PocketTactics: Battle of the Bulge announced

Bulge by SPI in 1979Battle of the Bulge is one of these legendary titles that have founded modern wargaming and changed the life of the young boardgamer I was in the 80’s.

Initially published by Avalon Hill in 1965, it has been then replicated, duplicated, and reissued countless times by the most prestigious publishers, both on cardboard and on PC screens.

There were certainly some serious opus along the way, and any serious wargamer should have in his library Bulge released by SPI in 1979.

Battle of the Bulge for iPadAnd when you hear that one of the grognards from SPI, Eric Lee Smith, decides to start a new venture named Shenandoah Studio to port the game on tablets, starting with iPad, you can start believing again in Santa!

The game should be available on the appstore this September 2012, so keep an eye on the developer’s diary. We’ve been able to grasp some screens and game arts here and there on the web, and it just looks awesome, nothing clumsy or clunky anywhere, this is all beautiful and polished and we just need now to assess the gameplay!

Battle of the Bulge - Game interfaceBattle of the Bulge - Game interface

This is great news for all grown up pocket gamers. Add on top of it that the next battle using the system is already planned for 2013-Q1: Get ready to fly to North Africa, to meet Rommel at El Alamein. That will be Volume 2 of this new game series titled “Crisis in Command”. It’s a wonderful world.

El Alamein announced!

Eric Lee SmithProject’s video inspirational pitch by Eric himself: http://kck.st/I5cHzt

Eric Lee Smith is a game designer and software development specialist. He worked for both Avalon Hill and SPI (Simulations Publications, Inc.). Most of his games were published by Victory Games (I), a subsidiary of Avalon Hill formed around ex-SPI employees. In 2005, he became Vice President of Product Direction for Investor Force Incorporated.

Battle of the Bulge – Very early interface preview

Close Combat revamped by Black Hand Studios and Matrix Games / Slitherine

For the ASL fans, Close Combat series has always been the closest-to-ASL computer experience. The title has had a long history since its first release in 1996. Initially developed by Atomic Games and published by SSI for both Mac and PC. Then it went through Microsoft Games on Windows platforms only. But in 2005, the rights were licensed to Matrix Games, which hired in turn a number of developers to boost the game for new generation computers

Full history on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_Combat_series

 

 
Original logo + new visual ID

But today, with a new growing and exciting partnership between the 2 companies, Matrix Games (recently merged with Slitherine) has chosen to revamp the game with Black Hand Studios. The official release announcement is dated June 2011, and it says:

“These new releases mark a fantastic overall improvement to the gameplay of the Close Combat games and show the astonishing distance the series has come since its original form many years ago.”

  • Major improvements were made to the way vehicles and soldiers travel to way points and reach the end destination of both simple and highly complex, unhindered paths with a very high degree of success.
  • Soldier pathfinding was improved so that when soldiers fall behind (heavy weapon or momentarily lost) they plot their own path to successfully rejoin their team.
  • Vehicle driver and soldier decision making was improved to help them deal with unexpected obstacles (vehicle moving into their way , or wreck that was knocked out in the course of battle to block a path that was already determined), and get out of dead-end locations.
  • AI improvements were designed in concert with the re-designed pathfinder.
  • The “Bee Dance” of CC2 that was related to conflicts between the AI for the vehicle driver and the AI that tried to keep the team moving along the team’s path that would result in a conflict about which portion of the AI to follow or “which way to go” is resolved.
  • Many other minor improvements were made and reported bugs were fixed

 Tactical gameplay in The Longest Day

The series has now 4 opus, and titles remind us of the original Squad Leader edition 😉

 
 
Video links:
 Home screen in Cross Of Iron