Battle Isle 2200
Battle Isle 2200 is a hex-based and turn based wargame. The setting is sometime in the future and the units are all robotic but totally logical extensions of current military systems. Combined arms is the buzz word, in that as the game develops air power and sea power enter into the equation and the successful player must be able to link up all their forces.
The interface has been much improved over the previous games in the series. Instead of fishing for the correct icon for movement or other function, all the possible actions for a unit appear in a section at the bottom of the screen and the appropriate one selected. This method of selection works for every screen and action even down to a simple yes or no choice. There are keyboard shortcuts for the most common actions, but the mouse interface is so simple when I have played they have hardly been used.
The actual game play has changed, in that the turns alternate totally, instead of the older system of one player giving movement orders and the other concurrently giving combat actions. A player now gives all the orders for movement and firing for their turn before play changes across. This has some advantages notably allowing multiple players (3+), and preventing the old tactic of having one weak unit holding up the entire enemy advance for one turn. Now it is possible to send in the heavy tanks to clear the block and the let the light units zoom through into the rear areas giving a very fluid feel to the combat.
Most units move then fire, or fire only, but larger units can either move or fire and thus are more suited for defence, and certain light units can move before firing and then again afterwards, which provides an increased level of tactical flexibility. The total movement in this case is limited by the units movement allowance, so a long range dash into range can leave your light units cruelly exposed.
In addition to the campaign mode there is the possibility of playing the game in a single map mode, using the passwords gained from the campaign, and with the ability to alter any alliances present in the scenarios. There are scenarios that have up to five 'sides' divided into alliances, and the ability to change these allows the practice of what if? playing. Each of these sides can be played by a human player or the computer and so there is the chance of multiplayer games.
Playing the game is an absorbing experience with much thought required to progress through the campaign. The computer opponent is certainly a challenge and is much the best of any wargame that I have experienced.
For players familiar with the rest of the Battle Isle series, this is an improvement over the older games, but still retains all the good features.