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Yes, that's right. HT3 is with us, just a session or two of Roads & Boats after its predecessor. Which means one of two things. Either Winsome guv'nor John Bohrer (also the game's designer) is getting rich from this franchise, in which case I want 20%, or he ordered too many bits.
Rather than regale you with a full treatise of the game's strengths (refer to Counter 11), an outline of the significant differences between HT3 and its predecessors may prove more enlightening.
Remembering that the game pits two identical armies (circa 2022) for control of huge oil tracts on a symmetrical map, change one is in the make up of the combat units. Both sides now have an additional Allied force, which enter (as indicated on the Turn Order Display) during the first five turns. This Display provides a section to delegate the turn markers. The starting player additionally takes turns three and five, whilst his opponent clocks in on the even numbers (two, four and six). The superior Allied forces (two turns as opposed to one for the National Army) are also allocated an additional (Plane) marker.
When the set up is complete, the forces hurtle toward on another over the (now) DTP colour map, with an entirely different set of winning conditions in mind. HT1 required players to occupy the enemy airbase, whilst HT2 demanded the exit of units from the far side of the board, a far longer exercise. HT3 provides three options: 1, To hold the Well Heads at the end of a round of play; 2, Occupy two of the six opposing starting Urban areas; 3, Destroy, completely, either your opponents National or Allied army. The technical description for each victory is Oil, Political or Military.
Whichever route you take, the game will develop into an all-out assault. The smaller (A5) map seriously concentrates the action, and great care should be taken in utilising the variable units. To help get a handle on the armoury of two decades hence, John has provided a comprehensive description of each at the end of the exhaustive Rule Book, now a 24 page Leviathan. But don't panic! The pages are filled with illustrated play examples and the hardcore rules themselves would probably fit onto two A4 sheets.
What we have here is a wargame in the mould of Battle Cry, and not Europa Universalis, confirmed by an elementary Combat System which requires just a superior die role for units to inflict damage. This fundamental arrangement encourages conflict and allows the grey matter to concentrate on matters in hand, rather than continual referral to the manual. And the excellent Turn Order Display provides an instant reference point for the Attack/Defend/Move ratings for the nifty little moulded miniatures.
I assume my invitation (as Consultant) to the forthcoming HoverTank movie shoot is en route from the States. If not, I am surely now worthy of the entire Winsome catalogue. Make sure there is sufficient postage on the package John!