Grognard Wargamer Thread!


Also stoked to see it releases this week! I like the time from announcement to release. My kind of speed.


Wouldn’t this deserve its own thread @Brooski? I think the subject matter and style of game, and the quite lively discussion following your initial post, can have a quite wide appeal.


This has been my latest WW2 air combat, kick. They did actually make a Down in Flames PC game a while back. It would be nice to see a new version of that.

Tom Mc


Done! :)


Possibly less popular than Check Your 6! is this other one soon to be published by Matrix/Slitherine

which in many ways attempts to update Atomic Games V4V/WAW style of grand tactical/operational war games. It does look very interesting, I do miss WEGO in my hex and counter games badly.


Thanks for posting that video, @MiquelRamirez. I watched a fair bit of it. I love the WEGO system. Can’t say I love the UI or graphics; I wonder why they chose to program it in Java. Wouldn’t mind a bit more detail: TOE for units, for example. And it would be nice if there were a campaign of some sort. Still, the WEGO is a big plus, and I may take the plunge. Thanks again.


It’s about time. Why did they ever stop making these?


Since the V4V series was tied to Avalon Hill, it might just be that it was tied to the (mis)fortunes of that company in the 90s. Or it could be that Close Combat did so well they never wanted to go back.


My pleasure Mr @Spock.

This game, like Armored Brigade, another interesting upcoming title from Matrix, this started as a freeware, one man effort in 2011. He got some extensive coverage by Tim Stone on Rock, Paper, Shotgun a few years ago. IIRC that was about the time John Duquette (bcgames) who did a fair bit of scenario design work for 2by3 Games in War in the East joined the project, helping to redesign the website of the game, upgrade map graphics and probably help with the scenarios.

If you look through the screenshots it becomes apparent that there has been an evolution which is more apparent between Tim Stone’s feature and the article I linked at My impression is that there has been a bit of streamlining of the original freeware version, and there has been work in improving the usability of the original. For instance, the VCR-like controls to browse the WEGO turn resolution have been complete remade from what I remember. Edit: and now also has an AI to play against.

I didn’t play the original freeware version, though. 2011 to 2014 was a quite busy time in my life, and this little one fell by the wayside.

@Brooski a few years ago interviewed one man projects in the self-publishing, print-it-yourself war game scene. Here I am guessing, but I guess that Brian’s project operates along similar parameters. That is, capitalising on in-house abilities (JAVA is probably the language Brian likes the most or feels more confident) and on-off development (I am also guessing Brian has never been working on this full time).

So production values can’t be very high, but I would have expected some more support with the general look and feel or upgrading the UI elements graphics (buttons etc.) The original Atomic Games titles were a work of art, featuring a sleek user interface with a window management system, in a time that we were all making tough calls whether or not to load mouse drivers in order to get our game up and running. That’s definitely going to hurt sales, in a time when both “indie game” and “indie looks” have a very different meaning that 10 years ago.

Long and prosper!


Atomic Games. At one point I was doing a lot of testing for them; I especially remember their Operation Crusader game, because at one point I was playing a particular scenario over and over again to generate enough play data for the programmer to do the AI “better.” I say “better” because, well, I’m not exactly the best player in the world, but every little bit helps I suppose!

I did love those games, though, because that scale reminded me of stuff like Atlantic Wall and Wacht am Rhine.


I see stuff like Desert War and part of me says, cool, old-school wargame. Another, bigger, part says, uh, damn that looks ancient. I have a hard time getting over the bare-bones minimalist look, the stacks of counters mimicking cardboard, and sense of been-there, done-that that this sort of game gives me, especially one set in the Western Desert, a theater in which I personally have only moderate interest. I mean, I’ve played so many games over the years over this exact terrain, with the same units, even with similar looks.

I guess if any of those factors–looks, setting, system–were at least different, I might be more interested. As it is, I doubt I’ll get it unless one day it’s on super sale.


They were, like Close Combat, truly advanced for the time. Were you testing on MS DOS PC or Macintosh? I wonder how the game felt in the latter. It totally blew my 640x480 VGA mindset.


I played on both, but I did the testing IIRC on the Mac. But my memory is hazy.


The looks are basic, the setting is a classic and the system it’s not like it has seen much air time in the last twenty years.

I am not sure I am going to love it, but I think it definitely is worth a play.


Sure, I’d play it, but I just can’t justify buying it at full price. I do hope it is good and successful for the developers, of course.


WEGO will probably be enough to get me to pick it up on sale, but I feel much the same way. After playing titles like Command Ops and Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa, I need that extra something to make the game feel like more than Yet Another Counter Shuffler. I don’t see anything about it on the Matrix page or elsewhere, so I’m going to assume it’s not a mechanic, but a Flashpoint Campaigns-esque asymmetry of command would have been a really cool addition.


To be fair, my comments are not so much about this particular game, but about the entire genre. I grew up as a total grog, reading everything I could find on war and weapons and history. I had hundreds of games at one point, adored reading rule books and sorting counters, and even (gasp!) went to game clubs regularly to play with actual humans, even though most of my play was solitaire. I even at one point had a ping-pong table in my freakin’ living room in my apartment in Charlottesville, just to play monster games.

But over the years, I sort of shifted my interests. Oh, I still love history (hell, I got a Ph.D. in it along the way) but rivet counting and minutia mining lost their charm over time. I still have a library of groggy books, out of date in some cases but still genuine grognard stuff, but I rarely read or use them. I just can’t be bothered even with digital games to plod through hundreds of counters, virtual or otherwise.


Heh, I’m rather new to grog stuff - in a serious capacity, anyway, I fiddled around with various wargames when I went through my WWII mania as a kid - really only sinking my teeth into the genre in the past year or two. Funnily enough, I’ve never played a traditional physical wargame - only PC.

While I love the depth of the genre, I do feel there’s a lot of squandered potential and the dominance of an excessively conservative design ethos that still holds the IGOUGO hex-and-counter style of game to be supreme. Hell, going back to the V for Victory discussion a bit earlier, I played around a bit with that series of games recently after first learning about it thanks to this retrospective series on YouTube and I was astounded by how playable and downright pretty the games were. When a game from decades ago looks and plays better than many modern titles in the same genre, it might be time for some reflection.

I think I’m a bit of an odd duck, in that I really enjoy a lot of grognard games, but also have minimal patience for lots of counter shuffling. Thus, I find myself returning to the same handful of games - Command Ops, Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa, Rule the Waves, Graviteam Tactics, etc. - and wishing other grog games would take more cues from them, even with their various flaws.


Fair enough to move on past hobbies and obsessions, I hope the current ones are as satisfying as the old ones.


Well, I think the WEGO mechanics add a bit of that extra oomph to this game. I am happy to reward anybody who dares do something outside of the IGO UGO orthodoxy.

Asymmetry in command loops is not modelled explicitly as in Flashpoint, but rather like in Command Ops, implicitly via orders delay. In the video the Ariete division armour has a hard time waking up to meet the oncoming 7th Armoured Division.