Tim James

Could One Finger Death Punch be the brawler for you?

, | Games

If you read Quarter to Three, you like old horror movies and card games and the original version of Majesty. That means you are probably terrible at the action genre known as brawlers, or beat ’em ups. You may be so out of touch that you think they are called fighting games. I’m here to tell you about a brawler even you can enjoy.

After the jump, destroy hordes of faceless goons without lifting more than one finger Continue reading →

Unity of Command: Red Turn: Tim vs. Bruce, part two

, | Game diaries

Bruce, playing the cowardly Soviets, is trying to slink his way into the liberated cities of Zhitomir and Korsun. So far, his vast advantage in brainwashed farmers and sheet metal vehicles has done little to help him take these two objectives. Tim, playing the noble Axis, with a strong tradition of discipline and excellence, is putting the finishing touches on a dramatic counterattack that is sure to be praised for decades.

Yes, there are advantages to being the one who writes the intro.

After the jump, Bruce gets me back. Continue reading →

Unity of Command: Red Turn: Tim vs Bruce

, | Game diaries

This game diary exists to make a joke about the name Red Turn. This multiplayer report exists to make a pun on Tom vs. Bruce.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. I enjoy reading everything Bruce Geryk writes about wargames. I’ve wanted him to write something about Unity of Command since it was released. I knew that if I challenged him to a game, he’d be unable to resist.

We’re playing the Korsun Pocket scenario. It’s a dynamic battle of encirclement and counterattack. Bruce, playing the Soviets, will use his superior numbers to cut off as much of my army as he can. As the Axis, I’ll use my veteran armored units to punish overzealous attacks. The scenario states that the Soviets need more than 150 points to achieve victory. But victory points start ticking down quickly, and the Axis can cut into that margin by taking their own objectives.

Click any of the images for an expanded view of the battlefield. Check the first image for the names of the objectives.

After the jump, maneuvering begins Continue reading →

Unity of Command: Red Turn: designing the wargame

, | Game diaries

When I first learned about Red Turn, I was surprised to hear the scenarios were designed by a member of the community: Pieter de Jong, better known to most wargamers as ComradeP. And as a new wargamer, I’m still intrigued by the history behind the games. Like art appreciation, it feeds back into my appreciation of the game. So I decided to go right to the source and ask Pieter a few questions.

After the jump, add some perspective to Red Turn. Continue reading →

Unity of Command: Red Turn: Gotterdammerung and schwere Panzer

, | Game diaries

Red Turn feels like a late-war Eastern Front game. The distances and the size of the armies in each scenario are mind-boggling. The scenario pictured above, To The Dniester, has 816 steps between the two sides. I had to manage multiple fronts in many of the scenarios. Often the battles began with Soviet units stacked 4 or 5 deep against thin German lines. Playing the campaign feels like the multiyear ordeal that it describes. I spent as much time on Red Turn — if not more — than I did on Stalingrad Campaign. Officially, 2×2 Games calls this DLC. That merely embarrasses every other game developer that releases DLC. They’d probably release three challenge maps, a few new costumes, and charge 1600 Ruble Points for it. Well, it does sound pretty great when I put it like that.

During the hefty campaign in Red Turn, I picked up on two themes. One was the tipping point I noticed partway through the campaign. After that, the Soviet advance felt inevitable. Or was it? The other theme was how the Axis still had some punch left. Nimble veteran armored divisions impeded my plans at every turn. It took a lot of work to eject tough units from key positions.

After the jump, play along for a history lesson. Continue reading →

Unity of Command: Red Turn: game diary on a website

, | Game diaries

Developer 2×2 Games deserves an award for the most literal name for an expansion pack ever conceived. Unity of Command: Red Turn is a 17-scenario campaign for the Soviet Union in World War II. It’s the sequel to Unity of Command: Stalingrad Campaign, which I called an excellent introduction for new wargamers (because I am one).

Something bothers me right away about Red Turn. At the end of Stalingrad Campaign, the Soviets go on a long campaign to drive the Germans back from Stalingrad. Now the Soviets get to take another huge turn again. The Axis only get two measly scenarios this time around. That hardly seems fair. I suppose Germany must get two turns in a row later in the war. I’m not sure.

No matter. The most important thing about a new wargame is what the new unit icons look like. Red Turn adds a few attractive new models to show the progress of the war. Let’s take a look.

After the jump, feast your eyes on these novelty-sized upper torsos. Continue reading →

Unity of Command: redo history

, | Game diaries

There’s no undo button in Unity of Command. If I move a unit accidentally, I can’t take it back.
The developers say they’re working to add this feature. In the meantime, I can always redo the
scenario. I’m starting to understand how that’s part of the appeal.

After the jump, wargaming’s relationship with history Continue reading →

Unity of Command: supply goes awry

, | Game diaries

Unity of Command isn’t just a cute game that’s easy to pick up. It also uses an historically relevant supply system that significantly affects gameplay. Without fresh supplies each turn, my units lose combat effectiveness. Even the lowliest Russian peasants can defeat once-mighty panzer divisions that have been cut off too long from supply.

After the jump, we’re not playing Panzer General anymore Continue reading →

Unity of Command: unbalanced history

, | Game diaries

Most games start the campaign slowly. They introduce concepts and situations at a deliberate pace to keep you from being overwhelmed. Unity of Command, on the other hand, starts with the Second Battle of Kharkov (pictured). It’s listed as a “hard” scenario. Wait a minute, that’s not fair!

After the jump, German high command could learn something from videogame design Continue reading →

Mass Effect 3 ends your story

, | Game reviews

I’ve always felt left out of the Mass Effect series. Whenever someone mentions it’s one of their favorite series of all time, I wonder why I can’t enjoy it as much as they do. Mass Effect 3 lets me get my foot in that door, but it also shows me why I’ll never get all the way through the door.

After the jump, some things to finally get excited about Continue reading →