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Slow summer for strategy? Not quite

June 25th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

This list at Review Outpost suggests that the next six weeks will be pretty bare for PC Games in general and strategy games in particular. In August we get Stalingrad and Clan Wars as well as a new tycoon game. Battlestations: Midway is billed as a strategy game, but most of the screens seem very action oriented. After August, things pick up. But it could be a dry summer.

Thanks to Matrix Games and Shrapnel Gmaes, though, there are other options.

Crown of Glory has just gone gold. It is the first of three Napoleonic themed games that Matrix has in the hopper, with Empires at Arms and Black Power Wars. Crown of Glory will be officially released by the end of next week, but no dates on the others.

Shrapnel looks to be having a busy summer. The Falkland Wars: 1982 is now shipping. Based on the Armored Task Force engine/ruleset, it could be as impenetrable as Raging Tiger is to me. But the fierce infantry combat of that recent war should make the game a must have for serious modern warsimmers. Salvo has gone gold; it’s another Age of Sail type game that seems like it will sacrifice graphic beauty for historical options. A fantasy strategy game called Land of Legends is targeted for release next month, as is the next segment in the Horse & Musket series. The latter title, dubbed Prussia’s Glory, looks like it will cover much of the same ground as Dragoon did.

The big problem for these indie online publishing houses is getting the word out. Though Wargamer can be counted on to review almost every single major release from both Matrix and Shrapnel, most publications skip the coverage altogether. Dragoon has four reviews listed on Gamerankings. Matrix’s two Tin Soldiers games do better but no review from Gamespot or Gamespy and none from Computer Gaming World. IGN reviewed the Caesar variant, but not the other. (There may be magazine reviews of the Caesar game in the hopper; PCGamer reviewed the Alexander one.)

So if you rely on official release dates from online sources, you could miss some stuff. Gamespot has a listing for Salvo, but not Land of Legends or Falklands War. Gamespy has Falklands but not Salvo or Land of Legends. Both have listings for Crown of Glory.

Most serious strategy gamers know about both Matrix and Shrapnel. Both are important to the indie strategy community, and, like strategy publishers since time immemorial have published as many cubic zirconiums as they have diamonds.

Thanks to them, I might be able to get through the summer with a stream of worlds, old and new, to conquer.


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