Battles in Normandy out

Apparently the boxed copy won’t be available until September 24th,but the downloadable version is available now.There’s a link from SSG’s site.I’ve been playing through the tutorials,which are in the style of Korsun Pocket’s tutorials,and are excellent.

The asking price is a little steep at $60,but since I’m not paying shipping or tax,it’s not unreasonable.Battles in Normandy is SSG’s latest in their Decisive Battles series,following The Ardennes Offensive and Korsun Pocket.

Looks like they’re selling through Matrix.

While poking around at Matrix I saw a couple other things that might be of interest. To nobody’s surprise it seems Fading Suns: Noble Armada has been cancelled after all this time. And there’s a new edition of Steel Panthers: World at War out. “The General’s Edition” with version 8.20 as well as all four megacampaigns. Looked pretty tasty until I saw the pricetag. $69.99. Yikes. Are PC games like cars or wines? They hit a certain age and suddenly gain in value?

No this is Matrix’s new business model: scrape every last dollar out of wargamers and tell them it’s necessary because every wargame is a niche product. Seems to work pretty well. For every person complaining about the prices in the matrix forums, you have 5 others practically begging to pay extra to show their support.

Not surprised but saddened just the same. I’m a Fading Suns fan, and was really looking forward to NA. Ah well, at least I still have the excellent Emperor of the Fading Suns to keep me busy…

The pricing should be no surprise to anyone. Matrix’s model is to market their games to hardcore players. Such players are prepared to pay $60-$70 for a game. They are after all niche products.

From what I have heard such a model has been quite successful. The survival of the wargame genre depends on it. If you aren’t prepared to pay their prices then you aren’t in their target market.

I’ve already got Steel Panthers: WaW and I’ve bought three of the four Megacampaigns. I was willing to pay a fair amount for them, considering the age of the engine we’re talking about, at the time. But there’s nothing new here that I can see aside from one megacampaign which, I’d assume, most fans would already have as it’s the latest and was available seperately. I can’t see where the expenses are that justify this price. That said, I suppose if they can sell them they don’t really need to justify anything. It does smack a bit of exploitation to me unless Matrix fans see buying games like giving money to Jerry’s Kids.

Battles in Normandy is I think better than Korsun Pocket, if only because the subject is more interesting as a game IMO, and the engine is quite a bit tweaked.

As for the price, well, wargames ARE a niche product. Wargame developers don’t sell many copies, so if they are going to fund development they have to either have a lot of outside income or they have to charge a bit more. As the intended audience willingly pays the price, and generally understands the need for it, it can hardly be considered a rip off.

When your sales are in the four-figure range, it’s hard to put out games for industry-standard prices. At least, that’s what I’ve gleaned from talking to wargame developers over the years.

I agree that it seems even better than KP,and the best of the Decisive Battles games to this point.Hey,there’s even an updated version of The Ardennes Offensive thrown in gratis.

The AI in the Overlord scenario (which covers the first 32 days of the invasion) seems very strong.I’m playing as the Germans,and I’ve been under serious pressure the entire game to this point.The Allies surprsingly haven’t yet made a strong push on Caen,instead they’ve been putting a considerable bulge in the line in the bocage between St. Lo and Caen,and are probably a couple of turns from taking Carentan in the west.So far,the campaign is playing out more or less historically,with the Germans constantly trying to plug gaps with weak units,and throwing their strong panzer divisions into local counterattacks at the most threatened areas.

Still trying to come to grips to some of the changes and tweaks in the system.One bonus is that BiN is probably the prettiest hex based wargame ever made for the computer.The map is beautiful,if a bit busy,and the division insignias add plenty of color.