There are a lot more people on the roads of Afghanistan since I was there about a year ago. And by Afghanistan, I mean Afghanistan ’11, the brilliant hearts-and-minds strategy game that explores the overlapping roles of combat and nation-building. I was just poking around in the new Royal Marines DLC, which adds British units from a time when Brexit sounded like the name of a wheat cracker. It also adds cars. Lot of cars. It’s bumper to bumper out there. Whose cars are these? What are they doing out and about while I’m ferrying soldiers, dropping airstrikes, refueling helicopters, and trying to patch up another leaking water tank for some village that won’t even tell me where the opium is at.
This page announcing the DLC says that some cars are carrying car bombs, and I can intercept them by setting up roadblocks. Eventually I can recruit local police to man the roadblocks. The Afghanis trying to get someplace in their cars can be hassled by locals instead of foreign soldiers. I wasn’t sure how all this worked, so after Alpha Company spent a few turns loitering around in front of concrete barricades, I told them to pack it in. They went back to base. Meanwhile, my political capital had plummeted because I’d forgotten how to play. The game over screen came along shortly thereafter. To the manual! Unfortunately, none of this is in the manual yet. In fact, the manual hasn’t been updated to include any of Afghanistan ’11’s new features. There are plenty of them, starting with convoys, then MOABs, then new rules for politics, combat, garrisons, villages, special forces, and now new UK units, car bombs, and so forth. Afghanistan ’11 has gotten plenty of updates, including a bunch of new content. Yet the manual still says “this feature is coming soon” in the place I went to remind myself how convoys work. Convoys were added over a year ago. As far as I can tell, you won’t find any documentation for anything released after the game first came out. Post-release support should include reminding guys like me how to play when we come back after a long absence. A couple of tersely worded pinned posts in the Steam forum don’t cut it.
The Royal Marines DLC comes out September 6th for the PC. It will be available for the iOS version at an unspecified later date. Between now and then, I’ll be trying my best to figure it all out.