Encouraged by the way that people continue to write to Forum, despite the occasional non-appearance of Frontline recently, PHILIPPA IRVING says, ‘Keep it up!’. She’s running low on hints and strategies, so some more of your wisdom and experience would be useful — plus a few hints and tips, of course!

Dear Philippa
May I add my voice to that of Simon Deans (Issue 55) and say that I look forward to reading Frontline (it is the main reason I buy CRASH). Please maintain Frontline’s presence. Roundups of previous games could be the one way to do it, and be very useful as well.

I must declare my preference for games where the player has complete control of the force, rather than relying on ‘luck’ and ‘discretionary attacks’. Such games as Falklands (33%, Issue 27) and Annals of Rome (85%, Issue 38) for instance. With Falklands, the challenge is not so much to win, but to win without losing a load unit (Mirages permitting). It is an easy game, even at Level Five, when adopting the best tactics — use all the air and sea strikes going, before the hand-to-hand fighting. But at least there’s the element of being able to withdraw a unit before destruction.

Annals of Rome is excellent. Afraid I missed your review — which issue? (85%, Issue 38 — Ed.) The struggle to establish Rome at first is well balanced (dontcha just hate the Macedonians?). Once past that point the whole scope of the game, and the potential for enemy action, is what makes it so good. Once set up, I played for a solid 12 hours, and still didn’t reach the year 0AD. With another 80% plus still to do, what more can you ask? So what if it’s mainly numbers, but being able to choose and assign leaders makes it come alive.

Regarding roundups of previous games, as in Issue 54, I think they’re very useful. But why wasn’t there any mention of Gallipoli, World War I and Zulu? So a list of games available, with CRASH issue number of review, marks awarded, and a few pros and cons would be welcome.

Would it be possible to expand to simulations? They too deal with reality and the armed forces.
Ian Fletcher

I have heard tell of sundry mythical folk who have actually ‘completed’ Annals of Rome, advancing the date to the present century and beyond. Alparently one of the secrets is to move the capital out of Rome, at least eventually. Or am I wrong about this?

Retrospectives have to be limited to games I have actually played at some point, if not reviewed; otherwise, I tend to feel it’s cheating to comment upon something on the strength of someone else’s write-up. That’s why these articles have been noticeably selective. But a factual list of all the war and strategy games ever reviewed by CRASH is an excellent idea.

Dear Philippa
I have just recently got interested in war/strategy games after buying Silent Service and by the time you have read this letter I hope to have purchased Blitzkrieg or Football Manager 2 (I believe that it’s a strategy game). I was thinking about how empty Frontline has been lately when I came to the conclusion that it may be the fault of some of the CRASH team. What I don’t understand is why you get to review games like First Past The Post and Boxing Manager while you don’t get to review Football Manager 2 or Gridiron. I also have the same opinions over complex simulators such as F-15 Strike Eagle, Gunship and Ocean Conqueror to name but a few. Why didn’t you review these when you covered Silent Service?
Mark Lawton

There are two reasons why games like Football Manager 2 don’t find their way into Frontline. Firstly software houses don’t particularly like major releases being identified with minority interest. The second is that, being a freelance contributor, I’m not on the spot in the CRASH offices to make a grab for any promising incoming games! There’s also the problem that, sometimes, there is just not enough time to get the game out to me for review, and get the review back in time for the nearest issue to the release of the game. So the in-house team review it to ensure that you have at least some sort of idea what the game’s all about if you want to purchase it.