Wargamer's Corner

PWAlessi wrote:

Attack at Dawn: North Africa is a new wargame on Steam that dropped today. I was watching a let's play of it and it looked pretty cool. You can play in real time or wego mode.

If anyone grabs it, I'd love to hear impressions. My plate is pretty full right now so I probably won't jump in until closer to the holidays.

I too am interested in this.

PWAlessi wrote:

Attack at Dawn: North Africa is a new wargame on Steam that dropped today. I was watching a let's play of it and it looked pretty cool. You can play in real time or wego mode.

If anyone grabs it, I'd love to hear impressions. My plate is pretty full right now so I probably won't jump in until closer to the holidays.

I have this now and will be checking it out over the next week or so. I'm curious to compare the real time and wego modes. Such a sucker for North Africa I am.

EDIT: Just took a 15-minute break during lunch to complete the first tutorial. Initial impressions are strong. The UI is love at first sight. It feels like a game that has its act together.

Thanks, GB, keep the rest of us addicts informed as you go.

Robear wrote:

Thanks, GB, keep the rest of us addicts informed as you go.

Will do! I'm hoping to have more initial impressions tonight and a video out tomorrow/Friday.

Fire away with questions if you'd like.

(Transparency Disclaimer: It's a review copy.)

Here are some thoughts after about 4 hours of play with Attack at Dawn...

- So far this feels like a high quality operational game that rewards good military tactics.

- I love the attention to detail in the user interface. I've found this a quick game to get into. The tutorials explain the basics, but gameplay is quite intuitive and streamlined for a relatively complex game, with things like command/control and supply in play.

- Hesitate to say too much about the AI yet, but so far so good. Playing the 3rd tutorial, however, I like what I'm seeing from the AI defense (playing on normal). If you don't attack well, this game will punish you. I lost my first attempt on the 3rd tutorial with a poorly conceived attack, then barely won the second time with a much better plan. So yeah, the AI so far on the defense seems to have a good idea what it's doing. I want to see it on the offensive before drawing too many conclusions.

- I've been using the Real Time movement for the tutorials, but am thinking that for larger scenarios the WeGo system might be better. Very much a thinking game, not a reflex twitch type experience. Movement feels similar to Crusader Kings 2 and 3.

- Really like the scenarios and branching campaign opportunities.

- Scenario editor and creator is a nice touch. Maps are HUGE, so lots of potential here.

- Multiplayer beta will be interesting to explore.

(I don't want to pimp my own videos, but I've got a 23-minute overview video up on YT accessible from the YT link in my signature.)

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Here are some thoughts after about 4 hours of play with Attack at Dawn...

- So far this feels like a high quality operational game that rewards good military tactics.

- I love the attention to detail in the user interface. I've found this a quick game to get into. The tutorials explain the basics, but gameplay is quite intuitive and streamlined for a relatively complex game, with things like command/control and supply in play.

- Hesitate to say too much about the AI yet, but so far so good. Playing the 3rd tutorial, however, I like what I'm seeing from the AI defense (playing on normal). If you don't attack well, this game will punish you. I lost my first attempt on the 3rd tutorial with a poorly conceived attack, then barely won the second time with a much better plan. So yeah, the AI so far on the defense seems to have a good idea what it's doing. I want to see it on the offensive before drawing too many conclusions.

- I've been using the Real Time movement for the tutorials, but am thinking that for larger scenarios the WeGo system might be better. Very much a thinking game, not a reflex twitch type experience. Movement feels similar to Crusader Kings 2 and 3.

- Really like the scenarios and branching campaign opportunities.

- Scenario editor and creator is a nice touch. Maps are HUGE, so lots of potential here.

- Multiplayer beta will be interesting to explore.

(I don't want to pimp my own videos, but I've got a 23-minute overview video up on YT accessible from the YT link in my signature.)

Thanks for the update Zilla! I've subscribed to your YT channel too. I'll take a look at the overview video tomorrow.

PWAlessi wrote:

Thanks for the update Zilla! I've subscribed to your YT channel too. I'll take a look at the overview video tomorrow.

Sure thing, thanks!

I'm hoping to start a campaign this weekend, I might try the Allies because I want to see how the Axis execute an attack. So far though, this feels like good quality.

The only little thing that I've noticed is that because of the 2-unit stacking limit sometimes my units will just cancel their orders and sit there. It can be hard to notice that with a bunch of units moving around, and it's messed up my attacks a couple of times. It'd be nice if there were a notification or visual clue somewhere that your troops just said, "Screw it, we're stopping."

If anything, at this point, I feel like the game much be a bit too challenging. I have to play more to draw conclusions, but if you don't coordinate your attack, you really get beat up. Artillery, air, good combinations of ground forces win the day. Run your armor into anti-tank forces, and they will get hammered.

Steam Sale Danger!

War in the East 2 is ... on sale. I've resisted buying it for over 4 hours now. I'm almost home free.

Maybe wait and see how much it’s discounted in the Matrix sale coming up? Or has that already started? You can get a Steam key from them if you buy directly.

Matrix sale is going on now until Monday June 27th. 30% off across the board. Unfortunately I expect to get my 50% Matrix coupon later that week so I won't get to double-dip. I have eyes on DC Ardennes and Operational Art of War IV at the moment.

I bought and refunded Steel Divisions 2 over the weekend. Too much RTS and not enough scenario realism for me. Plus it seems to have a "measured with a micrometer, marked with chalk, cut with an axe" pointless level of detail- it knows the difference between PzKpfw IV Ausf D and Ausf E, but in the game you're telling "tanks I grabbed" to go to "about this place".

Unity of Command II is $9.89 on the Steam sale, the lowest price that I've seen.

Natus wrote:

Unity of Command II is $9.89 on the Steam sale, the lowest price that I've seen.

I keep hearing how good and approachable it is. Very tempted to pick it up.

I've finally created some time to play more Attack at Dawn, and thought I'd share some updated and new thoughts.

- I've seen a bit more of the AI now, and at a minimum it feels quite competent. It moves aggressively and can coordinate attacks. Defensively, it seems to play well, taking up good positions and using its strength to make things hard for you on offense. If you don't attack well, this game will punish you.

- I've been using a mix of the WeGo movement system and Real Time movement. WeGo is precise but takes more time. The RealTime movement system is good for coving a lot of ground, and from what I've seen of the scenarios so far, you will be covering a good bit of ground in some of them. The maps are huge! It's great to be able to switch between the two movement systems mid-scenario so easily.

- At the moment, you only get one rolling campaign save that doesn't allow you to replay scenarios. The designers are working on changing this, to allow saves and replays.

- I still need to explore more, but the scenarios feel, for lack of a better term, very historical, and it feels that getting an ahistorical result in good number of them is very hard. I've played the first campaign scenario as both sides now, for example, and I'm not sure I see a way to win as the Allies, at least on Normal difficulty. This isn't aimed as a criticism of the game so much as interesting design decision, and I'm confident that some of the pivotal campaign battles won't have a one-sided feel to them. (Aside: the developers are working on rebalancing one scenario.) Important side note: Losing a scenario doesn't prevent you in many cases from getting an optimal campaign ending.

- As much as I love the interface, I feel like the unit movement system that controls the human player's forces could use a bit of tweaking. Units seem to abandon movement orders if they are ordered to go into a hex that is beyond stacking limits, which makes sense I guess, but this can be hard to see as the player, as you're not given visual feedback why or notification when this happens. Especially with divisional (multi-unit) movement orders, this can create situations where a couple of units get left behind and are suddenly out of command, or an entire division stops. If you're not paying attention, this can create problems. The answer, I think, is to play at a more granular level, which is kind of the level you need to play at with this type of a game anyway, but the group movement system is so appealing for those "move this division 200 miles north" types of situations that it'd be nice if it were a bit more reliable.

Bottom line: Still liking this a lot, and want to play more. The game captures the logistics of North African combat in an elegant way, and you get a sense of the massive geographic scale of some of these operations.

Yeah I like what I have played and agree with everything you said (but much better than I could say it ).

I do kind of hate the "no replay scenarios in the campaign", cannot wait for that to get patched in.

To augment what you said about the movement system, sometime I lose stuff in the mass of things going on, it can be overwhelming. I find myself switching to WeGo a lot because I can better make sense of what is happening and catch stuck units. But it makes the game more sloggy and somehow counter to the fluidity of combat (for lack of a better term) that I think the game is trying to go for.

Still it is scratching that good wargaming itch though.

tboon wrote:

To augment what you said about the movement system, sometime I lose stuff in the mass of things going on, it can be overwhelming. I find myself switching to WeGo a lot because I can better make sense of what is happening and catch stuck units. But it makes the game more sloggy and somehow counter to the fluidity of combat (for lack of a better term) that I think the game is trying to go for.

I find myself using the RealTime system for covering long stretches of movement, and then shifting to the WeGO system when combat starts. I feel like success requires good precision with attacks, and like you say, the RealTime system just makes it too easy to overlook stuck units that can cascade into bigger problems. It's not a game breaker for me, but I hope they'll look at giving better feedback when a unit's movement breaks down. As it is, I feel like they've got some cool streamlining features that you really can't rely on yet, so that makes me feel like I should play at that more granular level.

I'm not sure I've played a wargame on such a large map before, either. It really drives home the logistics in the theater. I constantly overextended my supply lines as the Axis. As the Allies, I rendered a couple of tank regiments useless by pushing them too far away from their supply. Ran out of gas, then got cut off before resupply, and overrun by the German advance. Sorry about that, men!

I think the historical emphasis of the game is my favorite part so far.