Old Gamers Never Die: Completing My First Operation in MicroProse’s Real-Time Tactics Game ‘Regiments’

A screengrab from one of the late phases of Dissonance, the first Operation in Bird’s Eye Games/MicroProse’s new Cold War-turns-hot wargame, Regiments. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

“Winning isn’t everything–but wanting to win is.”Vince Lombardi

A close-up view of one of my platoons being resupplied by my Supply unit after capturing a rebel Objective Zone. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

I did it.

I won my first victory as a combined arms field-grade commander in Regiments.

The proof, my friend, is there, in plain English and with a rundown of casualties, victory points, and even the Difficulty level. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

As you know from previous posts in the Old Gamers Never Die series, I recently bought this cool new game developed by a small European studio, Bird’s Eye Games, and published by the reincarnated MicroProse, a company that in the late 1980s and early 1990s was at the vanguard of “easy to learn, hard to master” computer games, many of which were wargames (Crusade in Europe, NATO Commander) or simulations of military “hardware” and even small-unit combat (the F-15 Strike Eagle series, Silent Service and Silent Service II, Red Storm Rising, and M1 Tank Platoon).

Calling in artillery is one of the skills players acquire after playing Regiments for a while. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

Regiments is a real-time tactical game where you, the player, are in command of a combined-arms force either for the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact(WP) or the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during a fictional version of the summer of 1989 in which glasnost and perestroika failed, and internal pressures within the Soviet bloc sparked a WP invasion of West Germany and a – so far, at least – conventional war between the Communist Eastern empire and the democracies of the West.

Along with Training and Skirmishes, Regiments has a series of campaigns that its design team calls Operations. And if you play other wargames that include a campaign mode – such as Ultimate General: Civil War, the Wargame series, and Unity of Command IIOperations involve certain tropes, such as choosing a “core group” of units based on their weapons, capabilities, and roles on the battlefield, then having enough “deployment points” to add more platoons or tactical aids (including artillery support from higher headquarters) to help you achieve your mission.

Early on in Phase 5 of Dissonance, my Blue force, aided by the AI-controlled Green allied force, had to capture specific Objective Zones according to the Victory Points list on the upper left corner of the image. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

I’m not going to write a long dissertation on how Operations are conducted; suffice it to say that each mini-campaign has a certain objective that you must achieve and is divided into phases that represent not only the passage of time in the scenario but also different stages of the campaign. It’s insanely complicated and not easy to summarize.

“In the art of war, if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the approaching battles. But if you know only yourself and not the enemy, for every victory, there will also be defeat.”Emily Thorne

I just completed Dissonance, a scenario in which I commanded an East German Panzer battalion tasked with quelling a rebellion by another East German unit in early June of 1989. It was divided into six phases, during which my Blue force – allied with other East German units – had to capture specific Objective Zones, then defend them from counterattacks by the opposing Red Force within a set time limit of 20 minutes of game time.

Proof of a rare victory in a Skirmish. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

I have not done particularly well in Skirmishes, which are single battles in which players get experience in different types of battles, ranging from Defense scenarios to Attack and Meeting Engagements. I’ve won a few Skirmishes here and there, but most of the time, the AI in Regiments whips me, and whips me well, even if I have tactical air support available. As a result, I was not expecting to win on my first try at playing through an entire Operation, especially one in which chemical weapons came into play during the penultimate phase.

Objectives on the Victory Points list that are marked in green have been captured by the Blue force. Those held by Red or are being fought over are in pale gold. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

Amazingly, I achieved a Total Victory by capturing all of the Objective Zones and keeping my casualties low while inflicting high casualties on the Red force. I somehow found a happy medium between bold aggressiveness and the need to preserve my forces and not suffer too many casualties, and since I have a basic understanding of how artillery and air support work, at least in the context of a wargame, I called in artillery bombardments and air strikes with a fair amount of forethought rather than squandering them on tactically unimportant targets.

Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse
You can pause the game and zoom in to see some of the havoc of a Cold War-turned-hot that (thankfully) did not happen in the real timeline of 1989. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse
Here’s what the situation looked like in an early phase of Dissonance. Game design and graphics are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

So, even though I went into Operations without reading the Regipedia (which is analogous to a printed manual and the Civilopedia reference guide in the various versions of Sid Meier’s Civilization), I did it!

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

%d bloggers like this: