Replay iBattle Academy – Western Desert Campaign 1

The Western Desert Campaign is the first one available in Battle Academy for iPad. One will argue that this game is not the most realistic simulation one can find about WWII at tactical level, and that’s fair enough. But what an awesome lot of fun to move troops across the dunes and villages on a tablet!

Western Desert Campaign

Mission #1 is titled “Capture the fort”, and it is some sort of tutorial set up involving just 3 AFVs and a couple of squads, whose mission is to take control of an isolated Italian fort. I love these briefing screens:

Capture the fort - Briefing

Capture the fort - Tactical map

The interest here will be to tick the 3 proposed achievements:

  1. Do not lose any units (probably the hardest one)
  2. Kill at least 10 enemy units
  3. Capture all victory points in 12 turns

So let’s get started! No option to configure your army here, you’re just offered the default 3 “Queens of the desert” aka Matilda tanks. A couple of Bren carriers full of tommies will come along a bit later, to help securing the buildings.

OOB and Achievements

 

Turn 01

 

I launch my platoon of reco tanks at full speed along the trail, and on turn two they spot their first column of italian tankette, which turn out to be CV33 or L3. The Matildas easily deflect the rounds of machine-guns, and in a snap I have blasted the first two in the column down to hamburgers. The 3rd one will face the same doom minutes after, hammered by my off-board artillery.

Turn 02

 

Pushing forward, I encounter some opposition in the rugged terrain around the road, where italian footmen have taken cover during my artillery barrage. These crags are indeed the ideal cover in barren lands, I should be mindful of them later on.

But resistance is futile and I bypass the obstacle to meet another column of brazilian tankettes. Meanwhile, my infantry is catching up, riding fast on the priceless Bren carriers. Stupid me! There was another italian squad hidden on the opposite slope of the valley. They were quiet so far because suppressed, but now they show up for a last hurrah. The tommies have to disembark for a surgical cleanup, while the Matildas teach english to their italian counterparts. In the bloody battle, I loose one of my squad, which is taking one achievement away, damn!

Turn 05

 

Finally, we are reaching the settlement and the fort, which looks dangerously quiet. No doubts there are some machine guns ready for an opportunity fire behind these dark windows.

Turn 06

Using Assault movement, I scout around the buildings, to spot some jerrys entrenched in the building on the outskirts. The tommies carry out a merciless assault and take ground. Good surprise, more reinforcement are coming, 3 more squads to support the final assault. Although they’ll take 3 turns to reach the settlement, in the absence of proper transport.(And now I realise I should have sent my empty Bren carrier to accelerate deployment). As there’s no signs of life, I decide to call for another artillery barrage, hopefully to suppress the last defenders.

Turn 08

 

My AFVs circle around, with a hope to take them aback, while infantry comes closer to the city wall, and capture another outpost.

Turn 09

 

 

We finally spot the last defenders and HQ officers trying to flee from the back of the fort. They are snared in a snap, and we claim victory on Turn 11!

Turn 10

 

Victory

Hallelujah! BBC Battlefield Academy comes to the Mac!

Mac Grognards rejoice! Slitherine has finally just released one of his flagship title for the Apple platform: Battle Academy renamed for the occasion “BBC Battlefield Academy” to address and solve the lawsuit initiated by Electronic Arts in 2010. It’s a significant move from the top publisher of digital wargames to recognise the significance of the Mac Wargaming Community.

Originally launched in August 2010, the game was immediately proclaimed by both critics and players as one of the most innovative and enjoyable strategy games of the year for novices and grognards alike. This Mac version has a completely renewed and intuitive UI to make it more accessible for the different control systems available on Apple devices, but it keeps fully compatible with the PC version, making it possible not only to play with PC saved games, but also to play multi-player over the network.

Inspired by an original online game concept devised by the BBC, the game has more than 30 battles in a range of theatres of war from the North African desert through D-Day to the to the snowy Ardennes mountains where the Allies battled to repel the final German offensive. The game engine is also completely script-driven, allowing players to create their own missions and scenario in a simple and effective way. The server-based PBEM++ Slitherine system completes the package, for a gaming experience that will certainly please both hard core wargamers and newcomers.

“We are very proud to bring this franchise to Mac”, said Philip Veale, Technical Director of Slitherine. “There is an increased demand for our genre of games on the Mac  and we are sure BATTLE ACADEMY can easily challenge to become the most played strategy game on the Apple system. Players find it so easy to get into the game and start head-to-head battles, through our PBEM system.  We have taken the decision to make the game fully integrated with other platforms and we will continue to do this in future iterations as well!”.

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