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Video Game / Wargame: Red Dragon

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Wargame: Red Dragon is an RTS game released by Eugen Systems in 2014, the sequel to Wargame: AirLand Battle, itself a sequel to Wargame: European Escalation. This version of the game changes the setting from the European front to East Asia, and includes Chinese, Korean (of both flavours), Japanese, Australian and other forces in that sphere of influence. The gameplay is built around commanding a combined-arms force of forces from either side, choosing your arsenal from a vast array of pretty much every unit fielded by the in-game nations. The game has multiplayer matches from 1v1 to 10v10, as well as a campaign mode playable in 1v1 or versus the AI.

The gameplay is similar to that of the previous game, involving ordering your units to capture territory and engage the enemy whilst managing your troops' supplies and ammunition levels, with the addition of the ability to control aircraft. As such, gaining air superiority is a vital part of winning any battle.

The main addition to this version of the game is the introduction of naval combat, although it stays more to the littoral side of things. The biggest ships available are the Japanese Kongo class destroyers for BLUFOR and the Soviet Udaloy 2 and Sovremenny class destroyers for REDFOR.


It all comes down to the infantryman and his tropes:

  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Averted. While most shells and rockets hit the groud if they miss, missiles can easily exceed their stated range and go flying off into the wild blue yonder and, as many players have experienced, back down onto a command vehicle kilometers from the front line.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI sucks at logistics, no matter what difficulty they are set at:
      • The AI will never place a second FOB, even if their deck has one. This massively reduces the supplies available to them and their side.
      • AI is terrible when it comes to supplying their forces in the field. While they will sometimes repair and rearm some units, for the most part they prefer just to call in more units. They are especially bad when it comes to refuelling, meaning that most battles eventually result in the map being littered with vehicles that are undamaged and have almost full ammunition stocks, but aren't actually doing anything because they've run out of fuel. Again, this happens regardless of how many supply units they have in their deck. To make things worse, trying to refuel their vehicles will usually result in them moving the vehicle away as soon as it has any fuel, meaning it basically just wastes the fuel and stops a few meters from where it was. If you want to play single-player skirmishes, get used to managing both your logistics and your allies.
      • The AI loves sending some of their helicopters on long trips over water, which often results in them running out of fuel and being stranded over water, meaning they can't land, meaning they can't be refuelled.
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  • Attack Its Weak Point: just like in reality, armored vehicles tend to have the bulk of their armor on their forward face; learning how to flank enemy vehicles to take advantage of their weaker side armor is an absolute must.
  • Aussies with Artillery: Australia, along with New Zealand, is a new playable country.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: While most of the infantry command squads are only regulars, the East German Fuhrungstrupp are considered shock troops, and as such fire more accurately and can move faster than any other command squad in the game.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In addition to the notes on the first game's page, the resource requirements for most MLRS systems and heavy howitzers have been raised to prohibitive levels. More recent patches have extended the aiming times for most artillery systems.
    • Heavy bombers capable of dumping as many as thirty bombs can flatten entire city blocks, but their turnaround time is abysmal, as might be expected from having to bolt all those weapons onto the airframe. This is one of the reasons cheap light bombers remain popular.
    • The most powerful artillery pieces in the game tend to carry only one or two shots before they need to be resupplied, making them useless for suppressive fire, or if you need an actual artillery barrage. Even worse, each shot requires a lot of supplies, making lighter howitzers and mortars far more cost effective.
    • Superheavy tanks have enough firepower to destroy most other vehicles and enough armor to survive other tanks' guns, but you only get one card of two, maybe three, tanks that your opponent will be sending everything they have to destroy. "Good" superheavy micro involves a lot of babysitting them in smoke, only advancing with them when absolutely needed.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: Lots and lots of APCs and IFVs are available to all sides, since all infantry come with transports. This makes for choices: do you take cheap, spammable APCs to maximize the number of infantry you could call in, or do you spend more on expensive IFVs with powerful autocannons but cost as much as some lighter tanks?
    • America is one of the factions most capable of this, as a Mechanized Infantry deck can easily field upwards of 100 M2 (APC) Bradley or M3 (Recon) Bradley variants.
    • USSR also use lots of cool APCs, like BMP, BMD and infamously powerful BTR-90. One of the more effective means of locking down a town with AA infantry is to get a four-pack of Igla infantry in the model of BMPs with quadruple machine guns and a heavy autocannon. The missiles can deal with the planes while the rifles and the piles of automatic guns deal with the helicopters.
    • Israel is able to use a version of their Merkava main battle tank as an APC, and it is just as effective against other tanks as the normal version (though it carries only 9 rounds for its main gun, since the normal storage area is left empty to allow them to carry troops). It also carries an automatic grenade launcher, making it extremely effective at clearing out entrenched infantry.
    • West Germany is also particularly well known for their Marders, which are armed with potent 20mm autocannons and very accurate anti-tank missiles. Then there's the Marder 2, which doesn't have missiles but makes up for it by packing a massive 50mm autocannon capable of knocking out light tanks.
  • Bilingual Bonus: each country's units will speak the language of that country—French soldiers speak French, Russians speak Russian, et cetera.
  • Boring, but Practical: Most fighting is going to be done with cheap line infantry, cheap transports, mortars, and cheaper tanks like the base model Abrams and the T-72A. Using top-of-the-line units can certainly control the battle, but they are expensive and limited in number, making them a massive risk to expose and potentially lose. More numerous, more affordable units with decent stats are far more cost-effective and less of a pain to lose.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: very cheap, very old units are available en masse, if you want a lot of units on the field right now. All the REDFOR factions get access to the T-34 tank of WWII fame, but North Korea takes things a step further with the ability to field SU-76M tank destroyers, a unit that was obsolescent by 1945. (South Korea also has the option to field old M18 and M36 tank destroyers; the M-18 in particular is the fastest tracked unit in the game.)
    • Finland takes this even farther, with units equipped with weapons dating back to before WWII (The M/39 rifle and the Suomi SMG). Finland is also the only REDFOR nation that doesn't get the T-34, though they do get the British Charioteer, which is an upgunned conversion of the WWII Cromwell tank. They also have units that use the Lahti anti-tank rifle, from 1939, as a heavy sniper rifle.
    • Yugoslavia has a post-war variant of the M8 Greyhound, a version of the M18 Hellcat (called the SO-76 Helket), a version of the M36 tank destroyer (called the SO-90 Džekson), the M5 Halftrack, the Super Bazooka, a version of the MG 42note , the StG 44, and the Thompson Submachine gun. They almost qualify as a flashback episode to WWII.
    • The British and ANZAC use the Bren Gun and the M1919 machine gun. All three Commonwealth nations make use of the Sterling (or in Canada's case, the C1) SMG, which was designed in 1944, with trial models seeing use during Operation Market Garden, though it wasn't until 1951 that it was officially adopted. It should be noted that, unlike the T-34, these aren't used by units meant to be cheap, en masse options, with most of the units using the Sterling and the Bren actually being special forces or elite shock units (the SBS, the NZSAS, the Royal Marines, the Gurkhas, etc. The only real exception is the Canadians, who only give the C1 to small weapons teams and their Pioneers, and the ANZAC Diggers also using the Bren). In fact, the only militia unit available to the Commonwealth, the British Territorials, don't use any of these, instead carrying the L1A1 and M72 LAW. In fairness, the Sterling wasn't phased out until the mid-80's in most of the Commonwealth countries.
    • Israel has access to a post war version of the Sherman (granted, the version was first made in the 1970s, but the version of the T-34 used by most of the REDFOR factions dates to 1969, with the only exception being Yugoslavia's version, which is from 1977). Unlike with the T-34, it isn't a cheap tank meant to be used en masse, but instead a cheap tank destroyer (or fire support vehicle. Due to a bug, it is labelled a tank destroyer, but is placed under the fire support filter when building a deck). They also have access to a version of the M3 Halftrack, which they pretty much only use for their militia unit.
  • Canucks with Chinooks: This iteration of Wargame adds several prototype units, that were phased out or rejected due to the end of the Cold War, to Canada's arsenal.
  • Chinese with Chopper Support: China is a new playable country.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: A patch note indicates that the ability for the AI to smash your units despite not having scouts has been removed. This doesn't stop them from sending out multiple fighters that occupy the same space, swamping your aircraft. Wonder why you 170 point F-15C just got taken down by a 65 point MiG-21? It wasn't a single MiG... it was 5-6 of them all flying in exactly the same space, as the AI can spam them faster than you can send out planes manually.
  • Clown Car: Infantry transport vehicles are somewhat abstracted; they either can act as transports, or they can't, with no regard to capacity. This can occasionally lead to silly moments like a 15-man Marine squad piling out of a six-seat Humvee, or a 10-man VDV squad debussing from a BMD (actual passenger capacity, four). Occasionally inverted as well; a two-man ATGM or Recce team will take up the entire passenger space in a Chinook helicopter.
  • Cool Plane: Now with anti-ship missiles! Ranging from the Eurofighters to A-10 Warthogs to Su-27PU. If the're was an attack/fighter plane that a nation hyper-theoretically had or experimented during the 80s or 90s chances are its in here.
  • Cool Hat: The picture for the US Cavalry Scouts shows them wearing the old school cavalry Stensons, though their ingame model does not actually have them. However, the ANZAC NORFORCE scouts do wear the slouch hats shown on their units picture, and the French Foreign Legion wear white kepis. And, of course, there's always the berets worn by various special forces units and shock troops.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: While a "Naval" deck is only able to be selected in a naval battle, having a deck for land + water battles dedicated to mostly naval units can result in an early defeat if the rest of your team don't bother with the naval combat.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: For balance reasons, "HEAT" type anti-armour weapons will inflict at least 1 points of damage when it hits a target, even if the target's armour cannot be pierced. (The other type of anti-armour weapon, kinetic, cannot inflict damage on a target if it cannot pierce its armour. To compensate, the armour-piercing value of kinetic weapons increase as you move closer to the target.) This,together with the fact that all land units, except the non-combat unit FOB, have at most 10HP points means even the most heavily armoured modern tanks can only take 10 hits from HEAT weapons (such as infantry RPG, the main gun of some tanks, all ATGM)even the said weapon is hopelessly outdated. This makes it dangerous for tanks to go into forest or towns, as even a few militia squads have a reasonable chance of scoring a few hits on a modern tank with their otherwise harmless rocket-propelled grenades.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Most units' accuracies will go straight to hell when fired on the move, unless they're very well-trained infantry with a CQC-capable squad automatic weapon, or a vehicle with a high stabilization stat. It's a bit more intuitive than in Airland Battle, since individual weapons' accuracies are displayed as two stats: stationary and moving.
  • Draw Aggro: Infantry squads usually come with some sort of anti-tank weapon and a machine gun, but can't use both at the same time. The recommended tactic when fighting infantry in towns or forests is to advance your own infantry in front of their fire support, tying them down while allowing your vehicles free shots.
    • This can be replicated with tanks by using cheaper models to soak up fire for more expensive ones.
  • Dutchmen with Destroyers: The Netherlands is a DLC country.
  • Easter Egg: Some of the vehicles models have hidden details on them only visible if you look closely at them:
    • The ANZAC ASLAV-PC has "Cook the man sum eggs" written on the side of it.
    • The American Heavy Hog has a face drawn on its grenade launcher.
    • Several helicopters and airplanes have the classic shark face nose art, including the A-10 Warthog, of course.
    • Several planes and helicopters have markings indicating what unit they belong to, and several of them are for actual units:
    • The Finnish Charioteer has a heart on it, and their Hawk 51 has a bear painted on the tail.
  • Easy Logistics: To a much lesser extent than most RTSes. Although supplies are abstracted, the game tracks ammunition, fuel, and health (abstracted as "spare parts" or "infantry reinforcements") for units, and keeping supply lines open to support your advance and to keep units' fuel, ammo, and health topped off is a vital part of any match. As a bonus, supply trucks and forward bases can be captured.
    • Naval logistics is handled in the same way, but without fuel, which is abstracted since in reality it usually takes a ship at least a week to run out of fuel. Ships can be re-armed from a FOB located on the coast where possible, or from the new Naval supply ships. Which can themselves be resupplied from the FOB.
  • Finns with Fearsome Forests: Finland is a DLC country.
  • Garrisonable Structures: As always, infantry can defend buildings. A properly supported and dug-in infantry force can be nigh-impossible to dislodge and stop an armored charge in its tracks.
  • Glass Cannon: ATGM units and helicopter gunships don't last long when they're engaged, but they can easily inflict many times their own cost against an armored advance. French tanks take this dynamic, too: light armor, high mobility, powerful guns. Perhaps the purest manifestation is the Chinese PTZ-89 tank destroyer, a tinplate-armored light tank packing a 120mm cannon that rivals the main gun on super-heavy tanks like the T-72BM, M1A2, or Leopard 2A5.
  • Guide Dang It!: Most of the game, as the tutorials are extremely short basic text descriptions for the kind of game you'll be playing.
  • Home Guard: Reserve troops, like West German Heimatschutzen or British Territorials, are available troop options, for when you need a lot of low-cost troops to hold urban sectors. Mostly armed with a very poor assault rifle and launcher. The US and USSR, having large, professional militaries, don't field reservists.
    • Danish/Swedish reserve troops get an MG. While the Swedes are armed with bolt action rifles and the BAR, the Danish have a submachine gun and the coveted MG 3. This bumps them up to 10 points, basically making them inferior regular infantry.
    • Chinese Yubeiyi and North Korean Juckwidae are 15-man units with assault rifles or submachine guns available in large quanitites, keeping with the "popular militia" organization they have.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: You'll sometimes wonder if the gunners on board the various ships were honorary graduates as you'll watch shot after shot after shot just sail harmlessly past the intended target until one fluke shot actually lands on the target. While this could be justified for some of the 'less advanced' ships like the ones without complex stabilization systems like those of the Chinese and North Korean fleets, it isn't as justified for the more advanced ships which DO have those systems.
    • They do however avert this trope when engaging enemy anti-ship missiles. It's not uncommon to see the Kongo's 5 inch gun just snipe an incoming SS-N-22 Sunburn out of the sky. On top of that, the CIWS of most ships almost never misses its mark when missiles are incoming.
    • Old model anti-air missiles and ATGMs also suffer this. Justified as those missiles don't work well in real life. When a unit is shocked or panicked, they usually miss their targets.
  • Israelis with Infrared Missiles: Israel is a DLC country.
  • Kaiju Defense Force: Japan is a new playable country.
  • Kiwis with Carbines: New Zealand, along with Australia, is a new playable country.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Cheerfully served up by a variety of realistic units, including helicopters, airplanes, MLRS rocket artillery, and warships.
  • Military Mashup Machine: While many countries slap autocannons onto their tanks to deal with helicopters, North Korea takes it to a new level by installing MANPADS on a lot of their tanks and IFVs, allowing them to bring their own air defense. Flimsy air defense, but one nonetheless.
  • Multinational Team: A key mechanic in deck-building is the coalition: for instance, 'Eurocorps' (France and West Germany), 'Commonwealth' (Britain, ANZAC, and Canada), or 'Eastern Block(Poland, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia). At the cost of forcing the player to choose from the countries' unit lists, the coalition option unlocks country-specific prototypes and in some cases provides additional bonuses. They tend to be slightly more well-rounded than a single-nation deck, at the cost of less total deployment points, and fewer units per slot (e.g. Canada on its own can have 20 hardened Airborne units per slot, but in a coalition it only gets 14 per slot).
    • Individual wise: ANZAC is a combination of Australia and New Zealand troops, most likely to bolster the numbers of the new faction.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: SEAD missiles are the king of this trope ingame, generally inflicting enough damage to oneshot any surface-to-air missile launcher vehicle in the game. What's more unusual is that they can home in on vehicles armed with any radar-based weapon system... occasionally leading to the point-defense-immune SEAD missiles striking enemy warships.
    • Taken to extreme measures with the North Korean B-5, it drops one bomb, but said bomb can basically obliterate anything caught in its a blast radius.
  • North Koreans with Nodongs: North Korea is a new playable country.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Armor penetration is the most important stat in the game, especially given the numbers of armored vehicles and tanks. 16 AP is generally considered the number that makes or breaks an anti-tank weapon or gun, as that can one-shot the 2 armor often on transports that otherwise make them resistant to small-arms fire.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: ATGMs travel quite slowly and you could easily make out their progress, but only in comparison to high-velocity cannon rounds streaking across the battlefield. Of course, this is Truth in Television—missiles are slow compared to sabot shells, and whether or not your unit would be able to do anything about that missile trail heading toward them is another story entirely. If the ATGM unit gets taken out or loses line of sight, the missile will almost always veer off course, meaning that an extremely fast response might be able to save the targeted vehicle.
    • Averted with the anti-ship missiles which are very fast, which like in Real Life is mainly because they are much bigger and therefore have bigger engines. Ironically, as discussed in Point Defenseless below, warships have many more options for doing something about incoming missiles than your typical land unit.
    • The Israeli Maglan is a notable aversion as well. Their anti-tank missile both has an enormous range and an extremely quick flight time. By the time a player is aware of the incoming missile, it's too late to evade the Maglan's shot.
  • Point Defenseless: Averted. As in real naval warfare, the only way to successfully sink a modern ship (that is, one with air defenses installed) using missiles is to overwhelm it with dozens of missiles or to somehow close to gun range without being first obliterated by swarms of enemy missiles. As defender, you can often win a naval battle by properly positioning your ships so that all of your point defense systems complement each other. Once you've shot down all of the incoming enemy missiles, you can then launch your reply at leisure or close to gun range.
    • ATGMs, on the other hand, can partially bypass point-defenses as ships will not fire on them, and instead simply use countermeasures (flares) to spoof them.
  • Rare Vehicles: Tons of the damn things. To name a few; North Korea can field the T-90S as mentioned above. America has access to the COMVAT, a Bradley variant with a modified main gun (and no ATGM launcher) that - whilst apparently very popular with testing crews - never made it out of the prototype stage. Canada has the Chimera, a monster of a tank destroyer that may never have seen production due to mechanical issues with the weight of the vehicle versus the strength of its engine.
  • Selective Historical Armory: One of the issues with the naval combat. The game's cutoff point for including historical units is 1995, but in the pursuit of game balance and to avoid having the BLUFOR naval deck be entirely American, there are several units which are much more common than they should be and others which are absent despite being very common. For example:
    • The Japanese Kongo class destroyer is an offshoot of the American Arleigh Burke class. Only the Kongos are featured in the game, but only 1 Kongo had even been built in 1991, and she had not yet been commissioned. However, there were already 3 Burkes afloat and the first had actually been commissioned.
      • Making it all the more baffling, by 1991 there had been 19 US Ticonderoga class cruisers built, which have very similar (slightly heavier) armament to the Kongo and Arleigh Burke class ships. They do not feature at all.
    • A similar story with the Japanese Hatsuyuki class destroyers (11 built) completely displacing the similar American Spruance class (30 built).
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: The ships are horrendously short ranged compared to their real-life counterparts, mainly due to the scale of the maps being set up for land units, which are normally limited by things like hills, buildings, and trees.
    • For example, the max range of the in-game Harpoon missile is 8750m, or about 4.7 nautical miles. The real life RGM-84 Harpoon has a max unclassified range of 50-75 nautical miles, depending on the model.
    • Shipboard guns suffer similarly, with the OTO-Melara 76mm gun mounted on a variety of BLUFOR frigates having an ingame range of 3150m whereas in real life, depending on the ammo, it can reach out anywhere from 16000m to 40000m.
    • Air-to-air missiles have a similar issue, not to mention that no plane has a speed above 1,100km/h. Eugen seems to have skipped on planes being able to throttle up/down; they travel at a constant speed no matter what.
    • It has to be noted, though that land units' ranges are close to accurate, following in line with the games soft-core simulation tendencies.
  • Smoke Out: Most mortars and tube artillery can fire smoke shells, vital for cutting lines of sight and concealing units against enemy fire.
  • The Smurfette Principle: North Korea's Jeongchaldae recon sniper team is the only female unit for REDFOR and Israel's Milium for BLUFOR, at least as it appears on their unit cards.
  • South Africans with Surface-to-Air Missiles: South Africa is a DLC country.
  • South Koreans with Marines: South Korea is a new playable country.
  • Splash Damage Abuse: low-hovering helicopters are vulnerable to explosion damage, and killing unwary helis with aerial bombs and artillery shells happens occasionally. Against particularly careless enemies, even weapons like the 165mm HESH shell from the M728 CEV or a rocket barrage from a gunship helicopter will do the trick, if you target them correctly and account for dispersion.
  • Straight for the Commander: Like in the prequels. Doing so nets you a lot of victory points, as well as neutralize a key map sector.
  • Tank Goodness: If a tank was fielded by any East Asian nation in this game's time period, it's probably in here somewhere.
    • As with the other games, a lot of other units like armored cars, ATGM vehicles or artillery are also available.
  • Urban Warfare: City sectors play a prominent role on most maps, and make infantry an absolute necessity, since urban fighting is guaranteed to be extremely messy for all combatants involved. ATGMs sheltering in a city block will stop a tank charge in its tracks. There are also cities outside of control zones, which can be filled with infantry and their armed transports, and which can entirely lock down roads that run through them (unless the attackers have napalm...).
  • Veteran Unit: there are five levels of veterancy: Rookie, Trained, Hardened, Veteran, Elite; each level comes with some sizable but not game-breaking buffs to accuracy, rate of fire, and resistance to shock. Unlike in most games, however, you can often choose to buy higher-experienced units from the start: you'll just have less of them per card. (Would you prefer two rookie A-10s or one elite?)
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: they do not. Sapper/engineer units and some specialized infantry carry napalm weapons, which are especially deadly in urban fighting and can kill tanks at short range.
    • Napalm artillery deserves special mention, the TOS-1 Buratino can wipe small towns off the map.
    • Zig-zagged on some special forces, such as USSR Spetsnaz and Chinese Lijian-90. They carry thermobaric rockets, which are essentially long-ranged flamethrowers that also deals heavy damage on enemy infantry and light vehicles. These are the most efficient anti-infantry units in game, but are defenceless against armoured vehicles (As they don't carry anti-armour rockets used by normal infantry). Which means they are rather situational and often not worth the investment.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Is the case with the 3 BLUFOR campaigns, where the player has to withstand a communist assault with limited defenses before turning the tables with late arriving reinforcements.
  • War Is Hell: While not depicted outright, long and rough matches can see both sides lose the vast majority of their forces in the span of a single hour. Having multiple platoons wiped out in a second by carpet bomber strikes or whole tank columns shredded in an ambush aren't uncommon occurrences.
  • World War III: War in Korea or various other parts of Asia are part of the campaign. The most fitting example is the "2nd Korean War" campaign, with the direct belligerents being Communist China, North Korea and the USSR fighting against the United States, Canada, Federal Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.
  • Zerg Rush: Can be done with lots of small ships or cheap tanks. Its effectiveness has been toned down somewhat in recent patches; in the past, "spam T-55s and T-34s" was a popular option.
    • Of particular note is that, due to the game necessitating actual logistics management in the form of fuel and ammunition, throwing so many weak and cheap units at the opposition as possible in order to make them run out of ammo is a perfectly viable tactic. After all, the most modern tank in the world is still just a fancy lump of metal if that cannon can't fire. The aforementioned T-55 and T-34 spam strategy used this ammo drain as it's primary strategy.


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