Sunday Almanac, 16 December 2012

To the German commander: Nuts.

A Sherman from the 101st Airborne at Bastogne in 1944. Image from AHCO.

Since Battle of the Bulge was released this past Thursday, I’ve managed to get in a goodly number of multiplayer games with PT readers and forum urchins. It really is brilliant fun. Any fear I may have had about the endurance of the game’s appeal has been assuaged. The Race to the Meuse campaign is a great warmup, but once you have the mechanics of game down then the true multiplayer magic happens in the longer Battle of the Bulge campaign where there’s more time to lay traps, and likewise walk into them.

If there’s a knock on multiplayer Bulge, it’s that being the Americans is largely not fun on day one of the campaign – after making what few moves are available to you following the Axis surprise attack, you’ll be hitting the pass button several times while your opponent’s panzers scoot around the map laying waste to your scattered divisions. That all starts to change on day two, of course (and then really changes on day three when the 82nd and 101st arrive), but it would be nice if there was an option to skip all remaining moves for the day – it would make the opening of the campaign an easier burden to bear for the Allied player.

To accompany Bulge, I’m reading A Time for Trumpets, which a more knowledgable friend informs me is the definitive history of the battle. The author was himself a company commander in the Ardennes. It’s damned good so far.

Some Sunday links.

  • My beloved New York Times acquits itself very poorly indeed in this one-sided profile of Activision boss Bobby Kotick. The divisive CEO is painted as a scrappy business genius and his poor reputation with gamers is given voice by a single quote from Penny Arcade Report‘s Ben Kuchera, which has been cherry-picked to be as Comic Book Guy as possible.
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