Alex's preview of the PC version also hold the honor of having the best pun ever conceived on the entire internet.

Counter insurgency war game, Afghanistan ’11, coming to iOS next week

iPad, PC •

Back when Slitherine was in the business of publishing mobile war games, one of the best was Every Single Soldier‘s Vietnam ’65. It broke ground by focusing not only on battlefield tactics, but on winning over the local population and dealing with political problems back home. The theme worked fantastic in ESS’s follow-up, Afghanistan ’11, which was released for PC in March. Next week the PC-less of us will have a chance to give Afghanistan ’11 a go when it arrives on the App Store.

Afghanistan ’11 puts you in the shoes of the US forces in…wait for it…Afghanistan in the year…hold on, you can get this…2011. Whew. Instead of simply trying to kill your enemy, the main focus in on getting the villagers on your side instead of the Taliban’s. ESS spells this out way better than I ever could:

Most of your efforts and resources are spent elsewhere trying to grab the Hearts & Minds of the local population.

Providing security to the civilians, persuading the local villagers to reject the Taliban and isolating Militia leaders is your primary focus.

Counter-Insurgency will have better results in the long run than conventional tactics but a simple incident during a routine patrol can ruin your relationship with the locals and damage your image in the Western newspapers.

  • A full nation building module, whereby player can affect the hearts and minds of the local population via non-military means (constructing infrastructure and delivering UN aid)
  • An intense 18 battle campaign covering the iconic Afghan war operations from establishing Camp Rhino to the Bin Laden Raid (Neptune Spear)
  • Command the American and the Afghanistan National Army during ground and air operations
  • Drones, multirole fighters and ground-attack aircraft are available to help you to spot and eliminate enemy units
  • Upgrade your bases with specific buildings to offer a better support to your soldiers and military vehicles
  • Afghanistan National elections – affecting the balance of power in the theatre
  • Full US withdrawal and handing over of combat responsibility to the ANA.
  • External political events impacting the local situation.
  • Taliban operations are financed from the growing and harvesting of opium crops.
  • Locate and destroy opium crops to cripple the opponent’s resources as these fund the Taliban operations.
  • Full range of modern military units including artillery, mechanized and infantry units, engineers, helicopters, etc.
  • Special forces including sniper and forward air controller actions, offering you plenty of tactical options

Vietnam ’65 was one of Alex’s favorite games of all time, and we’ve heard nothing but glowing takes on the sequel. It definitely sounds like a game that should appeal to both grognards and the less war game inclined, so keep an eye out when it launches for iPad on October 24.

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Notable Replies

  1. Quite worthwhile. I really enjoy how the militia and Taliban are properly sneaky beaky.

  2. I can’t begin to imagine why someone would release a game like this . 1400 civilians were killed in the year that this game starts.

    The airstrikes they talk about in the game trailer often hit civilian targets and 2011 also sees an increase in the use of suicide bombers and IEDs.

    Its an absolute tragedy of a conflict and someone at Slitherine thought it would make a “fun” game? WTF is the matter with them?

  3. Do you feel the same about one of the GMT Games COIN games, War on Terror?

    Just curious. I don’t really have an opinion, but just saying that the success of that game shows that there is a market for games taking place during the wars that are currently going on.

  4. That’s war. Every single war sees civilian casualties. Please don’t start saying this conflict is somehow special. WWII saw the industrialised mass murder of millions of civilians. The Afghanistan conflict is pocket lint compared to that.

  5. Kolbex says:

    Yeah, war is bad and civilian casualties are bad, and you certainly are not going to find me defending the invasion of Afghanistan, but I think it’s just the recency of the thing that gets people’s goat for the most part. Did you feel the same way about the same developer’s Vietnam game?

    I’m more interested in the critique that the game is off base because COIN (not my critique, borrowed from elsewhere,not sure what to think about it) actually doesn’t work and Afghanistan has proven it.

  6. I did see that point made in the Pocket Tactics review of Afghanistan '11. Maybe that’s where you read it?

  7. Do you mean Labyrinth: The War on Terror (not a COIN game) or A Distant Plain (COIN Vol 3)?

  8. Actually, since both apply to my question, both of them!

    But yeah, I was conflating the two into one game. The picture I had in my mind was Labyrinth.

  9. Do you feel the same about one of the GMT Games COIN games, War on Terror?

    Haven’t played them. Its not a genre of game that I really feel comfortable about as these issues of civilian deaths occur in these types of operations and they often have far moer complicated politics and events than a game can really portray.

  10. Then it appears that you do feel that way about them (or at least that genre of game).

    Which is perfectly valid. I was just curious.

  11. Yeah, war is bad and civilian casualties are bad, and you certainly are not going to find me defending the invasion of Afghanistan, but I think it’s just the recency of the thing that gets people’s goat for the most part. Did you feel the same way about the same developer’s Vietnam game?

    Vietnam is an utter cesspool of a conflict. What happened to the civilian populations of the country over the course of the conflicts there was horrid. I read a fair bit about the conflict while I was in university and even thought about writing about it as a thesis but then life went some other way.

    Reading Bright Shining Lie was eye-opening.

  12. That’s war. Every single war sees civilian casualties.

    This is not about war though its about counterinsurgency and that is a much different beast than two armies facing off against one another.

    Also, typically in games we don’t use mechanisms that we know directly result in innocent civilians being killed. Drones and airstrikes in Afghanistan end up with innocent civilian deaths.

    Its why I would never play any of the B17 series of games as well but that is a different topic.

  13. Kolbex says:

    Could be. I think I also saw it in one or two Steam reviews.

  14. The QT3 review here makes the same point, that Vietnam 65 takes as its starting point the understanding of the war as it stood in the minds of the US command, and plays it completely straight. I seem to remember the TMA podcast expanding on this thought too.

    On ‘acceptable’ wargames, it’s not unreasoanble to draw personal limits. I happily played a Falkands game but would balk at a Northern Ireland COIN game. Tim Stone wrote a brilliant Flare Path piece last week about the death of his great-grandfather in a minor battle in the Ypres salient, and his own discomfort at what it means to enjoy games of simulated war.

    Sometimes I wonder what Thomas would have made of his great-grandson’s penchant for play – my enthusiasm for representations of war that are both ‘realistic’ and resolutely superficial at the same time. Sometimes I wonder whether I’d happily spend so much time recreating WW2 dramas if I had ancestors who’d perished at Alamein, Arnhem, Stalingrad or St. Vith. Do I need emotional distance to wargame with an easy conscience?

    If the answer’s ‘yes’ then maybe I’m closer to those medal-festooned Fates in that far-from-the-front château than I care to admit.

  15. tstedt says:

    Until they fix the 64-bit issue I’m kind of done with Slitherine.

  16. js619 says:

    It’s out, US App Store at least. $19.99, doesn’t appear to have IAP. Link below for those interested, as it didn’t show up with a title search - had to look under Slitherine.

    Afghanistan '11 by Slitherine

  17. A quick warning to Stately Players - I picked this up yesterday, and it is a very fun game, but there is currently a game breaking bug in it. You can’t heal units at a Forward Operating Base, even if you buy the base upgrade. This is such a key mechanic, its hard to believe that it made it through playtesting.

    I’m not familiar with the game industry, but does testing form part of the publisher’s duties? If it does then I’m pretty fed up with Slitherine. Panzer Corps also had a game breaking bug on the ipad that took them the best part of the year to fix. And this comes on top of the whole 64 bit debacle - I get that they don’t have any obligation to update, but they are the only producer of premium priced apps that didn’t update (at least in my collection). Not showing much goodwill to their customers.

    I guess its my own fault for continuing to give them my money, but there’s not many other people making games like this. Shame they don’t seem to have as much regard for their customers as I do their games!

  18. js619 says:

    Glad someone was the guinea pig on this one… I was holding off on it because Warhammer Quest 2…

  19. I was holding off on it because of the price.

    $20 US means it’s going to be $30 for me, probably (I should go check).

    That takes it from “impulse buy, hopefully I’ll play it” to “I’d better damned well want to play it.”

    And so far, that feeling ain’t there.

  20. To be fair, I think its a tremendous game, once they sort out the bugs. And the crashes.I was really enjoying it until I hit the bug - I hate bugs like this because it takes ages to confirm that you just haven’t misunderstood the rules.

    Yeah - for $30, maybe wait!

  21. js619 says:

    Price was definitely a consideration with this one, although it usually doesn’t factor into my decision making with iOS games - I would gladly pay and have paid that for games. Were I not obsessed with WHQ2 and TtA lately I probably would’ve pulled the trigger on this one, even at that price point.

  22. Ditto on the price giving pause. Usually I believe in putting my money where my mouth is and paying a proper price for premium games, and I’ve been looking forward to A’11, but £20 is enough to make me go hm- especially with FarmVille in Space Hades’ Star and WHQ2 already absorbing lots of time.

    Also, despite fucking Brexit, £20 does not yet equal $20.

    Further also, this is Slitherine who were content to let premium games wither on the 32-bit vine looks resentfully at Qvadriga

  23. Yeah, all of that is a consideration for me.

    But the main one for me is the difference between taking a chance on a game that I may not play but looks interesting and wanting to support the developer, and “If I spend that much money, I have to know I’m going to play it.”

    I bought Vietnam '65 when it was on sale (but probably still too much for an “impulse buy”) and really haven’t touched it.

    I can’t afford to do that with a $30 game.

  24. js619 says:

    Doesn’t help that I can’t find any reviews of the iOS version at all, coupled with @feederofgoats crash and bug issues.

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