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Subject: Your favorite Matrix Games rss

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Justin
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I've been looking into PC wargaming but i have no idea where to start. This is one company that i've seen suggested here so i went to look at their games and they have a lot.

I was wondering what are some of your favorite games that you've played from this company(or ones that aren't made by them that you really like.)

thanks in advance.
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Ted Spencer
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The Operational Art of War III is the game I got after going through the same thing. I could not find a better value for turn-based, hex-and-counter software. Plus, with digital download, I'll never lose it. You probably can fit it on a netbook!

If you're looking for RTS, I'm not as familiar (or accomplished) with that. I find them difficult on a laptop, unless you have a game controller.

Good luck.
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You have to be careful what you buy from Matrix. Some of their developers are top notch veteran wargame designers, while some others are iffy.
Anything by the following developers will in all likelihood be good:

2By3 Games (formerly SSI)
Strategic Studies Group (SSG)
VR Designs

I've also heard good things about Panther Games, although I don't own any of theirs.


Matrix' most popular game seems to be War in the Pacific: Admiral's Edition. This is listed as being developed by Henderson Field Designs, but originally it's by 2By3 Games. 2By3 is Gary Grigsby, who used to be one of the prolific developers for Strategic Simulations Inc. (SSI), back in the day. 2By3 essentially is SSI.
2By3's newest product is Gary Grigsby's War in the East: The German-Soviet War 1941-1945, which seems popular. Twenty years ago, I used to play an older version of this, called Second Front, which was very good.
Both of these games are complicated, with substantial learning curves. War in the Pacific: Admiral's Edition is arguably the most complicated computer wargame available anywhere.
I don't own either of these games and my opinions are based on what I've read, as well as my overall experience with computer wargames.


SSG has a number of good titles, most notably their Decisive Battles of WWII series, with Battles in Italy being the best title therein.
Subsequently, they released Battlefront, which they promptly abandoned. Nothing wrong with the game, I have it, but the number of scenarios for it currently stands at only about a half-dozen, which includes the 4 that come with the game.
Their last release was Kharkov: Disaster on the Donets, which only came with 1 scenario. They've since released an add-on scenario, as well as an additional "bonus" scenario, bringing the total to 3.
While all SSG games come with complete editors, both Battlefront and Kharkov: Disaster on the Donets did not come with instructions for the editor, which makes scenario creation exceedingly difficult, especiallly in regard to AI programming. Hence, the lack of user-made scenarios for these two titles.
So right now it's a toss-up between the older Battles in Italy, which has a good number of user-made scenarios, and their newest game engine, Kharkov: Disaster on the Donets, which they've promised to support in the future, but one never knows (especially not since one of the key developers died recently).
Here is the company website, where you will find the scenarios available for all their games: http://www.ssg.com.au/
The learning curve for all these titles is considerable, in my opinion.
On a negative note, their most recent iteration of Carriers at War was not well received, for various reasons.


VR Designs is a newer company that has produced several popular games, such as Advanced Tactics: World War II and more recently Advanced Tactics: Gold. The latter one is the one to get, as it is an updated version of the former. It's basically a powerful wargame construction set, with many scenarios available. Here's a website that has all the available scenarios: http://www.advancedtactics.org/
I bought this game, but haven't learned it yet. It does look very good to me.


Matrix has had it's share of bad games too, more than their share, in my opinion. One example is their recent Larry Bond's Harpoon - Commanders Edition, a bug-ridden disaster by all accounts. Matrix has thankfully discontinued it's sale, but what does it say about a distributor that releases such a product in the first place?
There have been other questionable releases in the past, so it pays to read their forums before buying, especially the more critical comments.

In fact, I've often wondered why respectable developers like the ones mentioned above choose to do business with Matrix at all.

-----

Another successful and popular computer game company is HPS, here: http://hpssims.com/

HPS has several series of games, almost all of which are very popular, especially with players who like to play-by-email.
Additional titles are available directly from their main developer, John Tiller, at his newer website, here: http://johntillersoftware.com/index.html

The best thing about all John Tiller titles is that they are always updated to the latest version of the newer titles in a series. Thus, Panzer Campaigns: Smolensk '41, which was released way back in 1999, is still updated to the newest game engine whenever a new title or game patch in that series is released. No one else in the computer game business does this and it is one of the main attractions of these games. For this reason, the John Tiller titles are not only bug free (since their development and support goes back years), but they are still being enhanced with new features whenever a new title is released.

The learning curve for the John Tiller games varies, from fairly steep for the Panzer and Modern Campaign titles (due to the more complicated weapon types being modeled), to the much simpler Early American or Napoleonic series (since weapons types are essentially limited to Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry).

Their Squad Battles series is also popular, although I've had a hard time getting into them, despite owning a few titles. I'm not much of a tactical gamer anyway, so maybe that's the problem.

Edit: One drawback to the various John Tiller series of games, at least perhaps from a consumer's standpoint, is that they do not come with complete map editors.
Players can certainly create new battles with new orders of battle (units), but they have to use the existing maps, or portions thereof, that came with a specific title.
The reason for not including complete map editors is to prevent users from making their own battles and thus undermining the future profitability of the series for the developer. This is a business model I happen to agree with, since it results in much longer and more thorough support for the games.
Some people criticize this approach, but I think they're being selfish.

-----

If you think you might like a strategic-level game, you might want to look at War in Europe, published by Decision Games, here: http://shop.decisiongames.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=70
There is a discussion forum for this game somewhere, but I'm not able to find it. The Decision Games website has long been one of the worst.
Here it is: http://www.strategyandtacticspress.com/phpBB3/index.php

-----

On the tactical end of games, you can download the latest version of WinSPMBT from Shrapnel Games for free, here: http://www.shrapnelgames.com/

-----

Edit: All of the above titles are turn-based, as that is all I play. Well, except for the Combat Mission series.

Also, the previous poster mentioned The Operational Art of War. It's an iffy game, in my opinion. I last played it some 10 years ago and it was pretty crappy then. I know people will claim that newer iterations are far improved, but there were too many fundamental design problems with the initial game that no manner of patching could fix, in my opinion.
At best, I think it's a superficial product that tries to cover too many eras and ends up with an inadequate treatment for all of them.

Edit: Do not buy any of these games directly from the publishers. Instead, buy them from NWS Online Gaming Store, for considerable savings, here: http://yhst-12000246778232.stores.yahoo.net/
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Douglas Brunton
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Hi,

Do you have a particular genre your more interested in? Tactical, operational, strategic, Civil War, WWII etc.?

To my mind there are a number of very fine Matrix pc war games, here are two to look at.

(1) Command Operations Series - This is Panther Games fantastic series modelling command and control at the tactical level (normally no bigger than a division or two in total). The latest in the series is Battles From the Bulge.

To my mind this series exemplifies what PC war games can do if they lift themselves from the hex Igo-Ugo pardigm. There are no hexes, and the game involves issuing orders to higher level HQs which then filter down the chain of command. Good forces will function much more quickly and flexibly than poor quality forces. You direct the higher level HQ's where to go and what to do - you can also provide more detailed guidance such as ammo expenditure and the frontage to deploy over. The AI is very good in this series. It's continuous time game which can be accelerated and slowed down as you wish.

Here's a link to an AAR I did over at the Matrix forum.

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2491879

Outstanding series, previous games are Aegean (Greece and Crete mostly) and Highway to the Reich (Market Garden)

2) Decisive Campagins, Warsaw to Paris

A more conventional hex based game on Case White and Yellow (invasions of Poland and Western Europe. A very good game - to my mind the right mix of chrome and detail so that it does not make the mistake of some pc war games of being overwhelming. You do have to move all the units like a conventional wargame although you can move stacks together. Very nice artwork on the map and unit counters.

Matrix is one of the better publishers from the standpoint of not publishing bug riddled games that then have to be patched over and over again. They also appear to be committed to improving the games over time, so new or modified features to improve the games are often added.

Best wishes,

Doug
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Eddy Sterckx
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dougb1 wrote:

Matrix is one of the better publishers from the standpoint of not publishing bug riddled games that then have to be patched over and over again. They also appear to be committed to improving the games over time, so new or modified features to improve the games are often added.
Doug


Just wanting to mention that a number of Matrix games have demos - download them to testdrive the games for free

The aforementioned Battles from the Bulge from Panther Games has one with some excellent video tutorials so no need to read lenghty manuals



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Mike Kreuzer
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My recommendation about Matrix aren't hugely different to what you've read above.

Anything made by SSG for a boardgame-like game is likely to be good, and anything made by Panther for games that move away from a boardgame-y feel are likely to be great, but pretty much avoid everything else until you hear a lot of info to the contrary, cause Matrix have published some real stinkers over the years.

And these are PC only games, I used to play TacOps and Flight Commander 2 on a Mac in the mid 90s but I think they might've been the last Mac wargames. Who knows, with rumoured iPad wargames coming out maybe some of those might get rebuilt for Macs.


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M King
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I'd highly recommend The Operational Art of War III, as well as anything by AGEOD or Panther Games.
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Barry Doyle
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Love the Close Combat series -- love it, love it, love it. It's one of the (many) reasons I never seem to find the time to work on Valor & Victory...

And I'm thinking of trying Battle Academy, especially since they've released a Market Garden game.
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John Longstreet
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Peso Pete wrote:
If they ever publish Macintosh versions of their games, I will be able to answer this question.


I play Matrix Games on my Mac all the time w/o there being a Mac version - ever heard of Crossover or Parallel?
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Kim B
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I actually play a lot of their games, just not the ones mentioned beforeblush

My favorites: Panzer Corps (Panzer General I with better graphics and some small improvements)

Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar (one campaign with about 10 battles, gotta watch out for losses as legions loose quality when replaced by recruits)

Field of Glory (lots of turn-based battles from ancients to medieval period. My favorite is Agincourt from the English standpoint)

Rome/Spartan/Chariots of War (a nice series of wargames where you build up your towns and send out armies, and then watch them fight in real time. I would have preferred their Egypt:Engeneering an Empire model of turn based combat, but this series is not bad as it is)

Commander: Napoleon at War (10 different campaigns, not bad - a simple game though)

Commander: Europe at War Gold (much better then Napoleon at War, German supplies are well modelled)

Great Invasions (very reminiscent of Brittania and Italia boardgames - you get a bunch of peoples and fight with their neighbours, the system is a descendant of Europa Universalis games)

Crown of Glory: Emperor's Edition (Napoleonic Wars at all levels, combat zooms in like in Ghengis Khan but with much more detail)

Horse and Musket: Volume 1 (Older-school graphics, reminded me of John Tiller's Battleground series a bit)
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Justin
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dougb1 wrote:
Hi,

Do you have a particular genre your more interested in? Tactical, operational, strategic, Civil War, WWII etc.?

Doug


I'm so new to War games i don't know the difference between a tactical game and a strategic game.

As for what topics i'm interested in. I'm always into ancient battles but I've been getting into Napoleonic warfare lately. I'll pretty much enjoy anything up to the end of WWII. Any war after that has a hard time holding my interest.

Also Can you play a lot of these games online against people. Or is it just against A.I. I've never tried a play by email but that sounds interesting and more able to play with my time schedule.

thanks for all the replies
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Jon Kolman
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I wish I could say "LnL:Heroes of Stalingrad," but Mark Walker isn't saying shit about the game, and what he has said in the past was just "blowing smoke."

It's vaporware as far as I am concerned.
 
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Got to love / hate the excruciating detail of War in the Pacific Admiral's Edition.

One can move individual PILOTS around; a heck of detail for a wargame covering the entire Pacific War.

And that is just one example. We have plane management, 4 types of supply to haul around (resources and oil for production; fuel and general supply for combat); ships from the mighty Yamato and the CVB Midway down to the lowest lci.barge and PT boat. Each individually modeled.

The game however needs to be played with a human, and also has a fatal flaw - the pace of the war is too darned FAST.

Ships should wear down faster; organizing a task force should take days; not just one.

Planes are TOO reliable.

What the game has is a very micromanagement total obedience system without any idiocy rules to slow you down.

For example, there is no reason for the Japanese to hold Manchukou - just get the heck out of Northern China and crush all opposition in the rest of China, India and all points in between.

On the same token, why wait to bombard Japan in 1944 and 1945?

That Ledo road and the Hump option make for ease of shifting heavy bombers out of Australia, into Burma, and thusly to China.

It has to be house ruled to be a great game.


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Hi Glenn,

The majority of the games can be played against a human opponent - but many of these will be restricted to pbem or hotseat as opposed to the type of interaction you can have in a live vassal game using skype.

The AI only game is Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War. I've heard generally very good things about this game in spite of the fact that you can only play against the AI and only as the Carthaginian side.

The Command Operations Series by Panther Games is continous time so obviously the 2 player game is played live using the internet. Never tried playing this two player or with skype - if it works with skype it would be quite amazing experience I think.

Best wishes,

Doug
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IMagus wrote:

Also Can you play a lot of these games online against people. Or is it just against A.I. I've never tried a play by email but that sounds interesting and more able to play with my time schedule.


In that case you might want to check out the Matrix "Field of Glory" series of games - they range from Ancients to the Renaissance.

These games have a dedicated multi-player game-server where you can find opponents and which acts as a kind of neutral party : you send in your game turn, your opponents gets a message that it's his turn, etc. also prevents cheating. Last April they hit the million turns played mark so it's pretty succesfull.

To those familiar with the tabletop set of rules of the same name : yes, same rules, only slightly adapted to work on a pc

 
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dougb1 wrote:

The Command Operations Series by Panther Games is continous time so obviously the 2 player game is played live using the internet. Never tried playing this two player or with skype - if it works with skype it would be quite amazing experience I think.
Doug


Works with Skype and truely is an experience to cherrish. Getting it to work is incredibly simple but finding an opponent isn't if you happen to live on the wrong side of the Big Pond like I do.

PBEM (play by email) using a dedicated server or simply by exchanging "turns" is the more common form of playing non-AI games and apart from the exceptions mentioned in this thread (Panther Games' games, Hannibal) all other Matrix games can be played PBEM.

Kind Regards,

Eddy Sterckx
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AnglePark wrote:
Love the Close Combat series -- love it, love it, love it. It's one of the (many) reasons I never seem to find the time to work on Valor & Victory...

And I'm thinking of trying Battle Academy, especially since they've released a Market Garden game.


Battle Academy rocks. Make sure to download my scenario if you do get it.
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Douglas Brunton
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Thanks Eddy, If it wasn't for the time difference I'd really enjoy playing a live game of Battles from the Bulge with you.

Best wishes,

Doug
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dougb1 wrote:
Thanks Eddy, If it wasn't for the time difference I'd really enjoy playing a live game of Battles from the Bulge with you.
Doug


Likewise - see you in the "here be dragons" forum

 
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Peso Pete wrote:

I am speaking of Matrix publishing OSX-Native games.


Battle Academy (formerly : Battlefield Academy) is going to get a Mac version - should be released in the not too distant future as it was announced sometime at the start of this year.





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David Janik-Jones
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Peso Pete wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:
Peso Pete wrote:

I am speaking of Matrix publishing OSX-Native games.


Battle Academy (formerly : Battlefield Academy) is going to get a Mac version - should be released in the not too distant future as it was announced sometime at the start of this year.







Great news! I'll look forward to playing it when it comes out. Thanks!


It's out, with demo, a week or so ago ... go grab it!
 
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Peso Pete wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:
Peso Pete wrote:

I am speaking of Matrix publishing OSX-Native games.


Battle Academy (formerly : Battlefield Academy) is going to get a Mac version - should be released in the not too distant future as it was announced sometime at the start of this year.







Great news! I'll look forward to playing it when it comes out. Thanks!


It's out, with demo, a week or so ago ... go grab it!


Thanks for the heads-up. I'm hoping for a Mac version of Achtung Kharkov.

Played the original Operational Art of War and thought it was pretty terrible. As I recall it completely ignored logistics, which seemed ridiculous even then.
 
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seanmac wrote:

Played the original Operational Art of War and thought it was pretty terrible. As I recall it completely ignored logistics, which seemed ridiculous even then.


IIRC the first TOAW had some logistics bugs, which got fixed in patches but the current TOAW III game not only has logistics, but it's one of the strong characteristics of the game












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Barry Doyle
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Battle Academy rocks. Make sure to download my scenario if you do get it.


OK -- I'm sold! I'll grab it today, along with your scenario.

-B
 
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
seanmac wrote:

Played the original Operational Art of War and thought it was pretty terrible. As I recall it completely ignored logistics, which seemed ridiculous even then.


IIRC the first TOAW had some logistics bugs, which got fixed in patches but the current TOAW III game not only has logistics, but it's one of the strong characteristics of the game


Yes, the latest TOAW is pretty darned impressive.


They fixed a lot of stuff since, what was it, 1999 when the first version came out?

They had other bugs too - much digital ink was spilled on Usenet and later 'the tankers' on how 1,000 MGs could take out a Tiger Tank. A strictly firepower based model.

Now it has much more detail - sort of like taking the Panzer//Armor/88 system and using it to resolve combat, while using the White Death/Suez 73 and Korean War game systems for allocating activity, and the logistics of OCS.
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