Wargame: Red Dragon is the latest real time strategy game from Eugen Systems that puts you in charge of an Army, Navy and Air Force to defeat forces of 1970’s to 1990’s Asia.
Graphics & Audio: 20/25
Red Dragon is the latest release from Eugen Systems for the Wargame real time strategy series with a focus on 1970’s to 1990’s Asian theatre. Real time strategy puts you in charge of forces across a large area with air, naval and ground troops in both single player and multiplayer games.
Red Dragon has a single player campaign and a quick battle feature along with multiplayer mode against real gamers online with up to 20 players fighting at the same time. This twenty player feature may seem extraordinary but it works out well even if you’re not that good at the game.
Red Dragon is the third release in the Wargame series and now uses ground forces, air support and naval forces to fight with but it’s not exactly an easy game to play. In both the single player and multiplayer the key to any of the games when using the variety of forces is covering your butt.
Warfare of any type depends on several factors but when you come down to a basic strategy it’s having the right forces to counter whatever the enemy throws at you. The game starts with recon but having a balance of forces is where the game is won or lost and you need to balance your forces when setting up the game.
Each battle starts with a choice of units and knowing a bit about terrain and the general area can help but you need to do some trial and error as well. The single player campaign is a great place to learn Wargame while the multiplayer gaming will be the real test as well as the real fun.
Units are given a point value with better units being worth more and at the beginning of each battle you are given a base of points to spend on units. During the battle you earn points for victories and spend those points on reinforcements that come from a specific direction as indicated on the maps.
During the planning phase you need to decide what units to buy and place them accordingly while being able to earn other units helps to keep your forces replenished. Instead of buying expensive units that are more able to fight using units that cost less but are less painful to lose is a much better strategy.
My first win in Red Dragon was an all naval battle but was the start to me actually enjoying the game because of the difficulty involved. Strategy games are inherently hard but when you understand a few basic concepts like recon and force balance the game becomes much easier.
When setting up your forces you need to seriously look at terrain and how you are going to both advance to your objectives as well as hold them against attack. Some of the battles will be easier when retrying because the computer uses similar tactics when playing the single player campaign or instant battles.
Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw when you choose the appropriate forces to fight against the enemy that just chose poorly or made some bad decisions. Mostly the fun comes from not only overall wins but being able to make decisions and have good outcomes from them like just being able to hold onto an area for ten or twenty minutes.
Red Dragon has a good balance of forces and does make choices like those better tanks and planes difficult when starting a battle and buying units. I found that having any forces to fight against others even when they are the lower cost ones is more important than having fewer but better units.
That is basically what the game is about and an important part of any real time simulation but Wargame does a good job of keeping this point front and center. The Campaign adds an overall tactics map with a larger area where you position forces and try to block or advance forces.
The campaign also focuses on land, air and sea and when your forces occupy the same area as the enemy a battle ensues but you can offer to decide the battle without fighting it directly. This means less time spent on individual small scale tactics and a focus on the larger strategy part of the game if you choose to.
The multiplayer gaming is really where Red Dragon is fun and can be fought with two to twenty players on the same map so you have a very wide variety to your strategy. It took a while to actually come out in front of any of my multiplayer games and I have not won very many but occasionally I do get the upper hand.
The multiplayer is much like the single player with your overall strategy map and then battles with players down to the last unit or till the other conditions set before the match. The game can be fun but it can also be some work at learning with a sharp curve to actually understand the game.
Wargame: Red Dragon is a fun game but it does take some effort to figure things out and using the games single player and campaign is the better way to learn. A few online guides also helped a lot with figuring things out and actually standing a chance at winning.
While Red Dragon does take some serious effort at learning it can also be rewarding when you do win a battle and an overall war. If you are into the serious strategy games Wargame: Red Dragon is well worth a look but this is not a game for the faint of heart.