Well, this week turned out to be way busier than I expected. I won’t waste too much time with my usual intro – a lot has happened that you’ll want to be brought up to speed about (and some items of select interest), so let’s get to it.
Meanwhile, in the world of wargaming…
Unity of Command II Announced
This is more of a technicality because we’ve known about UoC2 for a while now. I’ve always found it strange when something gets ‘announced’ long after the fact it’s generally been ‘known’, but videogame PR is a strange beast. That said, when we posted up about the Close Combat beta the other day, I did see some people comment they didn’t even know the project existed (and that’s also been known about for well over a year), so these things do have their uses.
Anyway: Unity of Command II now has a shiny new Steam page and an announcement trailer, complete with actual in-game footage as opposed to stills, which is nice. I’m not actually a fan of the logo they settled with, but there you go. Release date is currently set for ‘Q3 2019’, which we’re told is quite doable and the developers go into a bit more detail in their most recent dev diary.
Command: Desert Storm Announced
Another announcement came from Matrix Games late last night came in the form of a new stand-alone expansion/DLC for Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations. Command: Desert Storm takes the action to 1990 and the First Gulf War as Iraq invades Kuwait and threatens the west’s oil supply.
Along with plenty of scenarios covering the key moments of the war, there will also be several ‘what-if’ scenarios that will let you test your mettle against unexpected challenges. As before, Desert Storm can either be purchased as a stand-alone experience, or as a DLC add-on to any of your existing Command purchases (other than LIVE scenarios). The full feature list is as follow:
- 14 campaign scenarios plus a modern-day Israel-vs-Iran scenario written by Wayne Stiles Retired USAF veteran and CMANO community star.
- Using CMANO’s acclaimed continuous real-time simulation engine with new wrinkles in the realm of air & naval warfare.
- The complete arsenal of modern warfare at your disposal: Stealth fighters, cruise missiles, tactical air & attack fighters, strike bombers, close support aircraft, heavy bombers, surface ships & submarines and even hypothetical platforms like the naval F-117X, the A-12 Avenger II stealth naval bomber and the radically modernized Iowa-class battleship as BBG-1.
- Bonus 2019 standalone scenario: Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear forces.
Home of Wargamers LIVE
In other Matrix/Slitherine news, they will be hosting a ‘live’ Home of Wargamers event on Twitch next Monday Match 4th, at 6:00pm GMT. It will be a one-hour long event with Slitherine developers and from the publishing team and will feature:
- News regarding Close Combat: The Bloody First
- A first look at the new Battlestar Galactica Deadlock DLC
- A brand new announcement regarding an unknown future title coming from Slitherine.
We’ll be writing up the all the news as soon as we can, so keep an eye on the websites come Monday night.
Steel Division 2 Gets Historical Battles
You know, given my suspicion over how poorly Steel Division 1 performed and the fact that Eugen have now gone down the self-publishing route, I was a little bit sceptical about how big a scope Steel Division 2 would be able to achieve. They keep surprising me so far though, so I guess it depends whether all this breadth of content will be given the care and attention it deserves.
The latest update to come out of the studio is the announcement of six Historical Battles. These will be bespoke scenarios covering key engagements that took place during Operation Bagration and will come with pre-set Divisions/Battlegroups (with perhaps some limited choices regarding force composition). They can be played Solo, Co-Op or in Head-to-Head multiplayer for up to six players (So anything from 2v1 to 3v3). These are more than just skirmish matches with pre-set forces – each one is supposed to depict tough engagements, so they should prove a decent challenge.
Historical Battles were only introduced into Steel Division 1 via the Back to Hell DLC, but they must have proven pretty popular for Eugen to work some into SD2 for launch. The six battles that will be included are:
- Autobahn zur Hölle (June 23rd, 1944)
- Bobr (June 26th, 1944)
- Krupki (June 28th, 1944)
- Pleshchenitsy (July 1st, 1944)
- Lenina (July 1st, 1944)
- Naratch Lake (July 4th, 1944)
We don’t want this article to get too bloated, so we recommend checking out the full Dev Diary as they provide some extra details as to what each battle was about and how they’ve set it up.
Quartermaster General WW2
Some token tabletop news from me this week. I’m a big fan of Ian Brody’s Quartermaster General series of board-wargames. They’re on the more abstract side and card-driven, but they always provide a really thematic, tense, strategic experience and provide for some fun evenings with even the minimum required players.
The game that started it all, Quartermaster General (sometimes known as Quartermaster General WW2) is getting a 2nd Edition via publisher Ares Games (which will now actually be known as Quartermaster General WW2). You can read the full announcement here.
I managed to get in touch with Mr. Brody to ask him some quick questions regarding the nature of the second edition, and here’s a summary of what he said to me:
- He’s formally changing the victory conditions to either require a 30-point lead, or whoever has the most points after 20 rounds. The ‘Hold two capitals’ condition and the 400-point win condition have been scrapped. These new rules were actually brought in via the Air Marshals expansion but will now be integrated into 2e.
- A brand new rule regarding ‘decking out’ is also coming in. If you run out of cards in your deck, you no longer have to discard cards from your hand before then losing VPs. You now go straight to losing Victory Points and whatever cards you have left in your hand remain, giving ‘milled’ players more agency in the late-game, even though they start losing points quicker.
- The ‘Reallocate Resources’ Optional Rule (You may discard 4 cards to take a specific card from a restricted list of cards from your draw deck into your hand) is being made official as well.
- The 2nd edition will also add three new cards, numerous changes to existing cards, map changes and an extra Naval piece for the US Faction.
“All in all, this version reflects years of reflection upon the first edition and I know it’s a better game,” Ian commented to me in his email. In addition to the new elements, I also asked Mr. Brody regarding how the existing 1st Edition expansions will integrate with the new editions.
Essentially, he designed 2nd Edition with 2nd Edition versions of the expansions in mind (although it’s not confirmed they will be made at this point), but 1e Air Marshal more or less works, and Alternate Histories works with some tweaking. The Prelude expansion was designed with 2nd Edition in mind, so is fully compatible.
And now for something completely different…
“What? There’s more? What could you possibly have left to talk about!?” I hear you cry. Well I like to expand on the things we cover from time to time, and we were contacted regarding a new book release that may be of interest to some of you.
Authors Cliff Lord & Athol Yates have published the first volume in a new book series looking at the history of the Gulf States’ armed forces, titled The Military and Police Forces of the Gulf States: The Trucial States and United Arab Emirates 1951-1980.
Vol. 1 mainly looks at para-military, police & regular forces of the UAE, and we’re given to understand this is a subject that’s yet to be covered extensively within the realm of military history. The next two volumes will look at Oman, and then Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. If you’re interested in post-WW2 Gulf military history and how these ex-colonial nations have modelled their armies, this may be worth checking out.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! We’re done now – enjoy your weekends, and we’ll see you on Monday.