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Advanced Tactics

June 27th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Matrix, Preview, WW2

Matrix Games has announced a new “turn-based strategy masterpiece”. Their words, not mine.

Advanced Tactics WW2 is a wargame from Dutch gaming outfit VR Designs. It is based on their freeware wargame People’s Tactics, available on their website. Judging from the screenshots, seems to have both theater and regional combat. Operational Art of War III has made me wary of efforts to make one system fit all scales. Advanced Tactics promises even bigger things.

Advanced Tactics is a versatile turn-based strategy system that gives gamers the chance to wage almost any battle in any time period.

World War II is just the first module of a series to be released, with Civil War and Napoleonics modules already in discussion. Will players be able to create their own modules? That’s not obvious at this point, but it would seem silly to boast about a system’s flexibility and then keep it all under the hood. Not that I expect any 17th century musket module I made to be any good.

Best news about this game? Random scenario generator. Yeah, I know all the problems with random scenarios from a military history perspective. But random scenarios gave me years of enjoyment from both the Combat Mission series and Age of Rifles.

The name has that Generic Title Toolkit feeling, but Commander: Europe at War isn’t much better namewise. And it’s rekindled my interest in simple wargames. Here’s to hope.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Scott R. Krol

    Did you ever play Empire II: The Art of War or the original Wargame Construction Set? Now that I think of it, there was also UMS around the same time as WCS. All these games were meant to be toolkits, allowing gamers to create a variety of eras and genres, but ultimately it was all window dressing. You could create a British 18th century cavalry brigade but the only difference between it and the 20th century American mech brigade at Fulda Gap you also created was the fact you called it a British 18th century brigade.

    This is where all these “toolkits” ultimately fail, because while they allow you to change the look and stats of units the game systems simply cannot handle the mechanics involved in the differences between cavalry in 1785 and cavalry in 1985. TOAW is a perfect example of this. It handles WWII and beyond quite well, because that’s the era it was really meant for, but falls apart when attempting to recreate earlier conflicts.

  • Troy

    I remember them well. Empire II was especially weak. I think M. Evans Brooks called UMS “neither universal nor a simulator”, which was a little harsh since its individual scenarios were quite good.

    The “similarity” argument was also made against Age of Rifles in its time; that it didn’t really convey the differences between 1848 and 1898 in any meaningful way. (I still loved it.)

    But I generally agree with you that the toolkit approach is problematic unless the designers present you with a generic template where the units are just chits to be moved around or they have a system powerful enough to distinguish between changes in weaponry and changes in tactics.

  • Michael A.

    Have conversed with Viktor (VR designs) a couple of times and played People’s Tactics; it’s a nice little wargame. It’s square in the tradition of the WCS – I didn’t play if for long (no time), but I was impressed by the game within its limits. I remember it as an “old school” wargame (in a positive sense) of the type we don’t see many of any more. With (as I understand), better AI and interface, AT should be interesting.

  • JonathanStrange

    Speaking of old timey Age of Rifles stuff, I’d like a French Foreign Legion battle defending a desert fort a la Beau Geste.

  • Bas

    I’m a beta tester for AT and thus maybe a bit biased ;-)
    The strength of AT is in its simplicity of gameplay and the scope of its operational choices. You can make up your own units (only tanks? or also with infantry?), build roads, airfields, build and destroy bridges etc etc, so while this may not be very historical, you can have a lot of fun with it.
    It gave me the original Panzer General feel, one more turn, one more turn! But then a bit better because it is no puzzle like PG was IMHO.