A new year, lots to look forward to, perhaps a time to reflect on the year gone past, too. That’s what the fine folks at Strategy and Wargaming did and put together a list of the 5 best strategy games of 2022.
Included in the list is one of the first game releases by Matrix Games for 2022: Campaign Series: Vietnam 1948-1967.
The 5 Best Strategy Games of 2022 – Click the image to read the article!
Here’s what they had on their minds regarding CS: Vietnam:
Campaign Series: Vietnam is a classical hex-based, IGO-UGO, operational (and tactical) level wargame focusing on the jungle conflicts of Indo-China, with scenarios spanning several conflicts, starting with the First Indochina War, from 1948 to 1954 all the way to the late 1960s with the American invasion of Vietnam. In between both conflicts, CS: Vietnam also represents the South Vietnamese Civil War of 1955-1964.
It’s a wargamer’s game for those interested in Vietnam; what it isn’t, is a game that will please every palate, if you don’t enjoy jungle warfare and/or love the idea of playing a classical hex-based game then this isn’t the one for you. If you happen to be one that loves both, then I’m happy to give it my endorsement. CS: Vietnam isn’t going to be known as a wargame trailblazer (unlike the excellent Decisive Campaigns: Ardennes Offensive), its developing team decided to play it safe but there are some new things in here that set it apart from the game it’s based on (the original Talonsoft Campaign Series) such as airborne units (there’s a surprising degree of control for helicopters), different factions can have different objectives and supplies play a major role. The game isn’t lacking in the content department either, with more than 100 scenarios reflecting the changing nature of jungle warfare from the late 1940s to the mid-60s.
In Strategy and Wargaming’s 3 and a half stars review, it was stated that “I might be becoming an old bat that enjoys slow-paced, methodical turn-based games. Given that the last game on this website to receive a 5-star rating was Ardennes Offensive- a truly unique gem of a game that improved on the genre in almost every way- I don’t think it’s fair to attribute the same score to Campaign Series, mainly because it stays so glued to the typical wargame formula it’s hard to praise something for playing it too safe. I also don’t know enough about the Indochina Wars to fully appreciate the game and I’m almost certain that if I did, there would be little doubt in my mind that Campaign Series: Vietnam would earn four and a half stars based on mechanics and details alone. If you don’t enjoy the Vietnam style of warfare, then Campaign Series’ latest endeavor might be a hard sell if you’ve grown accustomed to more modern titles.
• Ambush situations will now come with assault background sounds.
• Implemented several new CSEE functions: attack_nearest_arc(), hexes_habitat().
• Enhanced Developer debugging.
• Fixed a hex spotting issue affecting artillery and airstrike scatter.
• Fixed a unit concealment issue involving helicopters.
• Fixed an off-road movement issue.
• Fixed an issue where on-map LZ markers might fail to show intermittently.
• Fixed a CSEE/SAI bug involving Leaders/HQs in some circumstances failing to follow movement orders properly.
• Fixed several other CSEE glitches/bugs and made other improvements.
• Fixed other minor bugs and made other minor code improvements.
• Revised A Week in Mekong campaign BMPs.
• Revised new Rice icon 3D graphics.
• Revised the artillery scatter probability.
• Revised the airstrike scatter probability.
• Revised A Week in Mekong scripting to remedy issues found during play.
• Revised A Week in Mekong map.
• Revised A Week in Binh Long scripting to remedy issues found during play.
• Revised several scenarios to explicitly account for onmap_only in functions such as: within(), in_area(), in_box(), and several others.
Having just uploaded another set of Avalon Hill’s PanzerBlitz boardgame situation conversions to TheBlitz wargaming club’s scenario database, I thought I’d write down a list of all scenarios Alan R. Arvold has created for Campaign Series. It is a lot.
As many of his scenario sets beging with “Ode to…” , what better name for this blog than “Ode to Alan”.
Here goes! To say he’s been prolific would be quite an understatement. I am likely to have forgotten something, so will keep updating this as I go on.
Alan Arvold (right) and CS Legion lead programmer Berto (left)
Ode to PanzerBlitz covers the original twelve (12) PB situation cards from the classic. Ode to PanzerBlitz II then covers the situations 13 to 25, as they appeared in Avalon Hill’s GENERAL magazine. Fourteen (14) more exciting PB scenarios! Ode to PanzerBlitz III is a six (6) scenario set of situations set in 1941. Five of these scenarios came from the article “Panzerblitz 1941” by Ramiro Cruz, in General Vol.13, #3. The other scenario came out of “1941 Panzerblitz” by William A. Farone, in General Vol.14, #3.
Ode to PanzerBlitz IV is another six (6) scenario set, this time covering the year 1942. These six scenarios follow the particular theme of having all occurred in 1942. They were originally published in the article “The Forgotten Year: Panzerblitz Situations for 1942” by David Howery in the General Vol.26, #2. Ode to PanzerBlitz V is an eight (8) scenario ste by Alan himself. These scenarios are conversions of the six situations he published in the article “New Expressions for a Familiar Face” in the General Vol.28, #3 and also a couple of situations published way back in the early 1970s in the same magazine. Finally, Ode to PanzerBlitz 6 is a nine (9) scenario set of miscellaneous situations, one of them made in Alan’s name: Arvold’s Honor.
We’re at 55 scenarios at this point.
Panssari Salama, Finnish for Tank Lightning, making as much sense as the pseudo-German word PanzerBlitz, covers PB situations originally designed by Michael Benninghof of the Panzer Grenadier boardgame fame in 1980s. There’s ten (10) scenarios covering the Russo-Finnish front from 1939 to 1944.
Tactical Game 3 is a most interesting one as it covers wargame legend James Dunnigan’s test game for miniatures based armored warfare on the Eastern Front in 1944. There’s six (6) scenarios here.
Two more sets to introduce here. Tournament Scenarios are four (4) scenarios designed for PB tournaments, converted here for East Front. Finally, as a bonus with all the pun intended, is the East Front Bonus Set. It contains ten (10) scenarios which were originally made for Panzerblitz, either for the Imaginative Strategists website or the WBC Panzerblitz tournament, by other authors. With their permission Alan converted them to East Front and posted them on Games Depot years ago. Although he converted them, he put the original authors names as the designers in the scenarios.
That’s 30 scenarios more, so we’re at 85 scenarios now.
The James Johnson Liberation Ruleset conversions
Oh, but we’re still just getting started. As the next batch, let us cover the conversions Alan did with James Johnson’s Liberation ruleset situations. The link under the scenario set name points to an introductory post at Matrix JTCS forum, followed by a link to The Blitz scenario database at the end.
PanzerBlitz: Grossdeutschland was originally an 17 scenario set created by James Johnson. He created these to show the battles of the Grossdeutschland Division during the critical eleven-month period from the Kursk battles in July of 1943 to the battle of Targu Furmos in May of 1944. As a bonus, there’s also one scenario for JTCS West Front, depicting elements of GD battling it out at Normandy as part of the 21st PzD. These eighteen (18) scenarios are available at The Blitz, too.
That’s 48 more scenarios, we’re now at 133 scenarios.
Battle of Kursk – Prokhorovka
In addition to boardgame conversions, Alan’s a prolific history enthusiasist, and has studied the battle of Prokhorovka in great detail. These are quite the monsters (!), so describing each of these at a time.
Prokhorovka – The Ultimate Battle and Prokhorovka – The Expanded Battle as described at The Blitz, are follow-up works on Alan’s first versions for the battle, originally posted at GamesDepot. Those were based with maps having a wrong scale, so he converted them to 250 m hexes as how JTCS East Front scale is. He created a version for both the German and Soviet player, so there’s four (4) scenarios in total there.
Prokhorovka – The Historical Battle is indeed the proverbial historical version of the battle of Prokhorovka, based on data provided by Christopher Lawrence’s monumental work “Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka”. This book is now considered to be the definitive source on the battle of Prokhorovka. This book has not only stripped away the last of old myths frequently published as facts about the battle, but also has put to rest those assumptions and more recent incorrect conclusions that have subconsiously influenced the interpetations of events and their sequence by various historians over the past fifty years. It has also provided the most definitive order of battles for both sides of the battle to date. There’s a version for German and Soviet player here as well, so two (29 more scenarios to the tally. Available at The Blitz.
These are quite the monsters, almost too big for the game engine to handle, but there you are! Want to be there as it was (as far as a computer game tells it), here’s your chance.
Ode to Panzer Leader covers the original Panzerblitz Situations 1 through 12, in twelve (12) scenarios, while the eight (8) scenarios strong Ode to Panzer Leader II covers the remaining original Panzer Leader Situations 13 through 20.
Ode to Panzer Leader III set of ten (10) scenarios cover the Panzer Leader France 1940 Situations 1 through 10 as they were made available in AH GENERAL magazine. Probably my personal favourite of all these! Early war equipment seems to work the best in these quite small maps, imho.
Ode to Panzer Leader IV scenarios presented here are from the articles “Para-Leader” by Oscar Oates, in the General magazine Volume 20, #2 and from “Dieppe: Canadians Under Fire” by Mark L. Shannon, in the General magazine Volume 21, #3. Nine of the scenarios presented here feature paratroop operations and the other features the great raid at Dieppe. There’s ten (10) scenarios in total here.
Ode to Panzer Leader V In this set are the six (6) scenarios from the article “The Paths of Rommel: New Scenarios for Panzer Leader 1940” by Daniel Helmbrecht, which were published in the General Vol.22, #3.
Ode to Panzer Leader VI is a ten (10) scenario set from various articles in Avalon Hill GENERAL magazine. These articles were “The Battle of Arracourt; New Scenarios for Panzer Leader” by Alan himself in the General Vol.28. #4; “Operation Rescue: Panzer Leader Situation 31-6” by F. Pierce Eichelberger in the General Vol.31, #6; “Tournament Scenarios for Panzer Leader” by Bill Scott in the General Vol.31, #4; “The Red Ball Express: Logistics in Panzer Leader” by Elwood Carlson in the General Vol.14, #1, and “Situation 207” by Roy Easton in the General Vol.9, #3. As a personal note, Alan’s article on Arracourt was the first time I bumped into his work, from the GENERAL magazine. I had never heard of Arracourt before, despite of the size of the battle.
Ode to Panzer Leader VII contains five (5) scenarios from two articles by Roy Easton from the General magazine (Vol 12-2 and 13-5) depicting clashes between the Soviets and the Western Allies, both at the end of the war in 1945 and also during the Berlin Airlift of 1948.
PanzerBlitz Hill of Death, Carentan, a ten (10) scenario set. Back in 2009, the wargame “Panzerblitz: Hill of Death” was published and released to the public. Advertised as the direct next generation descendent of the original Panzerblitz it was in reality a very distant descendent as many generations of tactical armored warfare games had come and gone in the 39 years between the release of both games. This scenario set also includes the Panzerblitz Carentan set of scenarios. Again, as a personal note, I have the boardgame and quite enjoy it, despite of the relative flak the game took for reusing the famous PanzerBlitz brand for what essentially is a new game. PanzerBlitz2, I quite like you, too!
That’s 71 new scenarios so we’re at 218 scenarios now and still counting…
Six Days of Battle of Arracourt
Originally I had missed this scenario set in the post, here they are, as introduced in the Matrix JTCS forum. These are not the same as the ones Alan I did for the GENERAL magazine, this uses the actual terrain that the battle occurred on and per Alan’s word can be considered his magnum opus for the West Front section, as much as he considers Prokhorovka as his magnum opus for East Front.
Links to The Blitz scenario database are in the JTCS forum post, linked in the previous paragraph. Six (6) scenarios added to the tally!
Ode to Banzai Blitz is a set of eight (8) scenarios covering the original Banzai Blitz Situations 1 through 8 as they were made available in Spartan Journal #10 (1976).
Ode to Banzai Blitz Suribachi was originally a variant article entitled “Suribachi: The Battle of Iwo Jima” for the game Panzerblitz, published in the Spartan Journal #3 back in 1972. There’s thirteen (13) scenarios to keep you busy here.
Twentyone more scenarios, so we’re at 245 scenarios now.
Campaign Series: Middle East 1948-1985
Ode to Arab-Israeli Wars
Ode to Avalon Hill’s classic Arab-Israeli Wars scenario set is quite something. You might expect to see any and all AIW articles and situations written available here, and if you did just that, right you were.
Scenarios 1-24 are the original situations in the game, scenarios 25-29 are situations Alan himself wrote in the 1980s for the 1956 war, scenarios 30-40 cover the 1967 war, scenarios 41-54 cover the 1973 war, and scenarios 55-60 cover the 1982 war.
These scenarios are included in the Campaign Series: Middle East Mods folder as part of the game install.
Ode to October War
October War was a game by SPI that came out in 1977 in the magazine “Strategy & Tactics”, in issue number 61. There are fifteen scenarios in October War, thirteen that came with the game and two more which were published in Moves magazine #32. Here’s the Matrix Middle East forum post introducing this scenario set. Of the fifteen scenarios, four of them are with alternate maps, for a proper depiction of the Suez canal, so overall this set includes not fifteen but nineteen (19) scenarios.
These scenarios are included in the Campaign Series: Middle East Mods folder as part of the game install.
Ode to Divided Ground
Remember Divided Ground, Talonsoft’s PC game of Arab Israeli Wars in the early 2000s? A project, despite of being resourced by a bunch of truly talented individuals, that resulted in a somewhat troubled release due to the project schedule being shortened dramatically as Talonsoft hit the financial dire straits. Alan went through each of the Divided Ground scenario, revising them to modern standards as a scenario pack for the CS Middle East game.
Here’s the introductory post, again from the Middle East Matrix forum. This scenario pack the original bootcamps as well as all the battles depicted in the original Talonsoft game. That’s seventy (70) scnearios right there!
As a bonus – and of course there’s one! – Alan also included a conversion of the eight (8) situations from the “Suez ’73 – The Battle for the Chinese Farm” board game. I will try to remember to have these as a separate scenario pack to Middle East 3.0 UPDATE, estimated to be avaialble at the end of this year.
These scenarios are included in the Campaign Series: Middle East Mods folder as part of the game install as well.
This is a whopping 78 scenario set in total, and with the AIW and OW scenario sets, we’re now at a total of 402 boargame conversions by Alan (with the missing Arracourt scenarios now added).
Alan R. Arvold, ladies and gentlemen! We salute you.
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