Well, Labor Day has come and gone. The summer is over and it’s back to the real world soon enough. Admittedly, I have not paid much attention to what’s been happening on the wargame front in recent months. I’ve started to get caught up on news in the wargaming community and it has come to my attention that there’s an interesting game in the later stages of development right now and seems to have slipped entirely under my radar. Regiments by Microprose is not a wargame in the traditional sense. In fact, it falls under the category of real-time strategy (RTS), a sub-genre of strategy video games. Yep, Regiments will run on a PC, not a tabletop.
To be specific, Regiments is a tactical RTS that puts the player on the ground in Central Europe during a hypothetical Cold War Gone Hot conflict in 1989. US, Russian, West German and East German units can be commanded. In the spirit of full disclosure, you do not command a full regiment at the start of a scenario or campaign. You cobble together a scratch unit comprised of armor, mechanized infantry, air defense and other platoon-sized elements. As the battle goes on, players can bring in reinforcements and off-map support depending on player progress. These new units include artillery, close air support or replacements.
The mechanics of gameplay are not new. Other RTS titles such as the Wargame series and World In Conflict run along the same lines. Any player with experience in those games will likely catch on to Regiments relatively quick. The graphics seem to be vastly improved from those earlier titles, which comes as no surprise. Eight years have passed between the release of the final installment of the Wargame series and the present day. I was never a big Wargame fan, but I did spend a good chunk of time back in 2007-08 playing World In Conflict and enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, I was never invested in WIC the way I am in Harpoon, Command or The Operational Art of War. If anything, the Red Dawn-ish back story attached to the game was the most attractive component of WIC. Soviet troops on American soil in the middle of World War III. Nice fodder there for scenario designing and fiction writing.
As a wargamer, I was disappointed to be restricted to following a pre-scripted chain of scenarios instead of commanding a realistically sculpted army through a fluid campaign. Regiments seems like it will be much of the same, sadly enough. I hope I’m wrong because I have a soft spot for Microprose and want them to succeed. Their games were a major component of my childhood. I support the company’s resurgence 100% but I’m on the fence over this title. Regiments is slated to come out later in the year and I’ll probably end up trying it out in spite of my reservations.