I must confess that I really do not know how C. C. S. do it. One minute they put out a truly enthralling games such as The Prince, the next they try to foist the most awful garbage on us, like Blue Riband. Then they bounce back again with an excellent offering like Insurgency. I must confess to being totally baffled. Insurgency is a two-player game of guerrilla warfare in which one player is the Sandinistas, or the VC's, while the other is the usual fascist oppressor. There is a selection of 100 maps to play on an each contains a number of villages connected by roads, several areas of jungle (accessible to guerrillas and army helicopters) and mountains (accessible to all) In each map the guerrillas are being supplied from the North and the army from the South. Supplies arrive by air through the game, but you have to be able to collect them. The army has a wider choice of units, with armour, aircraft, artillery, trucks and medics, but the guerrillas have an advantage of being able to move faster through the jungle, thus remaining out of reach.
As the game progresses each side builds up a picture of the other's position by means of intelligence reports, and then they attempt to take over villages, block roads with mines and so on. The guerrillas can recruit villagers and provide them with food and arms. But the army medics can improve their health, which helps to bring them back into the government fold.
The number of options available at any one time is amazingly high and I got really involved in running my Mujaheddin campaign. As with The Prince- though, the drawback is that only one player is supposed to be at the screen at any time, which strikes me as something of a contradiction when you consider that multi-player games are supposed to bring increased sociability. The graphics also leave something to be desired (although they are well up to the usual strategy game standard - which isn't very high). All in all, however, a very impressive game, and the author one to watch for the future.
A very clever two-hander, government vs. guerrillas in a third world country. The uniformed mob, working to a budget, get 20 combat units (infantry, armour, choppers, jets and artillery) plus support (engineers, trucks , intelligence, medics and command), while the black pyjama brigade make do with 12 service units (guerrillas with or without radios, flak ad supply planes) plus spies, command, food and arms supplies.
Having picked their mix, both sides are placed on one of 100 maps showing villages, rivers, bridges, roads, mountains and jungles. Weather reports are given for the next (two week) turn and a more or less accurate forecast for the one after. The guerrillas get some reports from spies, supply units, lay ambushes, give or take food from the locals, lay mines, recruit villagers or move. The government gets equally unreliable intelligence reports, does an aerial reconnaissance sweep, supplies, build roads and bridges, fortifies villages, gives or takes food, uses transport or moves. News reports give out more unreliable information and, eventually, declares the winner.
A very useful print facility will provide copies of the map and unit breakdowns, useful stuff for serious players as it's very easy to lose track. As in real life, there are no quick short-cuts to victory and, with the guerrillas looking at a 30 turns deadline, both sides must try and accumulate a mass of small pay-offs that will add up to success. Getting all that detail onto a Spectrum window means that everything is pretty small, so you really have to pay attention to details. Serious stuff.
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
FROM: CDS, £5.95
Ever fancied yourself as a bit of a Che Guevera, fighting for the freedom of the people? Or, for that matter, a government, battling for democracy and stability in a tiny state? If so, then C.C.S.'s latest release, Insurgency, will appeal to you.
The cassette describes the game as simulating 'a campaign of subversion in an isolated region of a third world state that has come to a head'. It's a story that will be all too familiar to anyone who reads the newspaper: martial law, task forces hunting down dissidents, neighbouring countries supporting guerilla forces.
It's a two-player game, with one player taking the part of the rebels, the other controlling state forces. Whichever role you choose to play - you will have an equal number of complicated options and eventualities to juggle with.
The tape contains two programs. The first holds the routine which sets up the game - the two players choosing the various forces with which they will wage the campaign, and the map upon which it will be fought.
The next program uses this data for the game itself, a complex affair in which the players can move forces, occupy villages, bring in new supplies, receive intelligence reports... and so on.
As you can tell the game is fairly complicated, so arcade aces who cannot think beyond the trajectory of their next missile should give this one a miss.
Graphically it is quite well done, the map being clear and easy to understand. The text is laid out neatly and with some thought and is therefore simple to follow. Sound is necessarily limited to informative beepings, and the controls are limited to the keyboard.
It is difficult to follow at first and takes a lot of thinking - every tactical nuance will not be immediately obvious. If you do enjoy tactical games, then this is about as good as they come.
Although this game is in Basic it's quite quick and there's a lot to think about. The graphics are fair and there is sound. The main criticism I have is the fact that two players must play - there is no option Of playing against the computer - so while one person sees his instructions, the other must turn his bock.
If you like this sort of wartime/strategy game (they seem to hove a small cult following, though I don't think I've ever seen one in the charts) this is perhaps one you might like to invest in. However, I think it is rather overpriced.
Graphics are used to display the troop positions but most of the symbols are unclear. The maps are probably more confusing than helpful. Sound is virtually non-existent.
I played Insurgency with several different people and nobody could really grasp the mechanics of the game. It would probably appeal to wargamers who play in the conventional way and would like to play a quick game, (by quick, I mean less than a day) when they come home from work.
Quick, somebody give me an arcade game.
VIVA LA REVOLUTION
MICRO: Spectrum 48K
SUPPLIER: Cases Computer Simulations, 14 Langton Way, Blackheath, London SE3 7TL
Insurgency claims to "simulate modern warfare in most of the worlds trouble spots". One player is the government forces and the other the guerillas.
Theoretically this could be a very interesting game, but in practice it is an extremely boring and frustrating waste of an hour or two.
The programme offers 100 different maps chosen by selecting a number between 1-100. All of them are extremely basic, simply being a series of villages, linked by roads, with the odd mountain range or two. The map colour is predominantly green, depicting jungle.
Choices of troops and budget allocation are offered to the players in turn, necessitating the other player turning away from the screen.
The government forces are: infantry used for occupying villages and trotting about in the jungle, armour which is restricted to riding up and down the road net but better at fighting than the infantry, artillery for shelling (but which is extremely vulnerable to attack), helicopters, to support ground troops and searching for the pesky rebels, and finally aircraft, to carry out recon and bomb the guerilla forces.
The cover instructions tell you that you also receive other units, but I never got any! The government may choose within certain limitations 20 combat units.
In addition there are: engineers, supply trucks, which oddly can go through the jungle while the armour units cannot, intelligence for victimising locals and spying, medics, and lastly your headquarters command post.
The guerillas have a much more limited choice of troop type. Guerillas for fighting and recruiting, the same with radios, moving faster and more communicative, antiaircraft units, and supply planes for resupply.
They are also given options for spies, and a command post. The supply planes are able to drop arms or food you must choose a mixture of these up to 100 plane loads. The guerillas have 12 active service units only.
The command key words are simple enough, each unit having a series of options per turn.
On the surface of it the commands should cover the things that you would like to do, but this is not so. Either I totally misunderstood the spartan instructions or the game has definitely missed the crucial point of the whole idea.
Conflict is the name of the game, and conflict is exactly what's missing. When we moved two opposing units into the same village nothing happened, when we wanted to attack a guerilla unit with helicopters or aircraft, the programme merely flashed up the word CONTACT.
Without the option to fight, what does one do? Unless someone tells you, forget Insurgency. CCS can do better - and they have.
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