Old Gamers Never Die: Bootcamp Mode in ‘Second Front’


The main menu from Second Front. Note the kitschy, almost Toy Story-like look of the graphics! (C) 2023 Hexdraw and MicroProse

As you know, last week I bought a turn-based, set-in-WWII game called Second Front. It was created by Hexdraw and published by MicroProse. I got it on Steam last Tuesday because it was 15% off during the first week of release. I’ve wanted to get it since I saw the teaser for it in 2020, and even though I need to watch my budget more now, I decided to splurge. After all, I don’t go anywhere or have anyone to hang out with anymore, so what the hell.

Dislodging these German troops from that house is no easy task! But…it can be done. (C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

In Second Front, you can fight – in different modes, ranging from single pre-written single battles and campaigns to sandbox battles you create yourself with the campaign/scenario editor – thousands of battles as a small-unit commander in the American, German, or Soviet armies. Unlike Regiments, where the game depicts its action in real time (a bit accelerated, if you ask me), Second Front is “turn-based,” which means each faction does its thing within its own turn, and each turn is itself divided into various phases, e.g. Advance, Move & Fire, Escape, Recover, and so on.

I think the graphics, which look somewhat like an homage to the graphics in early 1990s games (the original MicroProse’s heyday), are nice! (C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

From Second Front’s Steam Page

Those red exclamation points above the German units’ map symbols indicate that the Americans have inflicted casualties on the occupiers of that house at center-left. (C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

Second Front is a tactical WWII turn-based strategy game. Craft & share your own scenarios and maps or use your strategic prowess in 48 scenarios set in iconic locations. Command over 40 types of infantry and 216 tanks, vehicles and guns. An infinite tactical sandbox experience.

The Bootcamp Experience

Why does this squad’s entire complement carry .45-caliber Thompson submachine guns? Eh…it’s just a training scenario. (C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse

I bought the game on January 31, and because I do not spend every waking hour playing games, I am still in the Basic Training stage and not quite ready to go into “real combat” in Second Front. I am, instead, doing the tutorials – one at a time – for Infantry and Armor, plus I am perusing the online manual that comes with the game.  

As I’ve mentioned in previous Second Front-related scribblings, I have much to learn when it comes to infantry tactics. Until last night, for instance, I did not do well at all with the first tutorial with infantry. At first, I’d get most of my squads pinned down or even annihilated by the German defenders of an objective…every single time.

Infantry tactics, for me, don’t come easily, at least not in games such as Second Front. (C) 2023 Hexdraw and MicroProse

I eventually improved my skills at moving troops from Point A to Point B and finished the first Advance tutorial with a victory. But for a while, it looked like I might have to return the game and get a refund; it was that tough!

I must have been a tank commander in a past life, though. I seem to do better with some of the Armored tutorials, often getting three out of the four enemy assault guns that my four-tank platoon has to try to destroy in the scenario.

Today I destroyed all four of the German assault guns, even though it took two entire turns to do so. I don’t want to stay at my desk all day, though, so I will be content with my score of 22 Victory Points in the No Move, Fire with Tanks, and leave it at that.

Four German assault guns = four burning wrecks. (C) 2023 Hexdraw & MicroProse
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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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