Computer Gamer

Tigers In The Snow

Publisher: Strategic Simulations Inc
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Computer Gamer #14

Tigers In The Snow

Tigers In The Snow is part of US Gold's Transatlantic Simulation series and allows you to re-enact Germany's last offensive of World War II. The crucial battle that followed became known as the Battle Of The Bulge.

With this game, you can play either side against human or computer opponent and see how you contend with the problems of terrain, weather, supply and combat tactics.

To give wargame novices a fighting chance you can also bias the game in one side's favour by altering the combat factor of the units.

Tigers In The Snow

This combat factor represents the relative strengths of the units which may be reduced in combat until finally the unit is lost.

However, how a unit actually fights depends not only on its combat factor but also the ground it is fighting on and the supplies it gets. For example, a Panzer regiment is greatly weakened without fuel and ammo.

Fuel was the German's greatest problem and so it is in this simulation. The German player begins the game with a certain fuel allocation; part of this is used every time a German unit is moved. Although this is topped up by a small amount each turn, it is still an important factor and, if ignored, can literally cause the German offensive to grind to a halt.

Tigers In The Snow

Allied forces also have problems and generally have to fight a defensive action against the superior German numbers.

The game is played on a map of the area with the opposing units displayed as symbols on a hexed board (although the hexes aren't actually shown, units can move in only six directions).

Each turn, a player can move some or all of his units and then attack with those adjacent to enemy forces.

The outcome is decided by comparing the different combat factors while taking into consideration numerous factors familiar to most wargamers. These include whether the defender is in a strong position such as a tower or wood, or is he in an open field. Is he flanked by friendly units or is he surrounded, not to mention the tactics used by both sides. For example, the outcome would be different if a unit was merely engaging in a light attack to discover enemy strengths to an all-out major attack, particularly if the enemy counter-attacks.

Thankfully, the computer is there to do all the number crunching and reports on the outcome which usually results in all units losing some of their combat factor. If the attack was particularly strong or successful, the defender might be forced to retreat, or be eliminated altogether. Then the victor can advance onto new battles.

Tigers In The Snow is an excellent simulation wargame similar in style to board wargames that dedicated wargamers will know and love. This happy band will relish the thought of a computer not only to challenge their skill as players but also to take care of all the maths, leaving them to concentrate on perfecting their General impressions.

Beginners to this fascinating hobby will find this a good introduction as the demo games will show the winning tactics that can be 'safely' practised in biased games before trying the 'real' game.