Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Greg Costikyan has a review of "World at War"

Greg Costikyan has a long history in gaming. He attended the first game design class at SPI in the early 1970's as a 13-year old (I believe). He has made a career out of gaming, not just wargame development. He is now into wireless games, and works for Nokia. Greg has a review, on his blog, of World at War, a Gary Grigsby game:

World at War is actually a bit of a departure for Grigsby; he tends more toward big, long-lasting, complicated games, and World at War is essentially "Axis & Allies done historical." That is, it features areas rather than hexes, representational units rather than historical ones, a system vastly simpler than most of his games, and total playtime of maybe 4 hours, rather than 20+. In other words, it's clearly an attempt to make an historical wargame that might appeal to a wider audience.

Greg concludes:

If I were conceiving this product from inception (with, to be sure, the advantage of hindsight, of being able to see it already working, which the developers surely did not), I'd say: Not only do we need to simplify this UI as drastically as possible, we also need a series of programmed learning scenarios, along the lines of your typical RTS, that gradually and slowly introduce players to new concepts. Scenario 1, take France, Crete, and for bonus points Egypt by Fall 41, and we ignore the damn partisans. Scenario 2, everything is frozen except for Western Europe, you have to take Gibraltar, and we make the partisans ultra-important. And so on.

As it is, your typical Axis & Allies player is going to find himself stumped by this game.

And that's a shame, because when you get down to it, it's pretty damned cool.

On the other hand--if you aren't daunted by the thought of reading a manual, and like the idea of playing out the whole of WWII in an evening in a reasonably realistic game, this may be just your thing. And incidentally, both hot-seat and PBEM multiplayer provided.

Buy it via directly download from the Matrix Games site. Why should the retailers get a cut?

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