Rarely has the idea of a game based on WWI been attractive. That war, perhaps more than any other, was so full of mindless incompetence on the parts of those in command at the time that the stalemates so frequently encountered, crippled the chances of any strategic simulation. Now, CCS have decided to change that with Gallipoli. An interesting idea for a game too.
The idea of the campaign was simple and well meant. If the allies could send the Turks out of the Dardenelles, not only would a new supply line to Russia be opened (the sea routes were iced over for much of the year) but Germany would have the painful and tiring distraction of a second front, paving the way for the break up of the costly stalemate in the trenches of France.
It went wrong.
It seems that more than anything else, bad communication was the factor that most helped put paid to the allied plans, as it had done so often before in the war. Advantages were not seized upon. Barrages ended too early and allowed Turkish gunners to re-man their posts in time to mow down thousands of British, ANZAC and Gurkha troops who were being sent over the top. It just became a microcosm of the war on the western front before fizzling out altogether.
So to the game, which comes in a double cassette box, has glossy instructions including screen map and historical notes - and, of course, a cassette. This carries the main 48K game on one side and an expanded version of the game for 128k owners. Let's get one thing straight. Wargaming has always suffered on the Spectrum because of a lack of disk drives, However, as 128k machines largely make up for this loss, it's great to see CCS
taking advantage of the chance to improve the scale of their games as often as they can. Nice one.
The expanded version of the game allows tunneling to be used as an option. An interesting idea that works fairly well. The game works in a traditional format and there are no surprises in store for experienced gamers. Novice players will find the step by step commands slow and a little complex at first, but should easily get into play with patience. I a complaint has to be made, the unit symbols are both obscure and a little poor. Still, a minor quibble only.
Victory conditions are difficult to achieve but their complexity and intricacy accurately reflect the missed opportunities of both sides. The game can (theoretically) cope with three players, ANZAC, British and Turkish - though a single player option if provided for control of the allies.
The game plays surprisingly well, considering the subject matter and represents a real challenge (I haven't beaten it yet). The joystick option (Kempston, Interface 2) was most welcome and the presentation coherent. There were no observable bugs but the play was a little slow.
I like the fact CCS is diverging from the norm with their games. They deserve encouragement and success. There is a long way to go in the quality of British strategy software but CCS are approaching fresh ideas with an exciting perspective. This happened to be very much the enthusiast's game, but it is a very good example of such. The company is making more generally appealing material as well. I won't recommend this out of hand but I see no obvious flaws in terms of technical competence.
Crammed but has everything you need.
In depth if perhaps a little unfriendly.
Not really that easy to get into but a lot goes on.
Poor unit symbols let the game down somewhat.
The going rate for a good fight.
Limited appeal maybe, but admirably implemented.
The whole of the area covered by the game and the start position of the units. The precarious position of the ANZACS can clearly be seen.