The Longest Battle Experiment

Sometimes, Command scen builders like to experiment. No stranger to pushing the limits, Gunner98 tried an extremely-long, Lua-filled epic called “Northern Fury 12.6-The Longest Battle“.

It was trying out the game in a new way. Not in the sense of pushing the limits of conventional difficulty per se-this was not the wargaming equivalent of the Kaiser Knuckle General, a boss so hard it took twenty years for proof of an unassisted win to emerge. No, it was telling a big story and trying to move beyond the tactical snapshots that even big scenarios essentially are.

In my correspondence with Gunner, he considered it ‘overambitious’, beyond both the attention of a normal player and his own Lua skill (at the time). But he didn’t consider it a complete failure, in fact it was a valuable learning tool. In his own words…
The one key thing the scenario has allowed me to do is a proper assessment of forces needed for the task, and it has allowed my to tie the story of Northern Fury, Caribbean Fury, Mediterranean Fury and a probably never to be built ‘Southern Fury’.

The reviews and AARs have been halting but useful, largely from a story sense, but also from the aspect of the game itself – how to play all those MPA Sqns, how best to set up the Oscar Ambush etc. And it has helped teach me Lua a bit more.

As you probably know, I like to use the scenarios to tell a story so it has helped me tie the whole thing together.

So what do I think? I played just a bit of it.

  • I love the feeling of small forces fighting on the periphery of a big war. I also like the feeling of a scenario that gives the impression of a World War, not merely a GIUK one.
  • There’s some strict plausibility issues with the Soviets sending so many high-end subs so far forward, but I could accept it as a doctrinal change between the point of divergence and scenario start.
  • Less time and more randomness might make it more accessible and playable should something like it be tried again. Different theaters could be prioritized via special action-if you guessed wrong, oops.

As for Northern Fury as a whole, I felt a weird analogy-the North African campaign of World War II. Like Northern Fury, that campaign featured a herculean air/naval war. And like Northern Fury, for logistical and terrain reasons, the ground forces involved are extremely small in proportion to the massive (possibly too massive) battles on the European mainland. It’s still not exact, and I don’t know if Gunner agrees, but I did see the parallel.

Now the “___ Fury” series is moving to the Indian Ocean. Hormuz is getting attacked, and the US has a lot on its plate even without that issue. I do think the ‘stress test’ of The Longest Battle, even if a little too overambitious, has nonetheless been extremely helpful and useful.