When defending the Space Marine rolls the die, looking to roll higher than the number of Genestealers attacking. If he does so the attack is a miss, otherwise the Space Marine is toast. Yep, both Space Marines and Genestealers are both easy to pop, with one hit doing them in.

There are various ways to boost combat powers, of course. The psychic warrior gets to make another attack each time he kills a Genestealer. The flamer is an automatic hit, as instead of looking for a skull the number rolled is how many aliens are fried. Support tokens, added typically by someone playing a Support Action card, allows combat dice to be rerolled.

Since a Space Marine can only attack the side they are facing, and attacks can only be made once every other turn, there is an awful lot of planning ahead in DA. That, and inter-squad cooperation is paramount. Strangely, by the rules players are supposed to secretly choose their Action cards. Considering everyone is part of a battle hardened team that should be able to communicate to each other (they do have radios 39,800 years in the future, right?) we always play with free discussion.

DA gets very tense, very quickly. The flamer has six Genestealers on his back. If he uses a Move + Activate card to turn around to face the threat he won't survive, since the aliens will then attack and he can't roll a seven on a die that only goes up to five. Therefore some team needs to be able to attack and at least take a couple down, while another team should throw some support at the flamer so once the mob is reduced he can reroll if necessary while defending. What to do, what to do...

Losses will occur and it's amazing how quickly a carefully crafted plan can go down the tubes when a key member of the squad is eliminated, or the event cards turns up something nasty. Yet this is also when DA is the most fun, as everyone starts to sweat and panic. Boom, suddenly your best unit is Genestealer kibble, half your men are facing the wrong way, and now even more aliens are pouring out the walls. Uh-oh. Game over man, game over.

Having this happen when playing by yourself can be a satisfying challenge, but when it happens with a group then it's downright awesome. Having played a number of co-op games recently I can say no other game really got everyone as involved as DA does, primarily because unlike other co-op games everyone is truly co-operating with each other. This makes such a world of difference, as suddenly your actions impact someone else quite directly, rather than abstractly.

Space Hulk: Death Angel is fantastic. Compact, priced right, great artwork, and really gripping gameplay, everyone needs to own a copy. Co-op is where it's at, but being able to play solo is also a nice bonus. If I had to say something bad about it it's the fact the manual could be a little more clear in some spots, and a few times you'll question some mechanic in play and won't be able to find an answer.

Hey, guess what was the top seller last month at the Gamers Front? Let me hear it from the left...now the right...left...right...all together, now! Dominions 3: The Awakening!

Yes, once again Dominions 3: The Awakening suffers no fools and takes names. Pretty good for a game that has been out for years. Obviously it's not getting the press anymore which means that its success is solidly built from word of mouth. Gamers like you and you, passing the word along and telling everyone just how great and awesome a game it is. We thank you for this, Illwinter thanks you, and all the noobs that you are about to crush in multiplayer probably thank you.

Behold that which is Dominions 3: The Awakening.

Battling back from the outer reaches of the galaxy is Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space. Knocked off the top three a couple of times recently as heavy metal tank on tank action took its spot, it's back, baby. Like Dominions 3: The Awakening this is a game that just keeps on ticking. But hey, sci-fi adventure in twenty minutes or less, who can resist? Be sure to check out the mod scene, there's been a lot of recent activity on the mod forums over at Shrapnel recently. Lots of creative people doing some really neat things with the game.

Beam up the fun with Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space.

Weird Worlds may be back in the top three but that doesn't mean everyone has turned into pacifists and chased all the armor away. No sir, winSPWW2 is still a top dog.

winSPWW2 Enhanced Edition is a smorgasbord of combined arms warfare during the pre-WW2 years up to right after the big dubya dubya two. Featuring about every type of weapon platform you can think of during the pivotal '30s and '40s, and practically every combatant on the planet (the Grand Republic of the Mooga Booga is sadly not present), winSPWW2 is classic turn based wargaming. And hey, just like Dominions 3 and Weird Worlds it was released quite some time ago, showing once again that quality gaming never needs to go away.

Classic tank busting at its best with winSPWW2 Enhanced Edition.

The Gamers Front specials of the month can be found here.

We changed things up this month by offering not two, but three specials: Air Assault Task Force, Battle

Group Commander: Episode One, and Remote Assault.

Air Assault Task Force and Battle Group Commander are both from the masters of high fidelity modern warfare simulation, ProSIM. Air Assault Task Force is essentially a 'survey' style game, meaning that instead of focusing on one particular battle players actually get to fight in Vietnam, Somalia, and Afghanistan (and in their proper timeframes). Battle Group Commander: Episode One is more traditional, with players commanding a British battle group on the plains of Salisbury against a Soviet-style force.

Both games feature command-time play, real world maps, detailed combat operations, extensive weapon databases, and much more. For anyone looking for a different kind of wargame these are great places to start.

Remote Assault is also a real-time strategy game but in lieu of the nitty, gritty realistic world of ProSIM games Remote Assault is set in a near future sci-fi realm. Yet, though it may involve robots and sharks with laser beams (okay, not really...though yes to robots), Remote Assault is still a very realistic game. For example, when was the last time you played a RTS in which ballistic arcs were tracked? Or units could have individual components damaged? It's all there in Remote Assault.

All three games are available only for Windows. On sale Air Assault Task Force sells for $38.95, Battle Group Commander: Episode One $11.95, and Remote Assault $9.95.

The Gamers Front is your doorway to a world of award-winning independent strategy titles, available for purchase 24/7/365.

Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space

Being the witching season how about a link featuring some ghostly military activity? On a side note there was a recent program in which people were discussing there experiences with paranormal activity and one guy was being haunted by a poltergeist that liked to organize things. How cool would it be to have a ghost with OCD? Don't want to put away all the thousands of counters for War in the East after playing, not a problem, Casper will do it!

Concerned with hauntings in the United Kingdom the Paranormal Database has quite a selection of ghostly sights and sounds tied into old battles and soldiers. And for some reason one entry about rabbits. Most of the spooky spectacles seem to deal with the English Civil War. Real ghosts of Roundheads and Royalists or drunk Scots dressing up in SCA wear?

Visit the site at:



Bronze: November 1, 2010

World Supremacy: November 2010

All American: The 82nd Airborne
In Normandy
: 2010

Eat Electric Death! (Board game): Box Art

Star Legacy: 2011

Copyright © 2010 - Shrapnel Games, Inc.

Shrapnel Games, Inc.
Publisher of Premier War & Strategy Games