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Möbius Front '83 from Zachtronics now has online and AI multiplayer

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Möbius Front '83, the difficult turn-based strategy game from puzzle masters Zachtronics has seen a big free expansion adding in quite a lot.

So far, it seems like possibly the only Zachtronics title that hasn't become some kind of instant classic. However, they're clearly trying to make big improvements to it. Personally, I enjoyed it though and it is good but the challenge was tough and that's what put a fair amount of people off. This update is a nice step towards making it more approachable since you can dive in for a battle against the AI whenever you want to learn more, or against others online.

That's not the only addition. Because your ability to play as the enemy "Americans" is only unlocked when you complete the single-player campaign, they also added a brand new Soviet Army faction with over 20 units, including the T-72 Ural (an old tank but cheap tank that can be used to overwhelm your opponent), the paratrooper team (which can deploy directly to any open hex on your side of the map), and the BM-21 Grad (which launches four artillery attacks at a target in a single turn).

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"The year is 1983 and the United States of America must defend itself from an enemy it could have never imagined— an America from an alternate universe that will stop at nothing to seize control of the country’s heartland!"

If you missed it you can buy it on Steam and (which went live 2 days ago) with the GOG release still tagged as coming "soon". 

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Kimyrielle 18 Jan
Quotethe challenge was tough and that's what put a fair amount of people off.

This is really something I never quite understood about the gaming industry. Why limit your potential revenue by catering to only one type of audience, when all it takes to be more inclusive and thus more profitable, is adding a difficulty slider?
I belong to that group that enjoys difficulty in small doses, so when I hear a game more or less bragging about how hard it is, I stop reading right there. And often enough these are games I'd otherwise enjoy. Their loss more than mine, I suppose. But still strange.

Last edited by Kimyrielle on 18 January 2021 at 11:17 pm UTC
denyasis 19 Jan
Quoting: KimyrielleWhy limit your potential revenue by catering to only one type of audience, when all it takes to be more inclusive and thus more profitable, is adding a difficulty slider?

I too enjoy difficultly in small doses. Gaming shouldn't be frustrating, we have our OS for that, lol.

But sadly, the problem with the slider is how is adjusts difficulty. I'm a big fan of TBS and often the biggest complaint is the difficult setting has nothing to do with the skill of the opponent, instead just increasing the amount of resources for the AI to mismanage. For some reason people feel upset that the AI can only win by "cheating" and not from skilled play

Also making the slider is not exactly easy either. You'd essentially have to make sure every setting is "balanced" in terms of game mechanics and AI behavior. Often nerfing units or resources causes the AI's to turtle, but with no resources.

Even if it's supposed to be easy, having the AI sit in the starting base with nothing but spammed cheap units isn't (always)fun.

I like the idea of the slider, just not always the implementations for TBS.
Alm888 19 Jan
The game has many shortcomings besides the "difficulty".

A "spoiler guard" for those who didn't play (or didn't see the YouTube full "Let's Play" like myself).
Spoiler, click me

1) The game is very lackluster in terms of "landscape". 95% it is just the same "grassland/forest" setup. The (rather) late addition of "nanobots" does not change much;
2) there "gameplay" is very repetitive: imagine the "<Something> Wars" game for Nintendo systems but with only the pre-positioned maps. Half of the fake difficulty comes from the initial "fog of war" (a player does not know in advance what to expect) with no opportunities to probe the ground during the first attempt. After memorizing the setup and positioning of the OpFor scenarios become easier;
3) while the AI is not bad, the other part of the fake difficulty comes from the fact that a player is always outnumbered, sometimes 3 to 1;
4) if we continue to pit this game against the "Whatever Wars" series, there is another problem: however tactically brilliant a player may be, (s)he is always handicapped by the fact that (s)he does not have access to all of the equipment/armaments but only to that the developers impose (most of the time the "tanks_for_the_win" are not only limited by the high cost in points, but also by additional "maximum number deployed" restriction) because the developers have realized the game is not balanced (is heavily biased towards tanks) and tried to prevent "tank rush" tactics;
5) on top of previous fake difficulty instances the game is a cheating bastard: the addition of the "third side" is a bluff -- the "nanomachines" do not have their own separate turn. Nominally (according to lore), they are hostile to all, but the AI moves them as it sees fit in an arbitrary order: if a nanomachine does not impose threat to any "grey-US" forces, it might move first, otherwise the AI will make sure the endangered unit moves first out of range. Smoke and mirrors, just another attempt to throw even more enemies at a player;
6) high level of "RNGod" involved: an attempt can be easily successful, or totally ruined by an enemy tank just one-shotting a player's tank (one of the two);
7) in terms of a story… the game has none. All those intermissions are basically "one day in the army" vignettes, nothing more. And nothing gets explained/resolved. Just shoot the "bad guys", that's all;
8) probably something I've forgotten.

All in all, a rather lackluster attempt at "tactics game" from a company versed in programming puzzles. Some may say it is a programming puzzle disguised as a "tactics game".

I hope their future attempts will be more polished (if there will be any).
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