Old Gamers Never Die: A Quick Look at MicroProse’s ‘Second Front’

(C)) 2023 Hexdraw and MicroProse

I am, as you know, a World War II buff. I’ve been one since I was a boy of six living in Bogota, Colombia, and in those 54 years, my interest in the topic has not diminished. I still buy an occasional book or documentary about the war, and I’m always learning new things about the most extensive, bloodiest, and most consequential conflict in world history.

I am, of course, also a gamer. I have been one for 36 years, and, not surprisingly, many of the games I’ve owned and played since my father’s brother Sixto gave me my first personal computer in April of 1987 are set in World War II.

Quite a few of those games, including Silent Service II and Crusade in Europe, were designed and published by the first iteration of MicroProse Software, the game and simulator company co-founded in 1982 by retired Lt. Col. William “Wild Bill” Stealey (USAF) and legendary game designer Sid Meier. That iteration of MicroProse published many WWII titles in addition to the two I named, and I bought and played several, including Decision in the Desert, Across the Rhine, and B-17 Flying Fortress.

I can’t make one of these videos myself, so I present to you this gameplay report by my favorite YouTuber on wargaming, The Historical Gamer.

That version of MicroProse, which was based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and for a few years was the go-to source for user-friendly but historically accurate wargames and simulations, no longer exists. The original company went through a series of mergers and acquisitions in the 1990s; its owners/partners included Spectrum Holobyte, Hasbro Interactive, and even Atari. And, sadly, it eventually closed shop in the early 2000s, remaining a fond memory to many of its old grognard customers, including me.

Thankfully, MicroProse had a fan in Australian gamer/investor David Lagettie, who, along with a group of investors, bought the company’s name and livery (the logo you see on “new” MicroProse games is the classic one from the Stealey-Meier era) in 2017. And true to the legacy of the 1980s-1990s legend, MicroProse began publishing mostly-military-themed games.

I am, of course, on a tight budget these days, so I often must think several times about it before buying new games on Steam. That having been said, I had known that MicroProse was going to publish several titles that I could not resist getting on the day of the first release.

One of those games was last summer’s Regiments, about which I’ve written many blog posts since I bought it in late August.

(C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse

And this week, on Tuesday, January 31, I bought Second Front, a turn-based (and a bit quirky looking) wargame set during World War II.

As I wrote last night on my original Blogger A Certain Point of View blog:

I have not played Second Front much yet; I’ve attempted the infantry tutorial on how to Advance, but even though I get slightly better at it each time I try, I still get my ass kicked by the Germans. 

(C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

I must be honest. I suck at basic infantry tactics, at least presently. I did better in my first training scenario with tanks, though! 

(C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

I tend to do better with armor than I do with infantry. (C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

Anyway, I have not played Second Front all that much, but I do like its mix of kitschy, almost 1980s graphics design and accurate WWII era weapons, vehicles, locations, and – especially – tactics.

(C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

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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