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  1. Badger

    Ho Ho Ho

    Hi All There's still a week to go, but here I am on my annual Chrimbo flyby, just wanting to stop off and wish all you simians seasons greetings and all the best for a wonderful new year. Yours (with a festive stripe) Badger
  2. Badger

    Pushing Tin

    Ah yes, and I also remember "Apache Longbow 2", which I bought on its release, on (I think) my first trip to the States, which turned out to be one of three we ended up making to visit friends in Chicago. Sadly they split up after that ( nothing we did!) and to be honest the one we wouldn't really have visited ended up getting us in the divorce settlement. But what was I saying?...oh right... "Apache Longbow 2" fantastic helicopter sim, much missed as I stupidly sold it on at some point and regretted it ever since. not that I'd be able to make it work today if I had it I suppose. Great tips Stans, Thanks for those. I actually did have it installed to the default directory (not a technical fella as you know and so I tend not to improvise.) so I might just have another go following your tips and settings suggestions and see if that makes a difference. It's just a little irksome to now, after all these years, finally have a machine which should be able to run games like "FSX" without compromise, but still; have to mess about with graphical settings. Also the traffic program I was using was not "Ultimate Traffic X". I don't remember which it was now, but I have a feeling it might have been for "FS9" with a "now with "FSX" upgrade" written on the box. So maybe it wasn't ideal either. Note: I've just looked for "Ultimate Traffic X" on Amazon and can only find "Traffic X" or "Ultimate Traffic 2". Do you think one of these the one you use but by a UK name maybe? Badger
  3. Badger

    Pushing Tin

    Hiya Simians, howyadoin? I know you fellas like guns on your wings strictly speaking. But I've been wrestling with a choice of civilian flight sim recently and where else am I suppose to go to rant about a flight sim? Well.. it's gotta be here right? Well I say "wrestling" but I think the match is actually over and the choice made. But I wonder if any of you have faced the same choice, what decision you made and how it worked out for you. The inner battle finally resolved (at least I "think" so) was whether or not to buy "X-Plane 10". I do enjoy my occasional civ flight sims as many of you know and one of the things I was most looking forward to when I first bought my current PC, (Ohhh she sure is purdey) was putting "FSX" on it and watching that bad boy fly! Well what a disappointment! This thing certainly has the oomph (er...cojones) to let "FSX" properly stretch its legs, and yet I still found myself forced to make large compromises in the settings screen, to get it running anything like. A trip to the internet suggests that the games code is to blame and that it's notorious for being choppy on even the biggest hitters spec wise. I wonder though if it might not have more to do with "Win 7", because before installing it I did notice talk on the net about "Win 7 fixes", but didn't bother when it installed and ran without any issues. (Or so I thought at that point.) Problem there though is that... say you install it and then employ some kind of "Win 7" fix to get it optimized. Well then you surely have to take that into consideration for anything you put on there as an addon, be it new planes, or traffic programs, or something like "Air Hauler" which simulated an air cargo business. That's a whole lot of hassle for an occasional civ flight sim fix. Added to which, with "MS" canning the series it's become something of an evolutionary cul de sac. Unless you count "Flight" of course. A development which many "MSFS" pilots consider a betrayal. I don't have such strong feelings about it myself, although I'll admit that its arcade stylings do not appeal to me. (Not that I've tried it. I can see what it is from vids I've watched.) This all rather leaves me in flight sim limbo though right? And (like many "MSFS" fans I'm sure) I've been looking inquisitively at the "X-Plane" series for some time and having recently downloaded the paradoxically huge yet miserly demo for "X-Plane 10" (It took an hour and a half or something stupid to install... but then it's timed to ignore your joystick input after 15 mins!!) I was able to confirm that it runs beautifully on this machine. All very tempting indeed. But then once you actually start to look at "X-Plane" properly and read what people think about it, you uncover a fascinating battle ground with the combatants either side firmly entrenched in what they feel are diametrically opposed positions, but which it seems clear to an outsider looking in, will surely be resolved at some point by the developer, in an act of compromise to capitalize on the large body of potential sales to be had from disenfranchised "MSFS" pilots. The "X-Plane" series has it seems always been considered more high brow than it's more populist opponent, (if anything as niche as "MSFS" could actually be described as such.) concerning itself more with the pure physics of how the various forces affect a flight model and appealing to fans interested in a no frills flight simulation and not remotely concerned about such fripperies as attractive scenery, animated airports, interactive passenger cabins, etc etc. In short all the kind of things that your typical "MSFS" fan has come to expect as part of a more rounded package. I'm rather on the fence to a degree. I don't much care about the ability to open an engine compartment on a "Cessna" and admire the dipstick, although I'd be lying if I claimed that I didn't find such touches highly immersive. The fact remains I can do without them. Likewise the little vehicles which flit about at an airport doing refueling and such. Great touches, but not the end of the world to lose them. But at the same time there are a number of little luxuries I wouldn't want to lose. Because seemingly unlike the "X-P" purists I don't fly a flight sim just to observe the impact of physics on a plane wing. I fly because I want an immersive and captivating flight experience, covering as many aspects as possible of what it's like to be a pilot. I'll give you one huge example off the top of my head though, (as well as a bone of contention on the forums) collision detection. Play the "X-Plane 10" demo and you'll find yourself taxiing unnervingly right through other planes, buildings and scenery. "It's a flght sim, not a scenery sim" protest the purists loudly. "You're not supposed to be flying into buildings!" To a degree I can agree with them and could certainly live with ghostly terminals etc, particularly if as the developers claim, this is part of the reason that the frame rates are so good. (Although I've read posts which dispute this.) but that said, I can think of lots of reasons why I'd want some contact with scenery to be registered. A misjudged landing where I clip trees at the foot of the runway for example? Or any kind of Helicopter operation in a tight airspace. As for collision detection on other planes.. well I definitely want that! How can formation flying be as satisfying for example, with no consequence for a screw up beyond seeing the other planes wing ghost in and out of your cockpit? Or mid air refueling? How is that supposed to work with no collision detection? You just pat yourself on the back and say "well that was about right I think"? Unless the collision detection for other planes is disabled only on the ground and works in the air? I don't think so though. I think it's never on. Anyway, collision detection aside, despite one of the tag lines in the advertising being that the "X-Plane" series has been in development for 20 years there are also apparently a fair few bugs in "XP10". You'd think after "20 years" the engine basics would mostly be nailed down wouldn't you? Again the rationale on the forums is an interesting one. Postulating that any current "X-Plane" game is an ongoing work in progress, an open beta and that it isn't ever finished until the next game is released. So "X-Plane 9" for example should be a finished product, only now that "X-Plane 10" has been released and "X-Plane 10" in turn should not be expected to be complete until "X-Plane 11" comes along. Hmmmmmm..... really not sure how I feel about that, except to say that if a program has a lot to offer me as is, then I'll certainly indulge in an open beta and even offer some occasional uneducated input into the process. But I wouldn't expect to pay more than say £20 ($32-ish) for that arrangement, while "X-plane 10" will set you back (count em) £50!!! ($81! Ouch!) More if you shop in the wrong place! So as I say it's been really interesting and an education, but after properly weighing the pros and cons (and there's honestly things in both camps) I really can't see myself taking to "X-Planes" runways until the developers bow to inevitable compromise, because there's no way they're going to look in the mouth of the gift horse that is goodness knows how many ex "MSFS" fans looking for an excuse to make the switch is there? Plus, although I might consider the expensive price tag, (it wouldn't be the first time) I'll not pay it for a beta. Maybe some of you have made the switch already though? How have you found it? Or perhaps you are an "X-Plane" purist and can tell me why I'm making the wrong decision here? As always all the best folks Badger
  4. Good Morning Mr Raptor Just happens I popped in today to post some ramblings and I was interested to read your post mentioning "Apache Air Assault". Firstly a silly question... you mention that you have "Apache Air Assault" for the PS3. Are the alternatives you are looking for also for the PS3? Because although I have one myself, if that's what you're after I'm going to have to say I'm stumped. Unless you count "Battlefield 2", "WarHawk", or "MAG", all of which have tank and/or aircraft game play in them (erm.. I think) but only the first of which also features a single player mode. If on the other hand you are looking for PC alternatives... ah well that's a different matter. Ok, so something a little easier than "Apache AA" right? Easier? You know there's an arcade mode don't you? I mean you're not trying to play it thinking there's only realistic mode are you? The only reason I ask is that like you I'm no chopper pilot either (although I do loves me chopper sims I do) but I found the arcade mode for "Apache AA" a little too easy, while the realistic mode is admittedly hard as nails. However... something a little easier might well be "Novolagic's" "Commache 4" which assuming you are in the States you can get from Amazon for a little under $10. (I couldn't find it for you on Amazon here in the UK, though I did find "Commanche 3") These are arcade games ideal for the rotary challenged who just want to "pop up" and fling missiles about with abandon, without worrying too much about those pesky laws of physics. Meanwhile, a good tank sim you say? "something on the order of Panzer General"? Well "Panzer General" is a turn based strategy game, not really a tank sim. Do you really mean "Panzer Elite"? More arcade then sim really, but a fun blast none the less and available via "GOG.Com" for $6. Also "Iron Warriors T-72 Tank Command" is available via "Steam" for a song. It's a sim which is showing its age now, but it's fun and a great deal for the money. If you want something a little more heavy duty... well I'm looking for a decent contemporary one myself, but for WW2 there's "Steel Fury Kharkov 1942" although beware as it's not for the faint of heart. If it's more of a strategy based tank game you were after though, well I can't think of a turn based one I've played off the top of my head, but I can recommend "Wargame European Escalation". Got a bit of a bad press from some folks I know, but personally I really like it. After all this I bet you were looking specifically for the PS3! If so, sorry about the long winded reply. All the best Badger
  5. Cold, so very cold....oh...ok, slightly warmer. "A plague of Rascals" eh?Could the simians have unwittingly stumbled uncomfortably close to the truth about their friendly neighborhood Badger?..... No... I think not. Badger
  6. Hi All I'm not sure about runway protocol in "A-10C Warthog", but it looks as though it differs somewhat from "MIcrosoft Flightsim". In the latter title the runway is mine once I roll out onto it, but here?........ Well i saved the track to show to you. Badger
  7. Oh... don't know what happened to my link. Here it is.
  8. Hi All Hope you're all bright eyed and bushy tailed. After years of waiting I have finally got a more powerful PC and am currently enjoying trying out games which I have never seen running with all their bells and whistles in full effect. I have a list as long as my arm of titles I'm chomping at the bit to reinstall and see in all their glory and I've even bit a bit naughty (although I did have permission from She Who Must Be Obeyed, so not "that" naughty") and bought three new games. Well.... you gotta, right? And so am staring wide eyed at "Take On Helicopters" and "A-10C Warthog" and a Train Sim I won't bore you with. You won't be surprised to hear me say that "Warthog" is clearly going to follow in the proud tradition of games like "Falcon 4" and "Black Shark" before it, of being installed and staying in place until it makes me feel so stupid in my inability to grasp it, that I delete it in frustration. Only to re-install again every time our bi-annual watch of "Top Gun" comes around. Damn you Maverick and Goose!! (Many of you will remember me describing that very same syndrome before. ) Anyway, one of the possibilities opened up to me by the new machine, is that of making the odd gaming video here and there, something I've always fancied having a bash at. One of the things I'm most looking forward to being able to play is the New Arma when it comes out and the possibility of being able to make a Let's Play or something along those lines, is really intriguing. I've been looking at You Tube and reading their forums to find out about things like copyright and accounts being in "good standing" and ..it's pretty dry stuff for a country Badger like me. But that's all for some point in the future. Thank goodness though for the odd little chuckle here and there, found in amongst all the "yes you can" and "no you can't" stuff and I thought you lot might enjoy this one. All the best to you combatsimians Badger
  9. You're absolutely right sir, that's exactly what he meant. It's like one of those situations where you say "oh, I just really hurt myself!" and somebody asks "Really? Where?" and you reply.. "just now outside my house!!" Jobs a goodun though as he very kindly sent me a PM which I have just been replying to. Really? Thanks Stans that's excellent advice and I'll keep it in mind. Sounds like I'm really going to miss "XP" "XP" was like a favourite uncle who watched out for me. Unlike what I hear about "Vista", I hear "Vista" was like a horrible aunt who smells bad and nobody wants to sit next to and...... sorry... I'll shut up now. Actually I'm never away for quite as long as you might think I am. See a shadow out the corner of your eye? That was probably me. Here a russtle from the undergrouth as you sat around the fire in CombatSim's hallowed halls? That was certainly me! It's just that normally I have little to contribute in such company, so I just keep schtum and soak up the wisdom of the ready room. Mind you, I'm not so sure about that OG tale.. It seems to me that last time my Katana got snapped in two and I was dragged around like road kill!! Nobody....... likes to see that! It's takes some getting over you know, if yer Katana gets snapped! The Katana is the soul of the warrior. If he breaks it or looses it, he will NEVER be forgiven. Now you just stop that! I'll not hear a word against advice from the Donster! and trust me, I'll blame Americans for anything I can get away with. Well.. Americans or the fact that I'm colour blind. Missed the bus this morning? That's becauase I'm colour blind. No that doesn't work... It was the Americans!! yep, that works for me. "Firefly" got cancelled? Surely because I'm colour blind?? Nooooo the Americans!! See it always works pretty much the same way. I'm wearing odd socks today? AMERICANS!!!! Oh.... well actually that one might be because I'm colour blind. Is that Ritual silicon chip suicide? Sheath your sword and live to advice another day. Brothers can we never escape the shadow of the Katana?? Oh the humanity! Badger.
  10. Hi Stag. The sunny old UK is where Badger Towers stands. Funny you should say that Mike. I have awful support here and of the few options I do have I've found two to be either dishonest or unscrupulous. What a sad state of affairs. Actually this was part of the storty I didn't want to bore you with as I'm also trying to get my ailing machine repaired and having a real tough time finding someone I can trust. I'm sure this is quite true and so not funny. But I have to say it made me chuckle. You have to be careful where you hibernate in the UK Donster. This lot fling themselves into a cull at a moments notice! Actually, funny thing but the last thing I posted was I "think" the "Shogun" Paws On and do you know what happened right after I finished? Yup.. My PC went down!! I suspect that PC's here are a bit more expensive Donster. It's been quite a while since I was last in the USA and visiting PC stores, but I seem to remember being surprised how cheap the rigs were. I remember a friend from Chicago taking me to ..hmmmm.. would it be "Comp USA"? thinking my being from the little old UK would mean I was greatly impressed with such a large PC store. He was so enthusiastic that I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was about the half the size of our then local "PC World". It does seem though that getting somebody to build it is the way to go. The chap I've found I've not met before so who knows, he might be just the fella to restore my faith in the local traders. Anyway I'm going to go have a chat with him tomorrow so we'll see how it goes. Thanks for the advice all. Badger
  11. Hi All I know that many of you chaps are masters of all things PC and so I'm hoping for a little advice. I'm currently having problems again with my three year old rig and getting terribly frustrated with the lack of decent local support. Many of you know already that I completely lack the skills to take on anything technical myself and so find myself at the mercy of whatever shambles passes for a PC repair shop in this town at the a*** end of nowhere. But I'll not bore you with the details. This is not where I'd like to pick your brains and in fact the situation rather comes with a silver lining. Mrs Badger (who is far too good for me by the way) has been talking for a while about getting a new PC. There'll be a problem with this one, the conversation will happen (never initiated by myself I might add)and then things'll settle down again and the subject will be forgotten. But this time she's adamant that we're going to do it and I've been instructed to fish about to see which one we should be buying with a top budget of about a thousand pounds. A huge and ridiculous amount in my eyes and yet not enough I know to secure an all singing all dancing monster of a rig.... which rather sticks in my throat I must admit. Anyway oh brainy ones, here is the brain picking bit so get yer thinkin heads on... Firstly, I'm supposing that any such machine will come with "Windows 7" and I'm wondering what the state of play in with "Windows 7" and gaming. I know in the past that each new generation of "Windows" is greeted with rending of clothes and tearing of hair in terms of what it does and doesn't support in games and then things settle down as people get used to it. So what's the state of play with "7"? Is it new releases only need apply? Or will I be able to happily chuck on my old "1946" and see it fly. ("1946" straight off the top of my head. There are many examples.) I'm very excited by the way at the prospect of being able to think about playing "Arma 3" . I never dared even dream of it before! Secondly I'm a little torn, particularly with my lack of tech smarts, as to which machine to buy! I thought I'd found the ideal route, in the article "PC Gamer" print every month in which they list all the components of their current gaming rig. This is updated on a month by month basis and components are switched out as their expert finds better spec and/or value kit to put in it. The whole thing is within my budget, albeit that I don't see a sound card mentioned (I assume there's something integral going on)and it doesn't mention buying an operating system (which I think it should to be honest, but I suppose they consider it a no brainer)and of course I'd have to factor in the cost of somebody building it for me. (I know some of you will be shaking your heads now and saying you could really do it yourself... but I am simply not clever enough to take the variables into account and do the practical build. Plus I have to say that the folks who tell me this kind of thing, I think don't realise or simply lose touch with the extent to which their expertise distances them from folks who know little or nothing about the practical tech side.) Problem was though, that I found someone who could build it for me and he even gave me a price for doing so (quite reasonable actually) but it was on condition that I secured all the individual components myself. Otherwise he would build me something with a similar spec, but presumably the difference being that he has his own set suppliers which he uses for this stuff. Well I don't really want to do this, both from the perspective of it being a pain in the neck to get the bits and bobs and from the more worrying aspect of what if some of it arrives faulty or damaged and the first I know about it is when he reports back to me and then I have to get back in touch with the supplier etc etc yada yada.. it could take a bleedin age!!! So I either go with whatever his build is, on the basis that it's similar (hopefully) to the spec run by "PC Gamer", or I opt instead for buying a whole machine from somewhere, but in this case I am confronted by a bewildering array of manufacturer and model choices and I have no choice as to what goes into them. I'm just stuck. In many ways it's a nice problem to have of course and one that I never even considered as I never thought I'd have the funds. But I just don't know what to pick or where to go and I feel weighed down by the potential to make a mistake with what to me is a vast amount of money! Any and all advice on either question much appreciated. Badger
  12. Hi guys I'm glad you enjoyed the battle. Sorry for the tardy reply. Would you believe that posting that swirl of Katanas for you, was the last thing my PC managed to do before falling in a dead faint and screaming for a medic! I got a nasty message from my anti virus while messing about in "Photo Bucket" doing those screen shots. Something about a "Trogan" and did I want to put it in the vault. Followed by a message I wasn't expecting about some file or other being deleted and the next time I looked I couldn't open anything on the PC!! Please take this as a warning by the way folks. Apparently there are some nasties doing the rounds and from the sequence above it looks as though I might have fallen prey. At any rate, the PC is now in the shop and I might not get it back for a couple of weeks! I have begged and borrowed access to a laptop to reply to you now but I might nt be online again until my ailing PC is healthy again. So.. in brief (Because I'm having to type five words at a time here before waiting for the laptop to catch up... I kid you not!)... @ Mike: I think it was about an hour for that battle Mike. Not counting the seperate battle for the castle itself, although as you might imagine that one was over almost before it started. You're right about "Total War" being a time sink. I've always thoroughly enjoyed them but that single aspect is what has stopped me ever completing a campaign. I'm blessed with a short attention span and while "Total War" is happy to let you save on the campaign map, it refuses to oblige durig the actual battles! When you consider an hour plus for the battle above with the paltry forces we brought to the field. You can imagine how long for a serious battle with armies which are all growed up! There is a timer which ticks down, but to be honest I don't really know how long you have. If I had to guess?... I'd say two - three hours. @ Archie: The concept on the battle map never gets more complicated than "Rock, Paper, Scissors" Archie. But while that's just fine with a six unit army.. make that twenty units over a large map and all happening simultaneously and things can get medieval on your ass pretty quick! The campaign map can get complicated, at least for the likes of your Badger. At least "Shogun" see's you with one clan to manage and managable options to start. Not like "Empire" which guided you through an ok tutorial, before throwing the whole world at you in the campaign proper and watching you drown! @ Red: Absolutely! Staring at the enemy troops through the mist, I couldn't help but think how much easier it would be to just "take off and nuke the suckers from orbit... just to be safe!" Right then that's me for a while. What am I going to do with no PC!!!? I guess I'll go read a book. I remember books. Badger Out
  13. Hi guys I hope you've all been bright eyed and bushy tailed since I last popped in to torture you with inane babble. I know it's been a little while since I said hello, but I'm still around and I have peeked in from the sidelines now and again. Today I come to you bristling with Oriental pointy bits and bursting with medieval action. A couple of weeks ago I bought "Total War: Shogun 2" and having found my way around the tutorial and made a start on my first campaign, I decided it had to be shouted about and where else would I do that but here? Natch. So put the cat out, unplug the telephone and get comfy in your favorite chair my friends. Because this could take a while. Badger The “Total War” series has finally come full circle. I’ve always been captivated by Japanese culture and history. But starved of much in the way of exposure to it, unless you count multiple re-reads of James Clavells “Shogun” and re-watches of “The Water Margin”. So I waited in great anticipation for the release of “Shogun Total War” after its announcement back in 1999 and pounced on it on release in 2000. Set in Japan from 15th to 17th century, the first in the “Total War” series saw the player tasked with becoming Shogun (Supreme military ruler) over all the clans during the Sengoku Jidai (Warring States) period. It was a bold new venture for “The Creative Assembly” and a bit of a high risk gamble at the time, but little could they have known how huge the series would eventually become and how handsomely the gamble would pay off. Dancing gracefully around in history, “Total War” covered Medieval Japan, before moving onto Medieval Europe, which it revisited later in a sequel. It saw players lacing up their sandals in the early Roman Empire and eventually broadened its historical brush, challenging players to Carve out an Empire across the globe. But despite enjoying all those incarnations (though never having bought an add on pack) I can honestly say that none have captured my imagination more than the first and I was exited to discover that “CA” was revisiting Japan and thrilled when despite my worst fears, “Shogun 2” ran beautifully on my ageing rig. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/comparison.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Returning to 16th century Japan, “Shogun 2” once again pits you against the warring clans of the period in a bid to become supreme military ruler. But this time benefiting from the innovations, some subtle and some huge, built up through the series since its birth back at the millennium. I’m having great fun with it and wanted to tell you about the game, but not wanting to go down the route of a traditional “paws on” this time around I decided to try something a little different and though this is new territory for me, here is a “Battle Report” (Or “AAR” as you call them here in Combat sims hallowed halls) based on my first encounter with the enemy in my campaign. It’s handbags at dawn in the attack on Osumi Castle! I hope you enjoy it. “Shogun 2” allows you to play through a campaign as any of the warring clans. Each is different in difficulty depending on its position on the map, dictating how many immediate threats it has to its borders and each has different traits strengths and skills, which bring the potential for a variety of tactics in battle. Though my traditional leaning toward all things Bow, saw me very tempted to continue with the Chosokabe Clan (Played in the demo, masters of “the land” and master Bowmen) with their ability to recruit superior archers. (No, not the radio show!) I decided after much deliberation to go with the Shimazu Clan, whose expertise lies more in the area of swords. Starting out on the south westerly island of Kyushu, (the largest of Japans four main islands) the Shimazu have the sea to their backs and although technically are still open to attack from two borders, they are only openly at war with one of the clans involved and so this is considered an “easy” campaign. Just the thing for your Badger then. As with all “Total War” games, individual missions are issued to you during the course of your campaign, completion of which (or not) carries implications in the form of either rewards or consequences. My first mission is to take Osumi castle, currently held by my hated neighbour the Ito clan. My reward for success will be a boost to the number of units I can recruit at any one time. I need little excuse to attack the Ito in any case. Their arrogant Daimyo Ito Yoshisuke, Lord of Hyuga Province and all around bad egg, has dared to suggest that Ito haiku are more poignant, delicate and beautiful than Shimazu haiku! For this insult he must die horribly! (Some removal of head might be in the offing) As must his family, his clan and his Horses, Cows and Chickens. For obviously none are more poignant, delicate and beautiful than we! <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/map.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Osumi Castle is only a short march away and looks to be relatively undefended, but the approach of my general Tanegashima Tomokata on the campaign map reveals an Ito army of comparable size to our own, under the general Chiba Sukomochi, skulking a little way beyond the city walls. I take the executive decision to confront Sukomochi first, as I don’t want to be busy attacking Osumi and have this general turn up as reinforcements. Though our armies looked roughly balanced, it turns out Tomokata has the advantage over our enemy in terms of man power. But the task ahead of us is to eliminate Sukomochi while taking as few casualties as possible. As we still have the castle assault to contend with. Shimazu Forces Tomokata & Mounted Samurai bodyguard. 30 men. Yari Samurai 1 unit 120 men. (“Yari” is Spear.) Yari Ashigaru 2 units 300 men. Bow Ashigaru 2 units 240 men. Ito Forces Sukomochi and Light Cavalry unit 45 men. Yari Ashigaru 1 unit 150 men. Bow Ashigaru 2 units 240 men. “Ashigaru”, which translates as “Light Foot”, were chiefly commoners and low class warriors for hire, many of these would have been pressed into service. The long standing “Rock, Paper, Scissors theme of the “Total War” series continues with “Shogun 2”. “Yari Ashigaru” with their long spears could form a “wall” which spelled death for an ill conceived Cavalry charge. But they fared less well in standard melee against sword troops. “Bow Ashigaru” were poorly equipped and once they ran out of arrows they were easily despatched in melee. They were still expected to wade into the fray though… here’s hoping they at least had a good works pension scheme! Interestingly enough, the advent of firearms did not make the traditional Bowman obsolete. Initially at least the range of the Bowman was greater than that of the primitive firearm and in the time it took the firearm user to fire, reload and fire again, the Bow Ashigaru or faster Bow Samurai, could loose a dozen arrows into his enemies terrified ranks! <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/turnone.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> The first phase of the battle is the deployment stage, where whichever troops you have brought into the field can be arranged inside a defined area. This is your opportunity to pick a pre arranged battle formation or to arrange your own, playing to the strengths of the units you have and the terrain where the battle is to take place. Here the area was small plains and natural valleys, formed by numerous surrounding heavily wooded hills. A mist sat heavily in the valley floors (ah yes the mist…not great for screen shots. Sorry.) and perhaps this could be worked to our advantage. Mindful of having to take as few casualties as possible (surely desirable whatever the ongoing situation?) I decided to keep out of sight until I had determined the position and tactics of the enemy. (You can’t see them until after you finalise your deployment… D’oh!) So I started my men out on a hilltop behind the tree line. As the battle got underway I could see Sukomachi’s troops clustered on flat ground beyond the hill opposite and they seemed in no rush to go anywhere. Of course at this point they couldn’t see me and so were probably trying to decide where I was before taking any action. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/startingpositions.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> A cunning plan took shape. I would suggest to Sukomochi, where I might be. I would present him with a tempting target in the hopes of provoking a charge from his Light Cavalry. Whereupon my sacrificial lambs would turn out to be not so sacrificial after all. Disappearing back into the tree line, where the following Cavalry would instead encounter my Ashigaru spear wall! (Heh! A master plan!) <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/ashigaruspearwall.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> I marched my Yari Samurai down out of the woods, onto the plain beyond and into plain sight of the Ito dogs across the field. Their armour glinted in the morning sunlight and the sound of their marching ringing out clearly through the still air. Could they be any more tempting? Well apparently yes they could, as the Ito just sat there and stared at them, while Sukomochi ate sandwiches and crisps, pointing as he scoffed. This was almost too much of an insult to bear and with my superior numbers after all I could in theory just romp over there and clean house! Or could I?? Problem was that he had two units of Bow Ashigaru over there and they could do an awful lot of damage to my units as I charged across the field. Not to mention the fact that my depleted forces would also be tired by the time they arrived there and suddenly my advantage in numbers is not looking like quite such an advantage any more. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/theenemy.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Right then.. a variation on the original plan. If my Samurai were not tempting enough, how about Tomokata himself!? As Tomokata rode proudly onto the field, his thirty strong bodyguard clustered around him, the enemy reacted instantly! (Yes!!) Sukomochi’s Light Cavalry spurred forward and the rest of his troops started marching behind them. But they didn’t chase Tomokata.. They made a beeline for the hill next to them and vanished into the woodland at its top! (NO!!) <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/chaseme.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Alright, it’s time for a rethink. So far this battle is not going anywhere fast. Our sharp Katanas are as yet untested on enemy necks and now everybody is in the woods! Very scary for the squirrels, but not very good for the campaign. Somebody obviously had to break the deadlock and since I did have a time limit, it seemed obvious that “somebody” would have to be me. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/turnfour.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Selecting one unit each of Bow and Yari Ashigaru, I set them to marching through the woods to our left, emerging briefly between two hills before moving up into the woodland on the next one and working their way around to Sukomochi’s flank. This was a risky plan, (Bold plan.. I mean bold!) in that if it worked Sukomochi would split his forces once he realised the threat on his flank. But if on the other hand he committed his entire force to that flank and attacked? Well my pitiful units would be left dangling, alone beyond any possibility of my arriving in time to help and.. well … basically as Sun Tzu probably wouldn’t have said, up S*** creek without a paddle! It was a long grim march for those lonely units. But finally they were in position on Sukomochi’s left flank and carefully the Bow Ashigaru exposed themselves at the edge of the forest. Actually, that doesn’t sound right does it! I mean, they weren’t “mooning” the enemy or anything like that, although I suppose that would have got the job done just as well! <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/turnfive.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> At first things looked as though they might take a turn in the wrong direction. Except for one Yari Ashigaru unit, the whole Ito force moved through the woods toward the flank. It looked like my nightmare scenario. Then things looked up. The Light Cavalry rushed down the hill and made a charge across the gap. Stirred up into a killing frenzy they wanted my archers, wanted them bad! But my Bow unit simply retreated beyond thee tree line and suddenly it looked as though I might have a variation on my original plan unfolding right here. But the Cavalry stopped short of dashing into the woods and onto the spear points of my waiting Ashigaru. Perhaps some eureka moment or bolt of lightning persuaded Sukomochi not to charge blind into the unknown. Perhaps he thought that if he went down to the woods today, he was in for a big surprise, who knows. What we do know though is that it was only a half considered decision, because a moment later my archers were raining down arrows onto his “in the open” and now stationary horsemen. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/horsecarnage.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Men cried out and horses screamed as death rained down around them! Desperate to save his men Sukomochi yelled out the retreat and having lost fully half their unit, the survivors rode, panicked but not broken, back up the hill. Simultaneously the two units of Ito Bow Ashigaru arrived in firing position and started firing at my single unit. But while they were out in the open, my lone unit was firing from in the tree line and from a slightly more elevated position, so my men were more than holding their own against the superior Ito force and in fact were starting to make them regret their rash attack. Meanwhile back at the original battle line, the as yet unused and fully rested bulk of the Shimazu force, were eyeing the lone unit of Yari Ashigaru left unsupported by Sukomochi’s ill considered tactics and with a mighty yell Tomokata sent his troops screaming forward like an arrow from a bow, across the space between the hills and crashing into the unprepared enemy. The general himself galloped around the foot of the hill, with a mind to charge the two Ito archer units still engaged in a slow losing battle with my own men in the trees. This would almost certainly rout them immediately, making them easy pray for the generals bodyguard to chase down and finish off. It was at this point where “Shogun 2”’s AI did something unexpected. Brave or foolhardy is a question best answered by each reader, but certainly unexpected. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/CavClash.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> As Tomokata rounded the base of the hill and came into sight of his intended victims, Sukomochi and the remnants of his light Cavalry ambushed him, charging into his unprepared left flank! So the skulking general turned out to be a man of honour after all! His attack was swift and deadly, but ultimately doomed to failure. Tomokata’s bodyguard quickly gathered their senses and turned with fury in their hearts. By the time they were done the Ito Cavalry was gone. Not a man or horse was left standing. You might notice from the screenshot, that the horsemen are wearing what appear to be large balloons on their backs. Though apparently there is some disagreement among historians as to the full purpose of these balloons, called “Horo”. Most believe that they were used in a combination of decoration, arrow deflecting (you wouldn’t think so, but apparently they were pretty effective at that.) and an announcement on the battlefield that the wearer came from nobility. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/hillsiderout.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> A Samurai, having already offered his life to the Emperor and his Liege Lord, considered himself already dead on going into battle. But although he had little fear of death, he was still concerned about the treatment of his corpse. Apparently the victors would cut the heads off the corpses and wrap them in a piece of the skin from the Horo. Hmmmm…. Comforting. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/cavbowclash.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Having dealt the Ito a decisive blow with the loss of Sukomochi, Tomokata and his surviving bodyguard returned to their original plan and smashed headlong into the undefended flank of the Ito Yari Ashigaru. Their attention was so focussed on the almost invisible enemy in the woods, that they didn’t even see their death as it rode them down. Meanwhile the remaining Ito spearmen on the other side of the hill had routed and run in complete panic. Like their unfortunate Bow units, my attention was so keenly focussed on one particular part of the battle, that I failed to notice their dishonourable cowardice until they were too far away for any of my troops to intercept them and so the miserable dogs escaped with their heads on their shoulders. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/feelingIto.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> So, decisive victory and with most of my men unharmed! Ironic then that turning my attention to Osumi Castle (fought in a separate battle) I found that “virtually undefended” was closer to the mark than I had originally assumed. It seems that when a castle is left without defenders, the AI automatically places a special unit of Samurai retainers as a token defence. They are only 45 strong though and in this case were facing my Shimazu army of more than 600 men! I decided that as brave defenders they deserved an honourable death and I sent my Bow Ashigaru up to send them a message, backed up by my Yari Samurai to fight them when they came charging out of the gates. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/castledefenders.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> They didn’t come charging out of anywhere though! Oddly they just ran back and forth within the walls as 200 archers peppered them with flights of arrows from which they had nowhere to hide. So I fact their deaths were not honourable after all as one by one they succumbed to stinging death from the sky, until finally the last man fell, a human pin cushion! <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/pincussion.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> Ultimately then Osumi fell with more of a whimper than a bang, or did it? Lest I become complacent after my victory and rest too easy drinking herbal tea within Osumi’s walls. My spies tell me that the worthless survivors of the battle in the woods, ran until eventually they met up with General Yoshisuke himself! Daimyo and Lord of Hyuga province. Assimilated into his force despite their unworthiness, they now seem likely to face me again in the near future. <img src='http://i609.photobucket.com/albums/tt178/GreyBadger/map2.jpg' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /> So there sits Yoshisuke on my border, with an even larger army than I faced before. It seems likely that the walls of Osumi have not yet seen their full quota of blood and that this time it will be my turn to defend it. It seems my quest to crush the Ito and silence their inferior haiku forever is far from over. This post has been promoted to the Articles and News section.
  14. Yes, that makes much more sense Badger
  15. Afternoon all Well this post feels like it belongs in "Strategy & RPG". But it's not military.... so I'm just going to chuck it in here and let the powers that be move or not as suits. There's no point in trying to defend street cred that I never had in the first place and so I feel safe telling you that I am a closet "War Hammer" fan. Which is to say that I've always been fascinated by the concept, but too cool a customer to stand at the table. Always loved the little figures, but not happy to roll the dice in public. Ok draping the Anorak over my shoulders...... but I'm not zipping that bad boy up! Last year I spent sixty squids on the re-imagined "Space Hulk" board game (How Much?!!) and have only managed to play it twice, with "she who must be obeyed", who is long suffering and indulgent of my occasional bout of geekiness. So it was with some glee that I discovered that "Cyanide Studios" were collaborating with "Games Workshop", to release "Blood Bowl" for the PC (And consoles.. or at least the 360. Not sure about the PS3) and reliant on a good demo I decided that I might ask Santa to bring it to me for Christmas. Of course my PC went pear shaped at the beginning of December and scuppered that plan. But in celebration of having now got it back and in recognition of the fact that despite a local bandit telling me it'd cost £130 to repair, I actually managed to get it done for zero pounds, (That's zero down and one easy payment of zero!) I've been allowed a little treat and so......... "Blood Bowl". Huzzah! For those who don't have the faintest idea what I'm warbling on about, (That's unusual right?) imagine American Football, but played by Middle Earthian (is that even a word?) types, with a spiked ball and a "no holes barred" rulebook which positively applauds fowling, ref bribing, paying fans to riot, head stomping and the odd fatality on the pitch! As you'll have guessed this is an re-imagining of the "Games Workshop" board game and as such can be played as per those rules, or in "Blitz Mode" which is an adaptation of the original rulebook for, I presume, the purposes of giving it a little more mass appeal. "Blitz Mode" and "turn based" is where your Badger has set up camp, although this mode also features a real time variant as well. The game is played over two halves, each with sixteen turns and the side which scores the most touchdowns in that time is the winner. Of course it's never quite so simple is it, and while moving about the pitch you have to deal with certain restrictions. For example (and keep in mind I'm still learning the rules.) you can tackle an opposing player on an adjacent square regardless of whether or not he has the ball (the harder and more permanently he goes down, the better!) you can pick up the ball, move and throw it. But if you want to move to another player and tackle him, that's called a "blitz" and only one player can do it per turn. All this and you also have to bear in mind that all the squares around a players feet are his "tackle zone" and moving into these puts you at risk of a tackle on the way in and on the way out unless you successfully dodge. Which applies to any tackle zones you cross for multiple players! (Hey, don't forget this is all based on a dice rolling board game.) Meanwhile any time ANYTHING goes wrong, you incur the dreaded "Turnover" which means that your turn ends regardless of how far into it you were and play reverts to the opposition. So you can see how a trip up the pitch is suddenly an exercise fraught with danger and I'm sure you'll be surprised to learn that..... I'm REALLY bad at it! My team, "Badgers Brawlers" just finished their first season without winning a single game and in all those matches I only managed to achieve one touchdown! Right at the end of the final match there was the chance of a second... but I'll tell you about that in a minute. Meantime I should tell you that despite how spoddy this all sounds, it has to be the best sports game I've played in ages! Not since the excellent "Speed Ball 2" have I sat for such long sessions with a sports game and not since then have I cared about the fate of individual players! All of whom are nameable by the way and each of whom I'm told can potentially die!!! Nooo! Thankfully that's not happened to me yet and "Badgers Brawlers" (a Dwarf team by the way) though battered and bruised, are at least all in one piece. (The rumour that I named the team after Star Trek characters, may or may not be unfounded!) But onto that second touchdown... Scotty a Dwarf runner, (fast but lightly armoured) had the ball and was flanked by his team mates in what in game terms is called a box. This stops the opposition waltzing up and taking the ball, without incurring tackle attempts from anyone touching the runners square. Our box was pretty much surrounded, but in an uncharacteristically efficient turn I had managed to take down the enemy all along one side of it, effectively opening a window to a clear run up the pitch and I set Scotty to it. He managed to get just over half way up the pitch before running out of steam (turn ending) but nobody was in a position to catch him and it looked as though on his next turn he would be able to reach the scoring zone! Sure enough the other side couldn't get close in their turn. Some of them had to use their points getting up where I'd knocked them down and those who could run were out of range! My turn again. Straight away I clicked on Scotty and realized that while not out of reach, the scoring line and the square before it were both at the extreme end of his range. Reachable... but only by invoking "go for it" which means that each extra square carries a chance of the player simply falling over, possibly injuring or even killing himself and of course dropping the ball! Well, looking around I was sure that the other side still couldn't stop me on their next turn and as long as I hadn't miscalculated in this regard, my next go would see Scotty walk over the line to a glorious touchdown! Why would I risk that to gamble on the "go for it" squares, just because I was impatient. No! Nothing would rob me of my moment. Nothing! I'd wait a turn. I clicked on "end turn" and....... "MATCH OVER!" WHAT????!!!! I hadn't been looking at the turn counter at the top of the screen and I'd been playing my final turn! If I'd gone for it and he'd made the score, it would have effectively been as the end or game horn sounded, a magnificent score!! Just how stupid do you have to be to.... oh.. I just don't want to talk about it any more. It's not without its peeves of course. Chief among which for me at the moment is how inept your players are. Ok fine so they're a rookie team, but when all's said and done they're still athletes after all and should be capable of picking up, throwing and catching a ball without the overwhelming number of fumbles which occur. All of which is magnified if you try to use a player to do something which is not his specialty. Also of course being based on a "War Hammer" title, the basic game is easy to pick up, but there are a bewildering number of rules to get you head around to be properly effective. Particularly if you decide to chance your arm in an online league. (Not that I've been so brave. Or would be even if I was capable) On the whole though, great game and really glad I had a flutter on it. If you have a remotely geeky bone in your body, you should give it a go as well. Particularly if like me you see it at a budget price. Badger NB: By the way, beware the console versions (Not that this applies to most of you fellas anyway) which I am told are not even close to the quality of the PC version in terms of visuals, game play mechanics and also free downloads. You get a free Dark Elf team download with the PC version.
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