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TC Retrospective: X-COM: Apocalypse

Review - posted by Whisky on Sat 18 July 2015, 15:42:03

Tags: Microprose; Tacticular Cancer; X-COM; X-COM: Apocalypse; Xcom

Local Strategy Game expert and veteran potato farmer Darth Roxor has taken it upon himself to do a retrospective of the ever-controversial X-COM Apocalypse. But was it really as bad as people make it out to be? Let's see what he has to say.

Welcome to Mega-Primus. It’s a silly place.​

Hey! Do you know X-COM Apocalypse? Of course you do. It’s that bad rtwp game that killed the X-COM series and gave way to horrible games like Enforcer and Interceptor.

But a much more important question that I would like to ask you today is whether you have actually played Apocalypse. I suspect the most common answer to this will be “no”. I can’t say I blame you. After all, it took me over 15 years to gather the courage to do it myself. I was put off by so many things that I’d heard about it – that it was buggy, unstable, unfinished, nigh-impossible to run, outright bad, etc. For a longer while, I was even certain that it only featured rtwp combat, even though the turn-based mode is still there. But what I found suspicious was just how vague all of that sounded - it felt like Apocalypse was branded as a terrible game simply because it crashed a lot. So after figuring I might as well finally take the plunge, I picked it up at Gaben’s trinket shop (“hey, if it’s on Steam, that should mean it’s playable now!”) and once again took command of X-COM to stop the gosh darn aliens from stealing my freedoms. And I ended up glued to my computer for a whole month.

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TC Review: Warhammer 40k: Armageddon

Review - posted by Whisky on Tue 10 February 2015, 15:24:17

Tags: Games Workshop; Review; Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon


Faithful poster and contributor Darth Roxor got a chance to play Warhammer 40k: Armageddon. He was so moved by the content of it that he felt the need to write up a review.

At first glance, Armageddon looks like your typical Panzer General game. You have your hexes, your multitude of units in squads of various types and sizes, a top-down view on the strategic map, etc. But the game also brings some additions to the formula, and I honestly can’t say that any of them are very good.

Perhaps the biggest difference, which also influences a lot of further negative aspects of the game, is the lack of the soft/hard target distinction for units. Everything just has a single defensive value simply called “armour”, which is also why the overall damage model is different as well. To do any harm, an attacker’s weapon must cause more damage than the armour value of the defender – the damage roll has many factors to it, such as the cover level of the enemy, the line of sight obstruction provided by certain hexes, the unit’s inherent accuracy, the loss of accuracy per tile, the armour piercing value of the weapon and the amount of shots a unit fires when it attacks. There are a lot of somewhat vague variables at work here, and they lead to a ton of rather unnecessary randomness that can influence the attack roll in both ways and lead to hilariously unexpected results.
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X-COM: UFO Defense Retrospective Video

Information - posted by Whisky on Tue 16 December 2014, 15:15:33

Tags: Tacticular Cancer; Xcom; XCOM: Ufo Defense

Resident uber-contributer sser has created a retrospective video of a sort, focused on the development of the original X-COM and the process it took to get it to markets.

Other videos focusing on future games in the series are expected in the near future.

Read the full article: X-COM: UFO Defense Development Video

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TC: That Which Sleeps Kickstarter interview

Interview - posted by Whisky on Sat 4 October 2014, 18:52:32

Tags: King Dinosaur Games; Tacticular Cancer Interview; That Which Sleeps


The Kickstarter for That Which Sleeps has been active for two weeks now and they've managed to gain quite a bit of exposure for their Lovecraftian god game including on our own forum. We decided to ask King Dinosaur Games a few questions about their game and the Kickstarter.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. For our readers who aren't familiar with That Which Sleeps, could you please tell us a little about it?
That Which Sleeps is a turn based strategy game where the player takes on the role of an immensely powerful evil figure from the world's past who has been sealed away for so long that your name has been forgotten. You begin the game in a weakened state, vulnerable to the heroes and nations of the world who would crush you if they suspected your return. This leads you to recruiting a variety of unique Agents who you send throughout the world, gathering unwitting allies while also sowing chaos to prepare the way for your return. As this shadow war unfolds you will also find yourself making use of conventional warfare with a robust military system that may see you waging bloody wars of attrition or leveraging elite units to cut enemy armies out of supply.

The most interesting part of the game is the living world itself. The nations, leaders, and heroes of the world pursue their own particular agendas, often to your benefit. Expect kingdoms to feud with their neighbors, orc tribes to raid fertile lands, and foreign powers to launch devastating wars of conquest - all without your interference. Of course, many of the heroes of the world will seek to end the threat of hostile creatures and bring peace to warring nations. Distracting, defeating, or corrupting them will make your job much easier. Don't take too strong a stance however, each challenge you undertake will leave clues that heroes can investigate to lead them to the truth of your return.

Read the full article: TC: That Which Sleeps Kickstarter interview

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TC Retrospective Review: Sword of Aragon (1989)

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Tue 9 September 2014, 09:09:30

Tags: Strategic Simulations Inc.; Sword of Aragon

Esteemed community member Deuce Traveler has played SSI's strategy game Sword of Aragon and is here to tell you all about it.

So, despite these disappointing final battles, do I still recommend the game? Emphatically, yes. Sword of Aragon is a linear enough affair that it is fairly obvious to the player which problems need to be be tackled first, yet with enough randomness in how events unfold to ensure replay value. It has enough flexibility to allow you to play as a benevolent ruler or as a terrible tyrant. The quests are varied enough to be interesting, with choices and consequences that must be taken seriously. Sword of Aragon is an experience like no other, and since there don't appear to be any Kickstarters or indie developers intent on reviving it, the only way you are going to be able to experience it yourself is if you suppress your prejudices against older games with primitive UIs and limited graphics and sound, and download it today from your favorite abandonware site.​

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TC Preview: Chaos Reborn, or how I learned to continue to hate Kickstarter.

Preview - posted by Whisky on Sat 12 April 2014, 17:08:37

Tags: Chaos Reborn; Jullian Gollop; Kickstarter; Tacticular Cancer Preview


Our man, sser, conscripted a few Codexers and lured them into a wizard's arena, forcing them to fight to the death. After surviving, he decided to write up a preview of Julian Gollop's Chaos Reborn and provided some of his thoughts regarding the Kickstarter phenomena.

Gollop can get away with a more simplistic approach to presentation because he has been plying his trade in turn-based strategies since, well, apparently since a bunch of kids wouldn’t let him play their boardgames. The man, once a spurned nerd, is now a master of game design, and Chaos Reborn has all the nuts and bolts of a Gollop-designed affair.

The rules of Chaos Reborn are pretty simple: you are a wizard placed on a hex-based battlemap and must do battle with up to three other players by casting spells from a limited spellbook, ultimately winning the game by destroying the enemy wizard, or by scoring enough points to win in the case of a stalemate. Think of it as like Chess, but you start the game with only the King and you build your playing pieces around you as the game evolves.
If you're interested in donating to the Kickstarter, you can check it out here.

Read the full article: TC Preview: Chaos Reborn, or how I learned to continue to hate Kickstarter.

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Interview with Keith Lee about Duelyst Kickstarter

Interview - posted by Whisky on Mon 31 March 2014, 13:57:24

Tags: Counterplay Games; Duelyst; FerrousPilot

Not content with merely interviewing Julian Gollop, Duckard/FerrousPilot collaborated with Tacticular Cancer on an interview with Keith Lee of Counterplay Games about his Kickstarter for Turn-based Tactical game, Duelyst. Let's have a look:

Since we're here talking about Duelyst, could you give a basic overview of the gameplay?

Duelyst is a tactical turn-based strategy game with a heavy focus on ranked competitive play, so it's brought to you from guys who've worked on Diablo 3, Rogue Legacy, and the Ratchet and Clank series. So, the focus of this game is squad based tactical combat on a tactical map and the idea is to have fast-paced multiplayer where victory comes from defeating your opponent's general. We love the idea of squad-based tactics, we kind of grew up on XCOM, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, and we wanted to combine those games, those traditional games, with multiplayer and bring it into modernity with games like League of Legends and Hearthstone, and these really great matchmaking games, because I play a lot of squad-based tactical games but they're all single-player, I play through the campaign and I'm done with it. I want to actually invest my time and learn about the units and play with real people and really play some strong tactical games each time. So, at launch, which will be the end of this year, there will be five unique factions and a roster of 100+ units and battle spells.
Read the full article: Interview with Keith Lee about Duelyst Kickstarter

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Interview with Julian Gollop about Chaos Reborn/Julian's Development Philosophy

Interview - posted by Whisky on Wed 26 March 2014, 16:17:04

Tags: Chaos Reborn; Kickstarter; Tacticular Cancer Interview

Tacticular Cancer and FerrousPilot, known locally on the Codex as Duckard, both had interviews lined up with Julian Gollop, ours focused on his Kickstarter for Chaos Reborn and his, a Skype interview, based on his general design philosophy. So, we decided to pool our resources and make one large interview.

You can see the video above for the audio interview, along with footage of FerrousPilot/Duckard playing the current build of Chaos Reborn with Julian Gollop.

What do you think is the most important thing you've learned as a game designer?

The most important thing I've learned is that you've got to try and stay true to your vision, of what you're trying to do and create, but you need to be prepared to be flexible, because when you create something, you gotta test it, you gotta expose it to people, you gotta get feedback. You can't be precious about your creation, you have got to let it hang out there and this can improve what you do enormously; and perhaps the second thing that's related to that is that you really have to try to prototype your game as soon as possible and try to get the core gameplay in it and testable, you basically need to find the fun very quickly so you can't really afford to go too far and have to make big game design changes at the later stages of development.

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Pandora: First Contact review

Review - posted by oscar on Thu 5 December 2013, 14:13:28

Tags: Matrix Games; Proxy Studios; Tacticular Cancer

I try my hand at Proxy Studio's new sci-fi 4X strategy title, Pandora: First Contact, that bares more than a passing resemblance to an old favourite.


Read the full article: Pandora: First Contact review

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Castles II: Siege and Conquest review/retrospective

Review - posted by Whisky on Mon 18 November 2013, 17:34:11

Tags: Castles II: Siege and Conquest; Review; Tacticular Cancer


Tacticular Cancer member Jugashvili has written a review for Castles II: Siege and Conquest, a game little known these days, but notably difficult.

There are a number of military actions you can carry out in this game. The basic tasks include recruiting swordsmen (melee infantry), archers (ranged infantry) and knights (heavy cavalry), building siege engines, policing the realm (catches enemy saboteurs, but reduces happiness). Recruiting these troops requires iron, timber and gold, and they must also be paid and fed regularly with gold and food. You can also use military points to send saboteurs into enemy territory to poison their wells, kill their troops, ruin their castles or perform other kinds of mischief.
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Destiny: World Domination From Stone Age to Space Age review/retrospective

Review - posted by Whisky on Mon 11 November 2013, 18:07:09

Tags: Destiny; Interactive Magic; Review; Tacticular Cancer

World domination as a game is a simple concept, but one that is immediately appealing to all of us. It's a concept that we all thought would make a good game when we were young and dreaming of the possibilities of the medium. For most of us, the definite realization of this concept came about with the release of Sid Meier's Civilization. Through a strange twist of fate, I remained ignorant of Civilization's existence and kept on dreaming until the year 1996 came and I was given a gift.


Destiny: World Domination From Stone Age to Space Age

Destiny was published by Interactive Magic (Now known as iEntertainment), a company founded by Microprose co-founder “Wild” Bill Stealey. It was produced by Dagger Interactive Technologies, which also produced The Civil War and little else. Destiny was clearly meant to be a Civilization competitor, being in production around the same time as Civilization II was being made, and to give it credit, it offered a lot of features that were absent from Civilization. Destiny offered real-time, 3D graphics, and far more in-depth building, research, government, and religion options. What could go wrong?

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A las barricadas! Burning Bridges reviews España 1936

Review - posted by Burning Bridges on Sat 19 October 2013, 08:55:27

To the barricades, Comrades! let's immerse ourselves in La Guerra Civil. AGEOD's España 1936 awaits, and we will see how it has turned out.


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Europa Universalis IV Review

Review - posted by Whisky on Wed 16 October 2013, 14:03:03

Tags: Europa Universalis IV; Paradox Interactive; Tacticular Cancer


Our good friend Cenobyte has created a review for Europa Universalis IV.

Warfare went through a number of important developments during this time. First, the old medieval scheme of raised vassal levies got replaced by mercenary bands with often quickly changing loyalties. Later, the first professional standing armies were created, and the musket more and more replaced the halberd and other forms of melee weaponry. In the last decades of the game era, nations began to experiment with total mobilization and officer corps where ranks were awarded according to merit and not according to noble background. Thus, the warfare of those times saw a lot of development and has a huge potential for interesting mechanics. However, sadly, warfare is currently the weakest point of the game. In principle, warfare is done by simply ordering troops or ships into another province. If hostile forces are present there as well, a battle will occur. The course of these battles are influenced by a number of factors, such as morale, discipline, tactics and terrain. The loosing force will either be completely annihilated, especially if its size is much smaller than the opposing force, or auto-retreat into a safe province to recover. This can mean to retreat into a province on the other side of your empire, which is rather weird to watch. However, this means that a defeated force can often recover and later participate in the war again, which avoids much of the ping-ponging seen in EUIII and mitigates the effects of a defeat somewhat. On the other hand, this new mechanic means that manpower reserves play a huge role in the standing power of a nation. As long as you still have manpower left, you can nearly always recover from a defeat and bring back your force to full strength, able to engage the enemy again as if nothing had happened. This leads to very long wars, especially in the later stages of the game. This problem is also reinforced by the fact that warscore, the score determining the winner of a war, rises rather slowly through battles alone. If you want to get an edge in warscore, you have to capture provinces of your enemy. This is done via sieging. If you have enough troops in a hostile province, meaning more men than the defenders, you have to wait for some time until the enemy garrison surrenders the province to you. If you have a very high morale and achieved a breach in the fortifications, you can also order an assault, which will speed up things but exponentially increase your losses. For a defender, the only viable way to stop a siege is to send a relief force, otherwise you will almost certain loose the province after some time. All in all, this warfare model has little to do with the historical realities and offers not much of a challenge. It would be good to see a major rebalancing or reworking of the combat mechanics in one of the almost-certain future expansions of the game.
Read the full article: Europa Universalis IV Review

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RimWorld Interview - Tynan Sylvester

Interview - posted by Whisky on Sat 5 October 2013, 22:21:16

Tags: Kickstarter; Rimworld


Tynan Sylvester, the sole programmer of RimWorld, has taken the time to answer a few questions about his upcoming space colony simulator.

"Thank you, Tynan, for taking the time to answer our questions. Tell us a little about RimWorld. What would you say is its main appeal?"

I think people really find it compelling when original stories happen in a game that weren't written there by some designer. It's a story created for you, personally, involving you. RimWorld is designed around this concept. On the surface, it's a sci-fi version of Dwarf Fortress. But in the details, and what we're doing with the AI Storyteller, the central goal has always been to create a game that generates awesome stories.

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TCancer Interview - Ground Pounders

Interview - posted by Whisky on Tue 10 September 2013, 13:35:25

Tags: Ground Pounders; Kerberos Productions; Kickstarter


Martin Cirulis, CEO and developer for Kerberos Productions has been kind enough to answer a few questions about their Kickstarter for the game, Ground Pounders. Along with that, producer Chris Stewart sent us a batch of new screenshots.

What differentiates the Human, Tarka, and Hivers from each other? Will they have different focuses and specialties?

In very broad terms, the Humans in Ground Pounders are about the sustained breakthrough of enemy lines through combined arms. The Tarka are the fast break specialists looking to cause as much damage in as short a period of time as possible while the Hivers are committed to broad front advancement and containment of any breakthroughs.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of units and attributes, each side has units, and the values for those units skewed towards those priorities. Tarka units tend to be a bit faster and hit a bit harder and can sustain longer supply lines. On the other hand they are less resilient than their Hiver counterparts and often carry less dice than their Human analogs. When it comes to defence, the Hivers are as tough as one might expect with units specialized towards mutual support instead of speed. Specialty units like tunnelers compliment their unique play style.

And of course the combat cards add to all of this by including race-specific abilities that you would use when building a deck to work with a specific species. So between the units themselves, their stats and unique cards, Ground Pounders maintains the SotS tradition of making each race play like a different game.
Read the full article: TCancer Interview - Ground Pounders

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Burning Bridges takes a look at Ageod's Civil War 2

Preview - posted by Burning Bridges on Sun 8 September 2013, 07:31:28

Matrix Games offered us a preview build of Civil War 2, the upcoming sequel to Ageod's American Civil War. I gladly accepted the opportunity and feel that the game is shaping up nicely. Civil War 2 is almost complete and will release in a couple of weeks or months.


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A TCancer preview of Ageod's Civil War 2 is in the pipeline.

Information - posted by Burning Bridges on Wed 4 September 2013, 17:24:40

TacticularCancer has received a preview version of Ageod's Civil War 2, the upcoming sequel to Ageods American Civil War. I am already playing around with it and will give a summary of my findings in a few days.


In the meantime, should you have any questions about the game, you can submit them in the news thread and I will try to answer them either directly or in the preview.

Read the full article: A TCancer preview of Ageod's Civil War 2 is in the pipeline.

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Tacticular Cancer goes Historicon: Part 1

Editorial - posted by Trash on Mon 5 August 2013, 15:13:34

Tags: Historicon; Matrix Games; Slitherine Ltd

neckbeards frolick around in their natural environment

Recently there was a massive collection of warnerds and neckbeards at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Yup, it was once again time for the annual massive neckbeard wargaming conference Historicon. Wargames everywhere, legendary designers such as Gary Grigsby on a couch next to you, warnerds and more Civil War reenactors than you can shake a stick at. As the prestigious magazine that we are we simply couldn't pass this one up. Getting invited by Matrix Games also helped. We send our plucky fresh reporter Absalom into the fray. He rolled dices, he watched long press conferences and he mingled with some of the best wargaming designers in the business. Here's the first part of what he learned concerning the Matrix Games/Slitherine Ltd new line-up.

This one is pure military porn. With 35 different types of sensors being the source of information, a database that is updated monthly with the latest military armaments and the sheer attention-to-detail, this is the Aurora of modern military operations. Heavily moddable, as well. This is very much a niche within a niche, but hey if you're into this sort of thing this is the game for you. The graphics look like Aurora too, but for this it doesn't really matter. Some minor quibbles: Don't let the intro blurb fool you, this is a scenario based game. No campaign set in the Falklands war or anything, though a scenario can have multiple and evolving objectives. They can change based how how you play the scenario. While the 3d Globe-thing is quite cool (They model terrain based on height all around the world) this is foremost an Air and Sea based game. As far as I know infantry isn't even modeled. Any prospective buyer needs to keep in mind this in an very dry but incredibly detailed simulation. Plus it got a scenario editor so you can expect the net to fill up with new scenarios.​

Wanna know what game he's talking about? Check out the article.

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Interview: Matt Wilson - Co-founder of Privateer Press and design team member of Warmachine: Tactics

Interview - posted by Whisky on Wed 31 July 2013, 05:07:00

Tags: Kickstarter; Privateer Press; Tacticular Cancer Interview; Warmachine: Tactics


Matt Wilson, one of the co-founders of Privateer Press and a member of the design team for Warmachine: Tactics has been nice enough to answer a few questions about the Kickstarter and the game for us:

"What kind of difficulty can we expect from the AI? Will the single-player present a challenge to new players and veterans alike?"

That's certainly the goal with the AI. The WhiteMoon Dreams game design team includes veteran designers who worked on the original Fallout as well as the Myth series, so we're expecting them to bring us a great challenge!
Read the full article: Interview: Matt Wilson - Co-founder of Privateer Press and design team member of Warmachine: Tactics

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Absalom previews an early build of Race to Mars

Preview - posted by Trash on Tue 23 July 2013, 20:46:12

Tags: Intermarum; Kickstarter; Race to Mars

Intermarum's Race to Mars is a new spaceprogram simulator in the same vein as the venerable Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space. They're aiming at letting you set up a commercial space agency, fight for funding, go from trying to reach orbit to getting to Mars and handle competitors at the same time. Quite ambitious and just for that they're trying to get funding through Kickstarter. Unfortunately it seems to be stalling a bit, which is a shame. So, to spread word of the game Intermarum has send out a very early Alpha version to the media. Absalom got to play around with it and shared his impressions with us.

Check out a little pre-alpha Race to Mars gameplay while you're at it.

Read the full article: Absalom previews an early build of Race to Mars

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