Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wrapping my head around AGEOD's World War One Gold

I like AGEOD wargames I really do. I still do not like their combat resolution however (the combat wheel is just weird and the icons and the results are too abstract for me). I just couldn't get into Revolution Under Siege mainly due to the fact that since Birth of America 2 I feel their games have become clunkier and the game system is not keeping up with the times. I attribute this to my unwillingness to learn that annoying command system with stacks and leaders and detachments and all that garbage. While mostly my fault I still feel that is the worst explained issue in their latest games as well as their wonky thus unfathomable supply system.

I have had WW1 Gold for a while because it seemed to be the best game on the subject matter. While I wanted to try HPS SIMS France 1914 I felt that it was a Panzer Campaigns game just with more restrictive movement rules and new unit pics and didn't think I could get into it. If anyone has played France 1914 and thinks it is the best out there let me know. God knows another 40 bucks to them won't kill me since they already own my first born.

Way back in the day I beta tested Guns of August and have that on my hard drive as well. For some reason that game always seemed flat to me I do not know why. Also I wanted some sort of global conflict simulator. WW1 Gold seemed to be the natural choice but the amount of bugs and that crazy orientation of the map that the original version of the game shipped with turned me off. Once Gold version was released and the map was turned to go east to west instead of north to south that alleviated a lot of issues for me right off the start.

So now I sit and try to learn this game, with its terrible in game tutorial and grammatical errors, and still find it very frustrating to play. The interface in a wargame has to be slick, and this one has serious issues with clicking, picking up and moving units. What is the best way to get around this? The bars under a soldier icon in a area are not cutting it for me. I drag and drop, and half the time it wont pick a unit up or it just de selects the area or doesn't register that I grabbed a unit. How do others move stacks or stacks within an area effectively?

In the screenshot below, why is the REPORTS window so small (bottom of the screen)? Is that a chat window thing? Do I have to enlarge that somehow? Is it a graphical glitch?

I will keep trying using web references and mods to make the game work to my liking but I am thinking that with the other titles on my hard drive struggling this much to just move around and get working in a game is more than I can tolerate. In most wargames you have about 30 minutes to grab me. I can usually tell if something is just not working right and I refuse to wrestle with interfaces and bugs. I want to like WW1 gold so I will keep diving in but man that click and drag interface is absolutely terrible.

Some resources I am consulting:

The HOW IT WORKS thread on the AGEOD forums:

A new sound mod which can be found here. The combat sounds of "Charge" and "Retreat" that ship with the game are laughable and should be an embarrassment for any company that wants money for a wargaming title.

I am also using a mod to brighten up the map. Why it is so dark I have no idea. When you go to drag and drop a unit the silhouette is sometimes drowned out by how dark the area is. Here is where I got the mod:

Last but not least the Syt learns to play WW1 AAR on the AGEOD forums. If you go through this you will learn the game. One page at a time. Also see the Schlieffen Plan AAR in that same forum. All of those are located here:

So here we go. I will struggle with this game for a couple more days since I am getting my fill of HPS games thanks to a playtest and Squad Battles and all that fun stuff. Sometimes I need a change and usually it makes me very thankful for the easy interface in the HPS games or in titles like War in the East. If anyone else has played WW1 Gold and has some tips leave them in the comments section please. By the way I got the game super cheap on Gamers Gate. Matrix Games wants more money for it so avoid that for now.