A player's aid for any game of the Tactical Combat Series

What you need to know about most units on the battlefield

Me and Stephane are currently learning the TCS game system, designed by The Gamers and now published by Multi-Man Publishing. This is the kind of wargame you have to study a bit before seating comfortably on saddle, to say the least. The rules take into account a whole bunch of features, such as the height of buildings and trees, the firer and target sizes, the time spent to deploy or get ready to move again, and so on. Everything is there in a way you can literally see things happening, at a slow but realistic pace.

To help us remembering the subtle differences between the various units, we made a player's aid sheet, called TCS Unit Characteristics, largely based on Tom Påhlsson's Unit Type Summary. It covers the morale, spotting range, type of firing, move/fire change costs and other unit specific attributes. You should appreciate it until you get to know everything by heart. We are using this sheet a lot while playing our firtst scenario of Canadian Crucible: Brigade Fortress at Norrey, a simulation of the Canadian defense of Norrey on June 8 against the spearheaded of the 12th SS Panzer Division.

By Michel Ouimet and Stéphane Tanguay

Karelia '44 player's aid

The subtleties of the 1944 Russian-Finnish summer battle

The Standard Combat Series (SCS), from Multi-Man Publishing, depicts large and mid-size battles at the operational level using quite simple mechanisms. Karelia '44 belongs to the "smallest" category in the series, so it serves as a good introductory game to the SCS system.

The learning curve is smooth. After you read the 8-page SCS generic rules, you continue with the similarly sized Karelia '44 game specific rules. Right after you'll be playing your first game. Then, after some turns, you'll notice numerous differences between each side abilities during the artillery barrage, movement and exploitation phases. Struck by these uncertainties, Stéphane Tanguay — one of the best rules gardian — drew up a table showing the different actions allowed during each phase. This player's aid will quickly become your new best friend!

By Michel Ouimet and Stéphane Tanguay

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm reaches maturity

Perfect opportunity

The last update of Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm (FCRS) gives me a good excuse to reconnect with this unique game. FCRS was first released in October 2013, but its developers wanted to give a special thanks to the fans with a Player’s Edition (published at the end of 2014) that underlines their contribution. From a strict content point of view, the Player’s Edition is just an average update, but the intent behind the release makes sense.

There is some meat to sink your teeth into, with the more relevant parts being the better readability and color rendering of all maps, and more importantly the new "sudden death" setting that allows the player to continue a game beyond the normal ending threshold; this is triggered when any of the two opposing armies lose 70% of their initial strength. The update provides a new scenario (Eyes, Ears and Teeth) and a new campaign (Wolves) made of 10 scenarios playable from the NATO side*. Players will also notice well thought-out adjustments to the game engine and user interface, certainly enjoyable but not revolutionary. However, the essential thing is that Flashpoint Campaigns are alive and slowly but surely making their way toward maturity. This series is led by a small team that dedicates all their spare time to their baby, while maintaining a strong organic relationship with the gaming community.

*  The Player’s Edition includes three other new scenarios and one more campaign, designed by passionate fans, that were not in the initial game.

The Player’s Edition map of the "Thors Hammer" scenario (top)
is a lot more readable than the previous one (bottom).

Dice Rolls: player's aid for LnL Heroes of Stalingrad

Dice Rolls: player's aid for LnL Heroes of Stalingrad

The Lock 'n Load tactic system seems easy to learn because everything is so concrete: I move, you fire, and we roll dice. What I find a bit hard to handle is the variety of needs that the dice are used for, and not always in the same manner. You have doubt? Take a look at the Dice Rolls player's aid we drawn up, me and Stéphane Tanguay, one of the Lock 'n Load world experts.

The player's aid describe the dice uses in LnL Heroes of Stalingrad video game, which is about the same as in LnL Not One Step Back boardgame expansion. It shows how are obtained "hit", "shaken" and "destroyed" results, but doesn't give all the details about the dice modifiers. With its help, at least you'll understand where are going all those flying dice on the screen while playing Heroes of Stalingrad. Enjoy!

By Michel Ouimet and Stéphane Tanguay

Brief interview with Mark H. Walker

As most of us know, Mark Walker is the lead designer of all Lock 'n Load board games. He also directed the development of Heroes of Stalingrad, the first video game based on Lock 'n Load tactical system (see our French review on wargamer.fr). Here are some of his words about this recent experience.

Why did you choose Band of Heroes / Not One Step Back instead of another LnL series for your first video game?

Mark H. Walker: Band of Heroes has been a very popular LnL game for us. And for whatever reason, gamers always seem to be excited about the Eastern Front of the Second World War. So Heroes of Stalingrad seemed to be a good choice.

Da Vinci’s Art of War preview

An almost perfect small strategy game is coming on iPad. The game mechanics come from a board game produced by Fantasy Flight Games in early 2011. Castles to build in Europe in the 16th century, war machines to develop — from notebooks of Leonardo — territories to conquer, those are parts of a light user-friendly gameplay based on management and combat, presented in an opulent decor.

Da Vinci's Art of War: Settling down
I decide to settle down in Utrecht, a region bordering the sea.
It provides 30 florins and 1 infantry unit per turn. Not bad…

Detour through the Renaissance

The artwork pleases from the very first moment. The Italian Renaissance style is applied to all game components, including animation during players actions and fighting.