Flash of Steel header image 2

Three Moves Ahead Episode 64: Forgotten Fronts

May 12th, 2010 by Troy Goodfellow · 25 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


Just Troy, Julian and Rob again as they ad hoc a podcast about types of games and settings that they would like to see in the strategy arena. Is there a really good Tolkien strategy game? Where is our fort game? Can we fill in our history a little more? Pack the comment section with your own suggestions.

Listen here.
RSS here.
Subscribe on iTunes.


25 Comments so far ↓

  • Hundred

    The thirty years war. I can’t think of a single game covering this.

  • Otis

    I just finished (literally, the final exam was today) a course called “The Age of Pericles”. With that on my mind when I listened, all I could think of was having a mostly political game about putting together a coalition of Greek city-states in time to stop the Persian invasion.

    @hundred: anything about the European religious wars could be interesting. Does anything other than boardgames cover them?

  • frags

    1) Steam punk

    2) A future mech based strategy game(NOT Mech Commander)

    3) An off world civ game. Firaxis, you KNOW we WANT Alpha Centauri 2.

  • Tomasz

    A lovecraftian godgame.

    Something based on Neal Asher’s Polity novels

    Australia vs New Zealand Wargame smackdown

  • Wader

    The game that Rob was designing around fortifications sounds like a reverse game of Gratuitous Space Battles, which in my head sounds fantastic.

    You could have a limited budget, as in GSB, but instead of mobile ships, you are laying out fortifications. It wouldnt have the ability to do pvp like GSB, but you could make an army generator that you could challenge your friends to build forts for…

  • belgerog

    Awesome episode, Rob’s fortification game would be great. I’d love to see more Tolkien strategy games, and even though I really like the LOTR movies, I’d prefer games based more on paintings from Jon Howe and Alan Lee.

    @frags Steam punk would be great. Maybe a Warmachine game.

  • mutait

    Great podcast. Yeah, I’d be all over Rob’s fort keeper game or Troy’s India game.

    I’m probably one of few who probably thinks WW I has enormous untapped strategy gaming potential even on a smaller scale. I’m not talking so much about the infamous set piece, mass assault slaughterfests (Somme, etc.) but maybe games focusing on the interesting smaller unit tactics developed in the late war by both sides to try and break the deadlock.

    I agree with Julian that despite the flood of WW II, they’ve actually been quite narrow in scope and subject matter. Now and then something truly innovative like Achtung Panzer or the Panther Games products (the upcoming Battles of the Bulge game) come along and remind me how much WW II strat game developers play follow the leader. And I’ll continue to moan about the absence of any good recent squad level tactical WW II game until someone actually makes one. Such a game seems to be on the wishlists of so many strategy gamers, I still can’t believe no one has tackled it in a satisfying way (I do have hopes for the revised Lock and Load, if it ever materializes).

  • Andrew Doull

    Great podcast but…

    There’s this 5 minute section during the fort discussion where I kept expecting someone to mention Dwarf Fortress; and no one does.

    No love for DF at Flash of Steel? Troy – I know you’ve mentioned playing Dungeon Crawl. I’d really like to hear a discussion of the cross-over between the roguelike and strategy genres. I like to think of roguelikes on one level as single avatar strategy games. If your regular guests don’t know enough, I’ll come on and defend the genre.

  • skshrews

    Agree with the Thirty Years War.

    You would think that Cardinal Richelieu, Gustavus Adolphus, musketeers, cavaliers would attract a lot of gaming interest, but apparently not.

    There have been boardgames covering individual battles (I think SPI had a series that included Nordlingen and Rocroi), and a single boardgame abstractly simulating the strategic war, but nothing on PC.

    I even sent an email to AGEOD, trying to prod them to apply their game system to the Thirty Years War, but they went with the SevenYears War instead.

  • Quinten

    I don’t think the Pacific Front has been touched by any tactical video games. There was Pacific General, but that is more operational level. I think an Island Hopping game would be good. I still would really like a tactical game like Combat Mission or Close Combat in that theater.

  • moromete

    Mods to the rescue! Julian’s need can be slated with The Fourth Age mod for Rome: Total War. It’s a full conversion which manages to capture the epic feel of Tolkien and patches over most of the issues with the TW mechanics. Official site is here:


  • Mauricio

    Great podcast, especially for it being a last-minute topic.

    Concerning Hegemony, you said you were not expecting it to be a “huge hit” to even sell in the “thousands.” Really? Don’t you think it would sell thousands, or is the market really that small? What is a “huge hit” for an indie strategy game? (like this or Gettysburg)

  • Jimmy Brown

    This was an interesting podcast. I enjoyed it very much.

    I think an interesting game would be to take the role of Alfred the Great. It would need to involve more than just the battles. The player would need to build up the resources and infrastructure of the kingdom and improve them through trying to bring a modicum of prosperity, all without aggravating the nobles and the Church.

    Are there any games about guerrilla warfare? Something like the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan or Castro’s takeover in Cuba.

    I agree with Troy that a Babylon 5 strategy game would be great. I’ve wanted one for a long time.

  • rsm

    Chinese and Japanese Historical games that either don’t look like Shogun the board game, or aren’t in Chinese or Japanese. I can’t think of anything really good recently anyways. I’d settle for another samurai strategy/RPG after Sword of the Samurai. I also liked Shogun: Total War, but it’s badly bugged and doesn’t play nice with my computer.

    Historical warfare in SE Asia. (Pick a time, not done)

    Vikings – On a trader/raider model. Would work well in the context of that Alfred the Great game. Also the Christianization of Norway, or anything out of the Icelandic sagas. Family/Kinship stuff, kind of like the ‘managing your royal line’ game model Troy has mentioned, and which is present in ‘Sword of the Samurai’ as well.

  • Astromarine

    For Lord of the Rings, just get Games Workshop to license their War of the Ring game, it’s absolutely fantastic.

  • Zer0s

    rsm: You might wanna give Romance of the Three Kingdoms (I have played version number XI for PC) a try. It’s a turn based game that tries to mix politics, bureaucracy and officers, with military. It’s complex but not that complex and it has a small tactical battling component, although done in the same screen as the rest of the game.

    It’s based around various stages of chinese history (which I don’t know very well, but one of the scenarios I’m playing has to do with the yellow turbans or however it’s said in english) and it looks pretty nice.

  • Bill

    Re: The Conqueror’s Trilogy by Timothy Zahn – I’m shocked anyone else read it. I’ve been a fan of anything by Zahn for quite a while and that set of books was probably his hardest to find. After looking in every bookstore and used bookstore in the area, I think I ended up going with a used reseller on Amazon. Anyway, I enjoyed them and could see a similar setting being interesting.

    As for more specific stuff, I don’t mind the sci-fi ‘take over the universe’ stuff that was mentioned in the podcast, but I’d like to see a game that’s focused more on the military side side of things rather than managing an entire empire. One of the earlier podcasts had the guy who made War Plan Pacific (I think?) and he mentioned that his next game is going to be set in space, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

  • Ian Bowes (spelk)

    Has there been much in the way of strategy titles based around Cromwell, or the English Civil War?

    I would recommend Rob looks into a game called Nexus the Jupiter Incident if he wants to be at the commander level of Odama in big space ships worrying about fighter crews and landing parties. Its a very overlooked storied and mission based “Big Spaceship” tactical game.

    I’d like to see more strategy games fulfilling my mobster fantasies. Years ago we had Gangsters and Gangsters 2, but it really needs a modern update with more interesting ways of killing people. In terms of strategy the Mafia console titles leave a lot to be desired.

  • Oak

    I’d pay a king’s ransom for a modern update of Gangsters. There have been similar-seeming games released since (Gangland? Mob Rule?) but I never bothered. Didn’t seem to be a mistake, either, if the reviews were to be believed.

  • Gunner

    My two would the Thirty Year’s War (as others have mentioned) or anything on non-ancient Mediterranean warfare. The 15th, 16th, and 17th century struggle over the Mediterranean between the east and west is without a doubt a hugely interesting area of history that has been almost entirely “forgotten” by both games and history in general.

  • whatshisname

    Apart from The Fourth Age for Rome:TW (moromete mentioned) there is also the “Third Age Total War” Mod for Medieval 2:TW. It beats the hell out of the original game as well as anything SEGA has released under the TW license since then.
    In my opinion it is the best Tolkien themed “game” at the moment,
    especially because the modders try to remain true to Tolkiens works and lore as much as possible (making it interesting to Tolkien-fans) while using the popular imagery from the movies (making it attractive for fans of the movies and the broader audience).

  • Alex2000

    Troy (?) mentioned Ancient Greece. I would go back even farther in time, to the mid to late Bronze age and include Anatolia. We are talking 1600 BC to 1000 BC. You have city states Troy, Tiryns of the Great Walls, the rise of empires like Golden Mycenae, and the Hittites.

    It is a fascinating period largely ignored for the later Roman, and Alexander the great era.

  • Seamus H

    Agree with many of the above. I also think WW1 largely uncovered. I’d also like to see something set around the Byzantine Empire’s struggles with the Goths in Italy, the Venetians, the Viking/Russians and the various waves from the East that eventually swept them aside. Lots of scope there!

  • Ruskov

    As “whatshisname” say,the mod for Medieval 2:Kingdoms ,“Third Age Total War” is what Julian want.3000-4000 units on battle map is common,and even bigger than in the book. How this was not mentioned in the podcast is beyond me.:)
    Great show,greetings from Bulgaria

  • mrEvans

    Interplay’s Castles (which is available on gog.com) allows you to design/build/defend your own castles. I have not played Castles 2. But they may be worth a look while you are waiting for a fort builder game. Castles also included BBC video on castle design theory–not sure if videos are included in the gog.com version or not.