12 Dec Pumas on the Prowl
When we first started to design Gamma Protocol, after the initial “wouldn’t it be cool…” moments, when we sat down and really started to think about how it would work, we realized that for it to be an effective game we couldn’t just cram a load of tanks into the ground units and be done with it, we had to mix it up.
For Gamma Protocol to grow into the strategically tactical turn-based game we wanted it to be, we had to include ground units that would bring a genuine depth to that strategic gameplay. More chess, less checkers. More Art of War, less two guys pumped in the parking lot throwing punches and shouting.
Which is why you’ll find six different ground units in the UN army alone, each filled with genuine vehicles from the era, and each unit type with a specific role to play. Among the most immediate and fun units to play with are the scouts. These armored cars were used by military forces of the time to recon enemy encampments, attack similar units or ambush infantry, and they were extremely effective in those roles.
Highly maneuverable, with the kind of firepower that can cut through troops with devastating ease, scout vehicles like the Sd.Kfz. 234 Puma can get across the battlefield in a couple of turns, spotting enemies left, right, and center. They can quickly flank an enemy and pick off weaker, unprotected vehicles like SPAs and AA units before slipping back into areas where the enemy cannot spot them, melting back into their surroundings.
A good armchair general will be able to use these fast-moving units effectively – they can be used as bait to tease enemy vehicles into traps in built up areas or they can be sent out on sweeping runs in front of the heavy guns to pinpoint enemy positions and get out of there before a single shot is fired.
What you don’t want to do, even though it is insanely tempting, is to hurl them straight down the middle, right into the jaws of the enemy, and let them get blown to pieces in the opening moves of the game, because although you will have exposed the enemy’s position, you will have gifted them some of your most valuable units – put a scout in front of one medium tank and that scout is going to suffer serious damage without putting a dent in the tank’s sides. Put a scout in front of two medium tanks and that scout will be dead before the second tank has finished firing. And once your scouts are out of action, those spotted enemies will suddenly return to an invisible state and you’ll be forced to send your own tanks forward to hunt for them. But sending slower moving vehicles into the enemy lines when that enemy still has its own scouts to put you on their heavy artillery’s map is a sure-fire way to get yourself hammered into the dirt.
Our advice is to keep hold of your scouts for as long as possible, they might not do much damage, but they will be a thorn in the side of your enemy the entire time they’re on the battlefield – you know you’ve done a good job when your opponent is hurling abuse at your scouts in the chat box!