From: Melbourne Australia
I have to say it, with the dearth of original PC war game releases of late, the board game world has stepped in again (and it's been a mass of activity these past twelve months alone) with GMT's latest release, the frustratingly spelt "Manoeuvre" - 19th century land warfare with a solid dose of abstraction. And it looks a winner.
On opening my box this afternoon I was pleasantly surpised with contents that just ooze innovation from a long standing manufacturer, who would once notoriously only provide paper maps, two dice and counters in an otherwise vacant box.
I've posted quite extensively on these first impressions over at the Wargamer here.
But it just makes me wonder why the PC war game market can't look to where our hobby market has turned with enthusiasm and emulate such designs. "Command and Colors" (with three expansions now), "Hannibal" (with exquisite components), "War at Sea" (updated for the 21st Century gamer) and now "Maneouvre" - all games of the "easy to learn, fun to play, hard to master genre".
Manoeuvre's designer Jeff Horger wrote, that he wanted a game in the quick to learn spirit of chess that could bring his diverse band of gaming buddies together and satisfy their collective hunger and bias, to play a communal collection of some 400 titles - yet, have each being satisfied that their gaming time has been rewarded and enjoyable throughout.
That's a design ethos PC game creators could learn from. Manoeuver offers 24 thick cardboard geomorphic map sections, each 4x4 squares wide. Four such sections go to form an 8 hex wide playing map, each army comprises just 8 counters, diagonal moves and combat are disallowed. How beautifully elegant and simple. An 8x8 map huh? Well, just like Chess...
Yet, something no PC war game of recent, has ever approached since the 21st Century dawned. The last I can think of is the beloved combat engine burried inside the 1990' "Conquest of the New World". I played that more than the entire game.
That's where the retail money seems to be, mine most definitely. Is any PC war game developer going to try to grab it? That's the question.
Anyway, kudos GMT . Well done on some gutsy innovation and production flexibility. GMT is now in my books, a game company that can pleasantly surprise.