Old Gamers Never Die: I Sought the Thrill of Victory in ‘Regiments,’ But Felt the Agony of Defeat

Actual screengrab from today’s Skirmish. Here, with only 6 minutes and 52 seconds on the clock, an American M1 Abrams advances toward the enemy. The burning vehicle at top center is a Soviet-made T-55 tank. The ones at top center right, though, are of American M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles that ran into an enemy ambush. Game design elements (C) 2022 MicroProse and Bird’s Eye Games

Veni. Vugnavi. Victus i.

I came. I fought. I was defeated.

Since the weather had not gone from mostly cloudy to stormy after I finished my earlier blog post, I decided to play another Skirmish in Regiments (Bird’s Eye Games/MicroProse, 2022).

I figured, well, Skirmishes have a 30-minute time limit, so even if it storms later – and from the looks of it, it looks like we will get thunderstorms, like it or not – I can still get some relief from the life of tedium I lead here.

Immediately after I took Objective Alfa, I proceeded to attack Bravo, which was defended only by a platoon of rearguard infantrymen with four dug-in BTR armored personnel carriers.

Again, I chose an Attack scenario, but this time I chose the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, a U.S. Army unit which, in 1989 – the year in which Regiments is set – was assigned to the V Corps, Seventh Army, Central Army Group (CENTAG) in West Germany.

This time I tried to be more aggressive – having become accustomed to “operational level” turn-based games which are a bit more, shall we say, abstract in their representation of war and fighting, I tend to be more cautious in real-time games where you see the tanks, CFVs, IFVs, APCs and Lord knows what else, as well as shell bursts, tracers, and exploding vehicles. Even in M1 Tank Platoon (1989), where the graphics are more pokey by today’s standards, I really get into the game and thus I almost wince when I lose one of my tanks or Bradley IFVs.

So, okay. During the first 10 minutes of the battle, I focused my attention on capturing Objective Zone Alfa with the forces I assembled with the initial allotment of “deployment points” the game allowed me at the start of the Skirmish. A scout platoon, two Abrams tanks, a platoon of Bradley IFVs with 26 infantrymen, and a three-vehicle platoon of mobile Vulcan anti-aircraft guns.

The first attempt to take Alfa failed. My scouts had to retreat after losing two M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles, and since I didn’t have any recon assets – beyond the CFVs – I had to wait till they returned from the rear area with replacement vehicles (yes, Regiments simulates retreats, refits, resupply, and reinforcements) to resume my assault.

Eventually, once I had enough deployment points and the game allocated two more “task forces” to add to the one I started with, I was able to capture Alfa and two more Objective Zones, but – once again – I suffered so many losses compared to the AI’s Red force that I lost the Skirmish,

Now, if Regiments gave the player the entire unit – usually battalion strength to keep the game manageable – at the start of a Skirmish, I think I’d do better in these short engagements. If I had all my units available before the battle, I could come up with a plan – not necessarily a great one, but still – and execute it without worrying about having enough deployment points or waiting for the game to say, “New Task Force available.”

Here’s an After Action Report (actually, just the top part of one) from a previous Skirmish. (C) 2022 MicroProse and Bird’s Eye Games

Alas, if there’s one thing that frustrates me about Regiments is that I must deploy my forces piecemeal. It’s difficult, almost downright impossible, to get a Decisive Victory in Regiments because players must be aggressive and attempt to capture the enemy Objective Zones, destroy as many enemy units as possible, while simultaneously keeping their own casualties tolerably low.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Regiments. I think it’s a nice-looking, nice-sounding game, and it’s fun to play. And I have won a few battles in Regiments.

But, boy, is it hard to beat the AI enemy! Even when you think you did well because you captured almost all of the Objective Zones or destroyed a bunch of T-72s, BMPs, BTRs, Shilkas, and Hinds (yep, the game has Mi-24s, as well as Su-25 Frogfoots, A-10 “Warthogs”, and other aircraft), if you lose too many vehicles and men compared to the losses you inflict on “Red,” you lose the battle.

Oh well. If at first you don’t succeed….

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.

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