Old Gamers Never Die: Fighting Near a Nuclear Power Plant in ‘Regiments’ Poses New Twists, New Challenges

“Excuse me, Colonel, but I think fighting near a nuclear power plant is probably not a good idea….” Game design elements and artwork (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

Regiments: The Battle for a ‘Hot’ Zone

A late-game screengrab from last night’s Raw Power gaming session. This time around, I chose the Day – Cloudy 1 weather condition instead of night. Here, I have all of my available forces listed; unit icons marked in blue are on the battlefield; units marked in black-and-white outline are available but not deployed. This means that either they retreated and have just finished being reinforced and re-equipped, or they are fresh replacements for unlucky platoons or sections that were destroyed.

Last night, after trying – and failing – to choose a movie or TV show to watch, I decided to play Regiments again.

Once more I selected the Skirmish titled Raw Power, which depicts a fictional 1989 battle near what looks like a nuclear plant in what was then West Germany. [1]My unit of choice was the 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, a U.S. Army formation that, in real life, was activated in 1941 during the run-up to America’s entry into World War II and, during the Cold War (1945-1992), was based in Germany as part of the U.S. V Corps, Seventh Army, and assigned to NATO’s Central Army Group (CENTAG).  

Map showing CENTAG’s “area of responsibility” for the various NATO corps under its command. (Image Credit: Wikiwand)

I still don’t think I am good enough as a player in Regiments to play a Skirmish in Defense or Meeting Engagement mode, even though the game’s “graduation” Tutorial is a scenario depicting a West German unit’s defense of a fortified position against a Soviet attacking force. I feel more comfortable in the Attack variants of a scenario, even though there are instances when I must use defensive tactics in order to prevail against the artificial intelligence (AI) commanding the opposing force (OPFOR or Red Force).

As you can imagine, Dear Reader, the change of venue means that after fighting and refighting the Grasleben battle several times, the Raw Power scenario presents several new challenges.

The Grasleben area in “Regiments” eponymous scenario.
Look at all those possible ambush sites that line the direct path from our entry point (the blue box at center) and the nuclear plant (at top of image).

The most obvious, of course, is that the battlefield is different. The lay of the land is less urbanized, the land is more rural and forested, and the locations of the Objective Zones (OZs) all favor a skillful and determined defender; there are so many good sites for ambushes and kill zones, as well as various entry points from which the Red force can launch counterattacks and attempt to recapture one or two more OZs.

As always, I am not going to write a blow-by-blow, tank-by-tank account of my second go-around on Raw Power; I don’t take detailed notes during a Skirmish, and although some people, including my late mother, my estranged half-sister, and even my latest ex-girlfriend all think (or thought) I have a remarkable memory, I do not have that good a recall. I didn’t even take a lot of screengrabs – just a few of the battle’s early stages, and one of the final after-action reports (AARs).

I will say this, though. Even though I won a Total Victory with my trusty band from the Spearhead Division, and even though I applied many of the lessons I learned from playing the Grasleben battle, I still made mistakes (I lost seven helicopters because I sent them too recklessly close to the enemy lines and hidden ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” mobile anti-aircraft guns shot them down), and even at the Easy difficulty level, the AI was crafty and took advantage of the heavily forested terrain to send hard-to-spot mobile forces in several almost-successful counterattacks, including one desperate last-ditch attack near the nuclear plant itself.

(Fortunately, even though some of my units had to retreat from OZ Foxtrot after suffering heavy losses from an attack by units that included a platoon of T-72 main battle tanks, I had enough M1 tanks and mechanized infantry platoons in nearby OZs, so I was able to throw a riposte at the attacking enemy force – which turned out to be an East German unit, the Panzerregiment 4 – and, with the aid of three veteran-level AH-1F Cobra units, defeated the Red force, and soundly.)

As with the Graslaben scenario in Regiments, I will refight Raw Power with other units from the U.S., West German, and Belgian contingents of NATO in West Germany. It is, as I said before, an interesting and challenging Skirmish, even in the more forgiving-to-players Easy difficulty setting.

Before I Go….

For those of you who are keeping track of the Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture 6-Movie Collection box set’s progress, as of 6:10 AM Eastern, the package with the 15-disc set was marked as Out for Delivery and is, as I reported last night, expected to arrive by 3:15 PM today.

(C) 2022 Paramount Pictures/Paramount Home Media Distribution

Even though Amazon was true to its word and gave me a “Pre-Order Price Guarantee” refund of $12.98 because the price of this multiformat (4K UHD Blu-ray, 2K HD Blu-ray, and digital copy) set dropped between July 6 – the day I put in my pre-order – and the day it shipped, this is still a pricey purchase. I live on a fixed income – which explains, to some degree, why I am not enthusiastic about finding another living arrangement – and any expense over $100, even a voluntary one, makes me nervous.

I don’t know if I will post again later, but for now, I am signing off. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.  

[1] This scenario is somewhat eerily prescient; Regiments is a game that was in the works for several years – I think I added it to my Steam wish list as long ago as 2020 – so there’s little likelihood that the developers at Bird’s Eye Studio (which is based in Europe and has many programmers and artists with Slavic names) could have based Raw Power on the sadly real battles between Russians and Ukrainians near the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the worst nuclear accident (April 26, 1986), which now is at the heart of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and, if reports that many Russian troops occupied the area and were thus exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation are true, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Russian military personnel have died or will die from the insidious effects of radiation poisoning.

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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