February 21, 2024

Mentioned in Dispatches Season 11 Ep 12 ~ Wargame Design Studio

8 December 2023

The fine folks at Wargame Design Studio just recently released their latest game – Thirty Years’ War – in their Musket & Pike series.  Rich stops in with Brant & Jim to talk about their recent releases, the company’s current design plans, and what they’re currently excited about.

Don’t forget, you can always catch up with past episodes on the “podcast” tab of our site.

What’s the company’s design and release philosophy – tablets?  Macs?  Steam?  Long-term patching & support?  What’s the breakdown of their different series and how widely are their historical nets cast?  How did they get sychronous online multiplayer functionality “right” 20 years ahead of a bunch of other companies that still haven’t figured it out?  What’s up with the graphics?    Why don’t they announce games until they’re actually launching?  And yes, we cram it all into a 1-hour show.

Links & References

 


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Here’s the game that Jim referenced in the show, as they streamed one of the Thirty Years War scenarios

 

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"Mentioned In Dispatches" with the Armchair Dragoons
Mentioned in Dispatches Season 11 Ep 12 ~ Wargame Design Studio
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Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

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One thought on “Mentioned in Dispatches Season 11 Ep 12 ~ Wargame Design Studio

  1. I, for one, have never found much to like about the “Tiller” games, overall.

    Their 20th century games, which comprise the bulk of their selection, are at a weird scale that is a strange mix of operational scale maps, yet includes tactical level ranged fire, which strikes me as exceedingly awkward.
    Additionally, the minutiae of unit makeup is not something I want to see or deal with when playing at the operational level, which these games purport to be.
    The sheer number of units in a typical scenario of, say, one of their Panzer Campaign games, typically numbers in the three figues (more than a hundred, or even hundreds PER SIDE!), making them all but unplayable, at least to me.
    The user interface is horrendous and dates back to the 1990’s Talonsoft games. It’s like the developer(s) were completely unaware of the right mouse button.

    Their pre-20th century games fare somewhat better in these regards, only because the “operational level” battles of the musket and rifle eras translate reasonably well into the set-piece battles of those times. Or, to put it another way, there really was no operational level, pre-20th century, because everything wound up being set-piece battles at more or less the tactical scale. Yes, I can obviously understand ranged fire at this scale, but not at a scale that depicts the entire WW2 1941 battle for Moscow or similar battles.

    As I remember, at one time I owned eight of their Panzer Campaigns games. A cynical person might ask why I would buy eight games of a system I did not like, and the answer is simply that I intended to “get into” them eventually, which I tried to do several times over the years, but the aforementioned issues were just too overwhelming for me to overcome. I eventually sold all my PzC titles a few years ago.

    Likewise, I also bought four of their Modern Campaigns titles, all of which I’ve kept ONLY because of the somewhat rarety of computer games dealing with NATO vs Warsaw Pact conflict. As these games are at about the same awkward scale as the PzC series, with the aforementioned drawbacks, I don’t ever actually expect to play these either.

    I do still own their 1776 game, which I solitaired for a while some years ago, and which was reasonably okay, but is also not something that stayed on my hard drives over the years. Likewise for their Wagram game. Again, the pre-20th century games work somewhat better than the more modern titles, using what has been referred to as the “Tiller System”.

    I also have four of their Squad Battles titles, which I also haven’t been able to grok into, again I think mostly because of the clumsy interface.

    I also have their Midway naval game, which I’ve heard is supposed to be good, but haven’t tackled it.

    I did get into PBEM’ing several scenarios of their two Strategic War titles some years ago, only to eventually run into serious, game-breaking bugs. Specifically, as I remember, we were playing one of the Sicily invasion scenarios wherein the Allied invaders of the island need to trace their supply to a controlled port, only to quickly realize that all allied units were in supply regardless of whether they met this supply tracing requirement. We never were able to determine what was causing this problem.
    I eventually sold the two Strategic War titles, after there hadn’t been any patches or upgrades for many years and Tiller eventually announcing that any further development was put off “indefinitely”.

    The Tiller games I still own, which number exactly a dozen, I own mostly due to their somewhat uniqueness, as there aren’t many hex-and-counter computer games on the American Revolution, NATO vs Warsaw Pact, or the tactical scale of the Squad Battles series. While the subject matter of many of these various games might be interesting and intriguing, that in itself does not make them good games. The awkward scale and awkward user interface of most of them make them unplayable for me. I’m not saying they’re ouright bad, but…I dunno, maybe it’s an acquired taste, like sadomasochism.

    Frankly, I suspect that there are a good many people like me, who over the years have bought some of these games because they look and sound really good, but who really don’t play them. The discussion forums at the Wargame Design Studio website don’t seem to be overly busy, especially not considering they now have 112 titles in their repertoire.

    I’ve always been under the distinct impression that Tiller took the system he used in his old Talonsoft titles of the 1990’s that dealt mostly with pre-20th century games and basically carried it over to most of his other series of games, specifically the numerous 20th century games. That, in my opinion, simply doesn’t work. Again, at least not for me.
    Most titles from this developer/publisher are simply not much fun to play. The sheer overwhelming number of units and bizarre unit minutiae, combined with the horrid user interface is just too much to overcome.

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