I really want you to watch the trailer for Musket Smoke before you make your mind up about it. It’s a Napoleonic hex wargame, which just happens to be one of my favourite diversions, but I know that hexes turn some people right off because they suggest games of dry detachment.
Musket Smoke is more sanguine than your average hex wargame; literally. When a unit is killed in Musket Smoke, it leaves a bloody “gore pile” that affects the morale of nearby units. The game is full of little touches like this: sound effects and animations that make the wargame a less abstract representation of warfare. My favourite bit might be the titular musket smoke that starts to fill the battlefield after your cannons and musketeers have been in action, making it impossible to aim at units beyond the haze.
Musket Smoke will be free to download and play against the skirmish AI or in a Game Center multiplayer battle, with an in-app purchase to unlock the online campaign, a series of linked battles that you play against a Game Center friend or a rando. Creator Woodie Dovich (who works as Snowpunch Games) tells me that the game is about to soft-launch in Nippon, and the rest of us will get to play in a couple of weeks. The trailer’s below.