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CMAK Reviewed in Daily Newspapers

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I was reading the Weekend section of my local paper today

when I noticed the heading of "War-game" in the Home Entertainment Review Section.

The review was for CMAK done by Dean Takahashi.

I thought it was a great review and he has great things to say about BFC too.

He has been playing since CMBO.

I dont have a link because I couldn't find one.

But it was published through Knight-Ridder Newspapers

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Ah yes, wargame reviews in daily newspapers. The very definition of the phrase "All the news that's print to fit". ;)

This is good for BFC. Gets their name more in the public domain. There's a big-wide-world that hasn't bought a CM product yet just because they've never heard of any CM products!

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Here is the text of the review, copied with permission from www.mercurynews.com.



Published: Saturday, February 14, 2004 Edition: Morning Final Section: Arts

& Entertainment Page: 2E

Illustration: Photo

Source: BY DEAN TAKAHASHI, Mercury News

Everybody needs something different in their gaming diet. And for me, that's World War II strategy games that you can play by e-mail.That's right, playing a game one turn at a time over weeks with my friend Dave in Oregon.

In this age of instant gratification, it's still fun to sit back and savor a well-constructed strategy game.

That's why I play ''Combat Mission,'' an independently published series in its third version for the PC. The publisher/developer Battlefront has shipped ''Combat Mission: Afrika Korps,'' which focuses on World War II

battles in North Africa, Crete and Italy from 1940 to 1945. You control individual tanks, squads, and command units in small engagements involving platoons all the way up to large-scale battles that involve battalions.

Battlefront has kept this series going as a labor of love since 1997, selling through word of mouth via its Web site at www.battlefront.com . They

are the gaming industry's equivalent of a garage band that hit it big. As game publishers gravitated to the mass market and abandoned strategy war games, Battlefront found salvation in Web sales.

This game is different from many strategy games that are played like chess, where opponents take a turn one at a time. ''Combat Mission's'' innovation is that it has a real-time element. That is, the players make their moves,

giving orders to their troops such as move, shoot, hide or engage in some other action. Then the players can watch the results of the orders play out simultaneously over 60 seconds on the battlefield. This part of the game, with all of its sounds of gunfire and troops, reminds you that it's a gritty battle involving people and keeps you from thinking this is some exercise in

a library. Since the battle is rendered in 3-D, you can zoom out to see the entire battlefield or click on a unit and zoom down to see exactly what the battleground looks from their point of view.

You can play against the computer, but I get a kick out of playing against a human opponent. Dave and I started playing by e-mail a few years back with the original ''Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord.'' We had some memorable battles as I played the U.S. or British sides and he played the Germans.

(The Germans had much better equipment, but I could never bring myself to play them). We never ran out of battles to play because a whole community of scenario creators kept on posting new modified battles, or mods, on Web sites for free downloading.

Then we moved on to ''Combat Mission: From Barbarossa to Berlin,'' which upgraded the quality of the graphics dramatically and focused on the Russians vs. the Germans. That game had better models for the behavior of troops. You couldn't send them charging into a suicidal mission if they didn't want to go. And the rules for sighting enemies and hitting armor were

much improved. But I didn't like playing the Russians, and I took a break for my newborn girl.

With ''Afrika Korps,'' it's back to the British and Americans against the Germans using the same game engine as the second game. So far I've enjoyed playing the scenario where Rommel's Tiger tanks meet for the first time at a crossroads where the British have dug in with two-pounder anti-tank guns.

The German tanks make mincemeat of the British armor, but the scenario is hard to win because the German infantry has to cross a lot of open desert to take out the British hiding in foxholes. If the British lay down a curtain

of smoke, they can force the German tanks to close within range of the weaker British guns.

Battlefront is committed to keeping the war game hobby in step with technology. The graphics of ''Afrika Korps'' are still a step behind the

best PC games, and sometimes you feel as if you're playing around with toy soldiers. And there's still some hassle involved, like downloading a 15-megabyte patch to play the current version.

But there's nothing like the joy of taking out a big German tank with an ambush, or the fearful necessity of sending your troops into an obvious

ambush in hopes of smoking out the opponents. Let's hear it for independent developers and good old-fashioned war games.

Infobox: Combat Mission: Afrika Korps

Game type: PC

Price: $50

Age rating: not rated

Graphics: (star)(star)(star)

Play: (star)(star)(star) 1/2

Overall: (star)(star)(star) 1/2

Publisher: Battlefront (www.battlefront.com)


''Combat Mission: Afrika Korps,'' from game maker Battlefront, focuses on World War II battles in North Africa.

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