Review - posted by Trash on Sun 9 June 2013, 16:57:29Tags: AGEOD; Matrix Games; Rise of Prussia Gold
With the recent announcement of AGEOD and Matrix Games entering a partnership also came the re-release of Rise of Prussia in a Gold version. Our very own Cenobyte went to see what the new Rise of Prussia Gold is all about.
The game is not only advanced by the campaigns between the two rivals. Instead, the course of the game is further shaped by events that unlock allied troops and represent the warfare in the colonies. Short flavor texts provide some information about these historical events and add to the immersion of the game. Some of these events also offer choices to the player, such as deciding whether to mobilize the forces of Bavaria in Bohemia, close to the Austrian front lines, or rather in Nuremberg at the camp of the Imperial army, which would please France. Most of these events are not random and will happen at their historical date. Random events include events providing additional officers, which is especially important for Austria with its rather weak starting commanders, and events affecting your troops in the field in some – usually negative – ways.
Read the full article: Tacticular Cancer Review: Rise of Prussia Gold
Review - posted by Trash on Tue 28 May 2013, 13:56:07Tags: A House Divided; Heart of Darkness; Paradox Interactive; Victoria II
We put new staff member Absalom in the shoes of a budding capitalist and let him loose to see what he would do. Turns out he went on a railroad building spree and forgot all about importing coal. Yes, indeed, it was about time we paid some attention to Paradox Interactive's industrialisation sim Victoria II. Especially now that it's all patched up and has recieved two mayor DLC expansions with A House Divided and Heart of Darkness. Check out his comprehensive review.
Read the full article: Victoria II with A House Divided and Heart of Darkness gets a Tacticular Cancer Review
Interview - posted by Whisky on Sat 4 May 2013, 19:08:55Tags: Full Control; Jagged Alliance: Flashback; Kickstarter; Tacticular Cancer Interview
Thomas Hentschel Lund, the CEO and founder of Full Control has been kind enough to answer a few questions about their Kickstarter for Jagged Alliance: Flashback.
Will Jagged Alliance: Flashback's difficulty progress steadily as the game continues? What difficulty options will there be in the game? Will Ironman mode make a return?
Ironman is a must.
The classic game theory is to use the magic number 3 in terms of number of difficulty. Easy, default, Ironman.
Difficulty HAS to ramp up as you move forward. The exact method to use will be part of detailed game design to look at. We have tried to use different options earlier in our previous games - from hardcoded spawn (a bitch to balance, but it gave an ultra tight experience) to a point based system similar to Warhammer 40k, where each unit and weapon has a value that the AI balances the enemy team upon.
Which to use for JA:F is to be playtested and decided later. Since we want to add multiple factions to the game, here is a place we cannot (only) use the JA2 system and need to tweak it to be enjoyable to play and still pose a challenge.
Read the full article: Tacticular Cancer Interview: Jagged Alliance: Flashback
Competition - posted by Trash on Fri 19 April 2013, 09:51:47Tags: A House Divided; Heart of Darkness; Paradox Interactive; Victoria II
Well, the response to our recent Victoria II Map Painting Competition has been overwhelming and the artistry, well, interesting.
The full gallery of entries can be seen here. Finally, after much deliberation and several stiff drinks the following participants have won a copy of both Victoria II and it's first expansion A House Divided.
Hellraiser, Kalin, Fowyr, Telengard and BlackAdderBG. WhiskeyWolf gets a honorouble mention for despiting not being eligible due to being staff still producing a rather kewl map.
Those lucky five winners will each be getting a copy of Victoria II and A House Divided for Steam. They will be contacted shortly with details on how to download their game.
Thanks to everyone for participating and especially to Paradox Interactive for giving us five Victoria II and A House Divided copies to give away! Do check out the recently released Heart of Darkness expansion if you can't get enough Victoria II.
Interview - posted by Trash on Mon 15 April 2013, 15:58:06Tags: Heart of Darkness; Paradox Development Studios; Paradox Interactive; Victoria II
April 16th will see the release of Victoria II's Heart of Darkness expansion. With a little prodding we managed to lure game designer Chris King out of the jungle to talk a bit about fun minors, newspapers and colonisation. Not to mention international crisis growing way out of hand.
No, I´m afraid not. The only diplomatic options we have are in the crisis system. Flashpoints are areas where nations own land that either another existing nation feels they have claims on, or where a conquered people want to rise up and rule themselves. Each Flashpoint has a certain Tension level which is affected by how unhappy the people living there are, random events, and a few other factors like the power level of the current owner. Existing non-Great Power nations can also use one of their National Focuses to raise Tensions in areas they have claims on. Once the Tension level gets high enough it triggers a Crisis between the nation that owns the area and the nation that wants it. Both sides need a Great Power to back their cause unless they are GPs themselves or else the Crisis fizzles out, but if both sides get support the Crisis begins.
In a crisis all Great powers on the same continent are invited to express interest or sit it out with a prestige cost. If they join they can then choose to support either side, and the original GP on each side can attempt to bribe the other powers into their camp by offering up War goals against the other camp. A Crisis has a Temperature bar that is constantly increasing, once it reaches 100 the crisis becomes a war, but before that point the leader of either camp can choose to give into the demands of the other to resolve the crisis peacefully.
Exciting. In addition to the launch of Heart of Darkness tomorrow will also be the last day of our Map Painting Contest. So if you want to nab a free copy of Victoria II and its first expansion A House Divided you'd better get to it!
Read the full article: Tacticular Cancer: A Heart of Darkness Interview
Competition - posted by Trash on Wed 3 April 2013, 15:00:04Tags: A House Divided; Heart of Darkness; Paradox Interactive; Victoria II
Does the idea of running a Great Power in an era of monocles and top hats appeal to you? Of course it does. Well, Tacticular Cancer has five (yes, five!) copies of both Victoria II and its first expansion A House Divided to give away. Developed by Paradox Development Studio, Victoria II will soon release its second mayor expansion named Heart of Darkness. Here’s some more information on just what Victoria II is all about.
Experience an in-depth political simulation where every action you take will have various consequences all over the world. The population will react to your decisions based on their political awareness, social class, as well as their willingness to accept or revolt against their government.
So, what are Paradox games all about? Exactly, they are all about painting the map into your own pretty colours. And, what do you need to do to get yourself a nice copy of Victoria II and its A House Divided expansions? Right again, you’ll need to astound us with your best map painting skills. Do something funky with photoshop, go all Jackson Pollock on a map, draw your dream empire on a napkin, conquer Poland and send us a postcard. Above all, astound us with your originality, creativity and skill. Failing that, make something nice.
We will give the five best* contributions a copy of both Victoria II and A House Divided which you can reclaim through porn deletion service Steam.
The competition will be starting today and ending on Tuesday 16th of April - so start now if you want a copy! All entries must have something vaguely to do with map painting. TCancer Staff are excluded from entering.
To submit your entries you can:
2. Telepathically submit your image to our Judges' minds.
3. Send trash an email at roy.tcancer at gmail .com (added some spaces to make things a tiny bit more interesting for those harvesting bots)
*Best is utterly subjective. Judges’ decision is final.
Interview - posted by Trash on Tue 26 March 2013, 17:17:45Tags: wastelands interactive; Worlds of Magic
When a developer starts a thread on our forum about them making a new turn-based fantasy strategy game called Worlds of Magic we tend to take note. Especially when their feature list and even artwork reminds a whole lot of that staple of the genre; Master of Magic. I spoke with Leszek Lisowski, founder of Wastelands Interactive and Aaron Etheridge, lead developer of Lucid Dreamers about the power of crowdfunding, gaming in general and their new project in particular.
(Aaron) I honestly feel this is more of a Leszek question, but I will say this: I think there's plenty of room in the market, especially for a genuine successor to MoM's throne.
(Leszek) Do you remember golden times of strategy games in mid 90’s? A lot of great titles were created then like Panzer General, Master of Orion, of course Master of Magic and many, many more. Of course now, there are couple of shining stars like Civilization series, X-Com or Sim City but you are right, most of the games are pretty niche if you compare them to the sales level of Call of Duty or Battlefront. However I think there is a plenty of room for such games. If I remember correctly it has been lately announced that Endless Space has been sold in over 500 thousands units. Pretty good score like for niche game. I’m pretty sure there is a lot of space for fantasy strategy games. Only for this year two great continuations are announced - Age of Wonders III and the new Eador. I’m sure that Worlds of Magic will have a lot to offer not only for strategy games fans. If only the press could stop calling every game where you have to think a hardcore title.
Read the full article: Tacticular Cancer Interview: Worlds of Magic
Editorial - posted by Trash on Sun 24 March 2013, 17:22:26Tags: Europa Universalis III; Paradox Interactive
Our resident megalomaniac and Let's Play enthousiastic Cassidy sat down to write up a detailed analysis of all the ins and outs of Europa Universalis III's expansions and some of its most popular modifications. It took us some time to decypher his hushed mutterings but we're glad to be able to finally share his wisdom and insight into the fine art of mappainting. Come check out the full article of Cassidy's Europa Universalis III Retrospective: On the expansions and some of the modifications
Interview - posted by Trash on Sat 16 March 2013, 09:57:25Tags: Paradox Interactive
Paradox Interactive is the studio that's been bringing us classics like the Europe Universalis, Crusader Kings and Hearts of Iron games. The last few years they went from simply making grognard wargaming and strategy titles to launch their own digital distribution platform and publishing a broad selection of other niche oriented gaming titles. All that was enough reason for us to try and get someone to talk about how the heck a small Swedish studio could grow into this behemoth and what the plans for the future are. Shams Jorjani, VP of Business Development made some room in his busy schedule of trying to take over the world to talk to us for a bit.
Paradox started off as most developers do - a small team with a weird little game that few others understood. At that time, the company worked with other publishers for marketing/sales/distribution of our games. After a while we realized they weren't really "getting" our games and were pushing them in the same way they would other mainstream titles. So when we finally had a bit of money and could hire another team member the dev team screamed for a new AI programmer. Fredrik Wester, now our CEO, overruled them and hired a marketing person. The devs were naturally fuming and uttered what since has become historical words at Paradox: "who needs marketing - a good game sells itself".
Well, that day Paradox became a publisher and things have pointed upwards ever since. It turns out that understanding what makes a game different from the competition allowed Paradox to better market the games. As they grew as a publisher, they had to start small and publish other 3rd party games that also were "niche". All the games weren't good - but once in a while they made enough money to snowball into bigger and better projects. Thanks to a few runaway hits (and a few solid ones) Paradox today is in a position where we only do projects we really believe in - if it's something we'd enjoy ourselves as niche gamers we know that our crowd will probably like it as well. Going forwards Paradox will continue what we've done all these years - we'll make smart, different and challenging games that demand a lot from the gamers - who in turn demand a lot from the games.
Read the full Paradox Interactive Interview: Answers from Shams Jorjani, VP of Business Development
Review - posted by Trash on Sat 9 March 2013, 15:58:29Tags: AGEOD; Alea Jacta Est; Alea Jacta Est: Birth of Rome
Roman legions, Carthagenian fleets and lots of angry Samnites all come together in Ageod's Alea Jacta Est's first stand-alone expansion Birth of Rome. Mraston donned his sandals to try it out for us.
Hate it when that happens. Anyway, check out our brand new review of Birth of Rome.
Review - posted by Trash on Sat 2 March 2013, 16:29:38Tags: March of the Eagles; Paradox Interactive
Straight out of the trenches we send our very own Oscar to go and re-enact some good old fashioned Napoleonic warfare with Paradox's March of the Eagles. Did he enjoy it or found it to be as much fun as marching all the way back from Moscow to Paris?
Sacré bleu! Read the full review here.
Review - posted by Trash on Fri 22 February 2013, 17:07:53Tags: 2x2 games; Matrix Games; Slitherine; Unity of Command
Unity of Command was released way back in 2011 by small independent developer 2x2 Games. Since we're now well into 2013 we decided it was about time we gave some attention to it. Our very own Ulminati braved the endless Russian steppes to see what's what with Unity of Command.
One of the most striking things most my Grognard compatriots tended to remark upon when seeing this game are the graphics. Many appear to loathe them and immediately assume the game is a glorified web browser clickathon. I’ll admit I was initially discouraged from buying the game because of them, but they very quickly grew on me. The interface is easy to navigate and packs a lot of information onto your screen without ever getting so confusing you can’t tell what is going on. The prevalence of browns and greys also fits the dismal setting of the miserable eastern front and allows the slightly brighter colors of the informational icons to draw the eye without burning out your retinas. Looking at a unit icon will tell you what kind of unit it is, what its strength is, if it is out of supply, how much of its combat strength is suppressed, its experience level, its status, whether it can move and/or attack and what specialist equipment (if any) it has without so much as mousing over the bust. Clicking any unit will bring up a more detailed overlay on the right hand side, putting numbers to the icons. The clean graphics allow for a lot of information to be conveyed on the screen in an easily readable format.Read our full Unity of Command review.
Review - posted by Trash on Mon 18 February 2013, 11:23:42Tags: Camo Workshop; Shrapnel Games; Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank
Steel Panthers originally got released in 1995 and has since then recieved more sequels, expansions and even full overhaul mods than you can shake a stick at. Our very own Garfunkel dives into the melee to try and make sense of it all and bring us a retrospective of fan fav Camo Workshop's Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank.
For those who do not know, in any Steel Panthers game, you control infantry squads and individual vehicles and guns. You might only have a single company; whereas some battles you control an entire, reinforced battalion. Each unit has a plethora of statistics, including experience and morale and a named leader with four skills – yay, Steel Panthers is an RPG! Units and their leaders can be renamed. Units are moved on a hex-based map where each hex is roughly 50 meters. Terrain is, naturally, of supreme importance. Tanks can get stuck in streams or swamps while infantry in the open is machinegun fodder. Units can have up to four weapons – plus smoke ammo or dischargers, and those weapons can have up to four different types ammunition; HE, AP, HEAT and Sabot. Vehicles have three sorts of armour: regular steel, reactive armour and anti-HEAT armour. Winner is the one who, after a certain number of turns, controls more victory locations, though destroyed units give points as well. During a campaign, units and their leaders gain experience and can be upgraded with new kit. This is why you shouldn’t rename your units as there is no other way to track what gear they are actually using, in the upgrade screen between battles. In battle, units can be suppressed and require their leader to rally them. Retreating and routed units are out of control, fleeing towards home and easy targets. Tube artillery, mortars, rocket artillery can be both on-map and off-map and counter-battery fire is possible against both. In short, if it’s possible in actual combat, it’s most likely possible in Steel Panthers.Did I mention the game is free? Read Garfunkel's Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank Retrospective here.
Review - posted by Trash on Fri 25 January 2013, 15:11:43Tags: Commander: The Great War; Review; The Lordz Games Studios
Oscar underwent his baptism by fire when he went over the top in Commander: The Great War. Did he enjoy his sojourn in no man’s land or did he just end up with a bad case of trench foot? Check it out in our review of The Lordz Games Studio’s Commander: The Great War.
Commander: The Great War admirably succeeds in staying true to the nature of warfare in this era and being a fun, accessible game that keeps you on the edge of your seat cursing as your offensive peters out of steam and manpower shortages begin to cripple your industry. The hex-based map will feel instantly familiar to anyone who’s spent time with Panzer General (and really, who reading this hasn’t?). What stops this game from being just another Panzer General clone is its well-thought out research and economic components. The tech tree simulates the doctrinal and technological advances that over the course of the war sapped the seemingly insurmountable advantages of the entrenched defender. The game correctly debunks the misconception that the entirety of the First World War was static, with innovations such as the tank (a laughable failure at first but quickly to become the heavy cavalry of the modern battlefield), gas warfare, dedicated fighter and bomber aircraft, creeping barrage and infantry assault tactics opening up eventual effective offensive possibilities.Read the full article here.
Review - posted by Trash on Wed 19 December 2012, 18:24:06Tags: Eador: Genesis; GOG.com; Snowbird Games
From the cold steppes of the East comes quite a surprise. Russian 2010 indie hit Eador: Genesis got itself an English translation by the folks from Snowbird Games and is finally available for the wider world on GOG.com. And I'm happy to say it's a winner.
By drawing comparisons to such classic games as Master of Magic, HoMM III and Age of Wonders it really sets itself up to be compared to the best in the genre. Eador: Genesis also includes a lot of mechanics that in one way or another remind of these classics. So, how does it fare when stacked up? Amazingly well in my opinion. The graphics have a nice artstyle to them but really are nothing truly special. The almost complete lack of animations could turn quite a few people off as well. For those that look past these low production values however there is a game underneath that seems to open up layer after layer of gameplay as you learn its intricacies. Basic gameplay isn't too hard to learn. You hire some troops and a hero, go conquer some provinces, build buildings and try to take over a shard. However within that framework you'll soon discover that you constantly learn new things. How to build up your heroes or finding out that inactivity will doom you as certainly as overexpanding does. Same as making the transition from smaller shards to bigger ones means you'll have to adept your entire strategy.Here's our Tacticular Cancer review of Eador: Genesis
Review - posted by Trash on Sun 25 November 2012, 19:12:25Tags: Avalon Hill; Dune; Fantasy Flight Games
Knowing that the spice must flow and that fear is the little mind-killer are just a few of the things Ulminati has learned from playing the magnificent classical boardgame Dune. Seeing your best friends being backstabbing bastards is apparantly another one of those things. Check out our latest edition of Cardboard Mutilation.
This is the core of what makes Dune such a popular game more than 30 years down the line. The asymmetrical nature of the factions means that every player’s strategies depend on who they are playing as well as the respective strengths and alliances of the other factions. The political factions in Frank Herbert's masterpiece were all scheming bastards. If your friends are scheming bastards too, this game allows you to play out your Machiavellian power fantasies. While the game is light in rules and the mechanics dealt with fairly quickly, the game is rich in decision points, every one of which could potentially win or lose you the game depending on the scheming of your so-called "friends".Read the full article: Cardboard Mutilation: Dune
Interview - posted by Trash on Sat 24 November 2012, 18:54:32Tags: Strategic Command WWI Breakthrough!; Tacticular Cancer Interview
Strategic Command WWI Breakthrough! is a turn-based grand strategy title that delves into WWI with scenarios and campaigns that range from the muddy fields of Flanders to the vast expanses in the east to the scorching African heat. We got to talk about all this and more with its Lead Designer, Bill Runacre of Fury Software.
There are a number of Strategic Command titles on the market now. How has the series evolved since the first installment?
The first thing is the information we now present to players in the game, right from the start to help set the scene and provide advice.
Our aim is to put the player in charge, to let them see progress with their research, to be able to make choices, and progress towards victory understanding the situation and being fully responsible for their own mistakes.
The research system for making technological advances used to cause some frustration to players, but with the release of Strategic Command WWI we changed the system so that ultimate success is guaranteed, with the length of time it will take to advance varying between realistic parameters. This has been a major step forward in improving the game as the old system was a frequent cause of complaint.
It has always been our intention to improve players’ gaming experience, so we are continuously considering feedback from the playing community. Through them we must have introduced literally hundreds, possibly thousands, of improvements over the last few games.
One key concept is to give players more and more control over their strategies, and the most significant way in which we’ve done this has been through the introduction of Decision Events. With these, players are presented with strategic choices, frequently along with some guidance on making the right choice. This enables players to decide whether or not, for example, the British should sponsor the Arab Revolt, or whether to occupy the island of Lemnos prior to landing at Gallipoli.
Read the full article: Tacticular Cancer Interview: Strategic Command WWI Breakthrough!
Review - posted by Trash on Sat 17 November 2012, 19:09:05Tags: Avalon Hill; Cardboard Mutilation; Colossal Arena; Fantasy Flight Games; Titan: The Arena
Our resident cardboard hero Ulminati returns to share more secrets of chits, dice and very serious people poring over abstract rulebooks. Todays Cardboard Mutilation introduce us to mythical beasts battling each other to the death with Titan: The Arena.
Obviously, each players basic objective is to keep his bets alive and killing off the creatures that other players have bet on. In the early rounds this mainly means playing high strength cards on your own monsters. But as the game progresses, gameplay shifts towards trying to assassinate other players creatures with low strength cards and trying to control the flow of cards so that the game ends on your turn, allowing to to decide who lives and who dies. Creature abilities can play heavily into this -- If you control the Ettin for instance, you may play another card immediately after you play a card on it. this allows you to both save the ettin and place a low strength card on another players creature. A final complication is that you MUST place a bet or a card on your turn. It is entirely possible to paint yourself into a corner where the only cards you have available are cards you really don't want to play.Read the full article of Cardboard Mutilation: Titan: The Arena and keep an eye out for our extra spicey edition next week!
Review - posted by Trash on Wed 7 November 2012, 20:55:06Tags: Cardboard Mutilation; Days of Wonder; Philippe Keyaerts; Small World; Small World Underground
Here's the first in a new series of articles concerning that lovely geeky hobby called boardgaming. Here our very own boardgamegeek Ulminati will shed some light on that dark world of grown men huddling over dices and counters while whispering about arcane rules. We'll kick this off with a look at the Small World series of games by Philippe Keyaerts.
Small World is, as the name implies, a world which is much to small for all the fantasy creatures that want to live in it. In true Darwinian fashion, they solve this problem by brutally murdering each other and taking over territories held by people who comitted the unforgivable sin of being born with a different skin color, amount of legs, scales or what have you. At the end of each of your turns, you score points depending on how much territory you've managed to sink your fingers/claws/fangs/tentacles into and after a set number of turns, whoever has scored the most points is declared the winner.A case of easy to learn, difficult to master? Read the full article: Cardboard Mutilation: Small World Series
Review - posted by Trash on Tue 25 September 2012, 06:40:09Tags: AGEOD; Alea Jacta Est
Ageod's Alea Jacta Est has been released and our new reviewer Cenobyte put on his sandals to put this Roman era wargame through the paces.
Another interesting change from previous AGEOD games was done for the supply system. Instead of supply being produced, stocked and distributed in certain structures on the map, supply in AJE is never stocked inside a province or distributed to other provinces. Instead, forces in a province have to resupply every turn from the supply produced in the province they are in. Therefore, building a dedicated supply chain to supply large armies is very difficult (it can only be done by manually reshuffling supply units from supply-rich provinces to your armies in the field). If your troops become unsupplied through some unfortunate events, the effects are very severe. All in all, the changed supply system makes the maintenance of your forces much harder and limits your ability to field large armies.Amateurs talk tactics while professionals talk logistics? Check out our review to learn more.
Read the full article: Alea Jacta Est gets a Tacticular Cancer Review