PC, iPad (coming soon) •
See also: Brimming, overloaded, encumbered, stacked, chockers, totes too many good games, Tom Chick’s wallet threat level gone critical, hocked goods, remortgage, world gone mad.
We’ve already seen a terrific payload of games disgorged in the opening few months, and it looks like there’s no stopping this train. But beyond Zeldas and Horizons and whatever else the kids are playing, the true masterpieces have begun hitting.
Take, for example, the smartest wargame you’re likely to lock synapses this year in Afghanistan ’11.
I had the pleasure of covering Every Single Soldier’s newest effort over at the Stormin’ Norman of Wargaming Websites, and Johan Nagel’s work is definitely a tidy analysis of nation-building in an asymmetric age. As was the case with Vietnam ’65 (which you totally own and totally love), Afghanistan ’11 isn’t so much a wargame as a game that measures waging the damn thing in logistics and political willpower. And moreover, waging it against a colloidal foe.
You get to play across the majority of operations since the Coalition invasion, spanning over a decade of internecine violence, Sisyphean seeding of democracy and the dangerous art of taking a drive in the Kush. Your ambition to secure the countryside is dogged at every corner by a populace whose cooperation pivots on effective operations, both civil and military.
The thorny target of handing the country back to national security forces in better shape than when you found it is not easily achieved. IEDs, ambushes, political events, troop losses, logistical snafus; Afghanistan ’11 offers a poignant experience in examining the frustrating nature of warfighting and nation-building in the 21st century.
If the idea appeals of trading Vietnam ‘65’s heliborne logistics for grading Huskies along Afghan roads, alongside smart COIN and development mechanics, Afghanistan ’11 is pick of the week when it hits PC on March 23 (with iPad version later this year).