I have been remiss with my Blog posts of late but Beta Testing started in Late February and it’s been flat out ever since.
We have an excellent team of testers who have taken the game to the cleaners, held it down and forcibly sloshed water into dark places.
Which is a good thing as the game is slowly starting to shape up and may even pass morning muster.
Whole armies of bugs have met their doom, unwieldy game mechanics have been streamlined and balancing continues apace.
Beta 4 has just been released and there have been many changes. Here’s a quick rundown.
The game is now more flexible and able to cater for a much wider range of personal tastes.
The on map information display have been improved. Logistical pipelines now let you know which Truck Columns are serving which Panzergruppe, for example. Airfields are shown on the map as are Baltic Convoy routes. There’s better indication of any Action Point penalties that might exist in a hex.
Relationship levels with key characters have been integrated into more game mechanics. If you have poor relations with F.M von Rundstedt, for example, Theatre Commander of AGS, then all related Action Cards will cost more. Don’t upset Reichsmarschall Göring if you’re in desperate need of Luftwaffe resupply.
To emphasise the importance of your various relationships there is now a special tab that can be left open at all times, if desired.
Dynamic tool tips will give you a summary of all current game effects that result from your current relationship level with that character.
You’ll notice in the picture above that there is a new yellow button with a blue ‘R’. This will enable you to quickly obtain a Status Report on any Division in the game.
The amount of information tracked for each Division has slowly crept up as is now close to thirty separate data points (excluding straight stat’s). When a Division reports back it’ll only show you the ones that are relevant.
You’ll notice from the above that postures have had a makeover. The Soviets are still Offensive, Neutral and Defensive but the Germans have changed to Blitzkrieg, Sustained Offensive and Defence with a different set of modifiers.
Needless to say that leaving Armies or Panzergruppes on an all out Blitzkrieg posture for any length of time will lead to problems.
HQ’s now report their status just like Divisions.
General Busch, he of the 16th Army, has just had his early morning coffee and is ready to lead his men forward at the start of the campaign. General Busch is in excellent spirits and has promised his children that he’ll be home for Christmas with a piece of the Kremlin.
Colonel General Hoth, no nonsense, hard living, leader of the 3rd Panzergruppe, on the other hand, isn’t thnking about Christmas presents as he has enough to worry about already.
Tool tips abound to let you know exactly why Colonel General Hoth is reaching for the Schnaps and not the coffee.
Or you could check the new Panzergruppe tab.
Dynamic tool tips, once again, keep you up to date with all things Panzer.
The default settings have proven to give a tough game for both sides. Balancing has gone through a number of iterations and this will continue. Still not quite where it should be but closing in.
There are special ‘Helper’ buttons to give you a hand up if you’re stuck. These, as you’d expect, come at a cost and there is an option to turn them off if you’d prefer to play the game standing on your own two feet.
Another big change is the way the game handles Difficulty, Scores and Victory Conditions. There is a fairly detailed system in there now that attempts to give both sides a fighting chance of achieving a win, regardless of any advantages one side may have.
The German player has a range of possible strategies he can select from at the start of the game. Each of these come with their own set of pros and cons. The Soviet player also gets to choose an objective that must be defended at all costs.
How these two opposing goals interact, along with a difficulty adjusted score, determines who takes home the Oscar and what colour it will be.
You’ll notice that, in the example above, the Player has chosen the ‘Support Hitler’ strategy (it’s the very start of the game) which comes with much assistance from the Führer himself. The downside is that the Führer is a man of whims and you may find your objective changing as a result of a Directive.
Enough of the Germans.
Let’s talk about the Soviets.