Home Forums General PC and Console Gaming Is Harpoon any good?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Thomaston 22 hours, 40 minutes ago.

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  • #103451
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Just as the title says really: anyone played it and is it any good?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #103454
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    It was, it’s a bit dated now. I loved it though, played it to death on the Amiga back in the early 90s, and bought all the PC editions. If you want to dabble with modern (well late 20th century) naval warfare buy it, but check that it runs on W8/10

     

    Command, also from Matrix Games is more up to date and has more depth.

    http://www.matrixgames.com/products/product.asp?gid=483

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #103461
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I hated manual Harpoon – I am still theoretically awaiting my turn 4 results from c1990 from the umpire in a game that had seemed to last forever even then (he did not poor chap and I am now fated to wait in Cold War Naval Warfare Limbo forever).

    However, computerising all the gubbins behind each turn made it into one of the great early computer games – its subject matter was perfect for computerisation leaving you to make all the human (wrong?) decisions. I played it for hours but stopped as there is only so much work (the displays looked very like the real thing) you can take. The maps and displays looked disconcertingly like something called at the time the ‘Prototype All Source Analysis System (ASAS) Work Station (PAWS)’ – you can find a reference to it here – PAWS  under para 64766A Tactical Electronic Surveillance System TENCAP so if you fancy indulging your cold war fantasies it is still great -in a nostalgic state of the art 30 years ago way.

    I’m sure there are glitzier and more up to date things now as NCS says.

    This question made me realise I still had/have Harpoon edition v1.55b from c1994 – requires Windows 3.1 or higher! So I stuck it in the disc drive and whadya know? It runs perfectly on Windows10!

    Not quite as great as I remember, and some of the time management factors that dogged the manual version persist – a tendency to resort to 1 sec ‘moves’ – designed to allow you to do clever things, which I never managed to accomplish, whenever things get interesting and continual staff message interruptions as you are trying to launch a vital air mission or surface missile attack.

    My version is relentlessly blue grey with the odd splash of red – I remember a friend’s later version having pictures of actual vessels rather than the drawings this version has, so no doubt the later PC versions are better graphically, but it isn’t aimed at graphical whizziness – this is a game for sitting in the PWOs seat thinking ‘****ing STOP you ********! and wondering why your helo is readying for search when you have just pinged a Victor and you need torpedoes asap. And what is that blip that just appeared on the ESM readout? And…

    I’m glad I tried putting my DOS 5.0 or better version in! Not sure I’d fork out £46 for a new copy when there are other things out there.

    #103462
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    And on the other hand I really enjoyed playing ‘manual’ Harpoon.  Never had the computer version, but I do have Sixth Fleet which I think is somewhat similar.  S.F. can be quite frustrating at times but I keep playing it from time to time.  I used to spend hours at work on a night shift photocopyng the ship forms for Harpoon. Ah, memories.

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #103468

    McKinstry
    Participant

    I found the manual version tedious but the computer version was good for the technology at the time. As noted already, the Matrix modern Command series is quite good but it has a bit of a learning curve.

     

    Never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy and the pig just likes it.

    #103485

    Thomaston
    Participant

    I thought the game was great when I first played the DOS version, after a while, I got bored with the scenarios. Having modded the game adding ships and aircraft I saw the stats under the codes and I wasn’t too impressed. Some of the stats were arbitrary like gun hit probabilities. I also didn’t like the ability to re-target pretty much any missile and air to air missiles able to target each other (not sure if this is fixed in the Matrix versions).

    It’s good, if you want a fleet command simulation or adding your own fictional platform. If you’re into micro managing like me you’ll find a few weird stuff. The newer Matrix editions are the same base game + display improvements.

    Life's too long.

    #103490
    cmnash
    cmnash
    Participant

    If you’re into micro managing like me

    Completely off-topic, but ‘micro-managing’ takes on a whole new meaning when it’s you Thomaston!  

    .

    #103491

    Thomaston
    Participant

    Touché

    Life's too long.

    #103503

    A friend and I tried to play a game of Harpoon back when it came out.  We found it horrifyingly complex and never actually played the game.  He bought the computer version and rather liked it.  I don’t know that he plays it any more.  It’s not really my area of interest so, no.  I don’t play it anymore…or maybe I should say ever. 😉

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #103504
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I have never been a great fan of modern naval gaming with miniatures, but even if I was ‘manual’ Harpoon is a complete and utter ballache. As Mr Farrish said, it is a game of number crunching that is perfectly suited to being run on a computer. The graphics, or lack of, don’t matter. You don’t get to see much from the operations room of a warship anyway 🙂

    If you want a boardgame that does something similar, Victory Games’ venerable ‘Fleet’ series is excellent. I own them all.

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #103507
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Yep, Happy to concur with that recommendation. I still have 2nd and 6th Fleets on the shelves – not sure what happened to the others, probably in store somewhere weird that I have forgotten about.. (Don’t think I ever got 5th Fleet).

    Actually you could make those into pretty good computer games. I think someone had a go with 5th Fleet but what happened to it I have no idea.

    #103508
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    If searching for something manual what about good old SEASTRIKE?

    #103511
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Yes. I admit I thought he was asking about the computer game (see original link) and we had wandered off track, but absolutely if you want a tactical game of modern(ish) warfare, Seastrike is brilliant. Mine’s in the attic – saw it the other day – might dig it out now.

    (Where did I put those chinagraph pencils?)

    #103513
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    He was asking about the computer game, which is probably why he put this on the ‘PC and console gaming board’, but as Whirlwind hasn’t responded I assume we’ve confused him/pissed him off/both with our ramblings down ‘manual’ and boardgames memory lane 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #103515
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I once got part way through writing a programme in CBasic to play seastrike. I’d got to the point where a pair of gun armed light frigates could shoot at each other, but never got the full gameplay sorted.

    It’s a great game to take to Papua New Guinea to while away boring evenings in camp.

    #103517
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for the responses, really interesting.  Now nicely caught in indecision between Harpoon and Command…

    & yes, I was only thinking of PC games.  I have never played the manual version of Harpoon but it looked way too complicated to make a good manual game.  I did use to own (and play) 2nd Fleet a long time ago, can’t think what happened to it…

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #103453

    Paul Allcock
    Participant

    Played quite a few times. It’s very good. But also very detailed and that makes for long (or unfinished) games.

    It has some nice ideas (e.g. provision for weapons/ systems not performing as advertised – on the basis that manufacturers always inflate specs) but even an action with about half a dozen ships per side can get bogged down into a lot of dice rolling for detection/ lock-on/ incoming detection/ countermeasures/ defensive fire.

    If you can get hold of them the old (1970s?) Dodo Modern Naval Warfare rules in my opinion gave a better mix of playability versus detail, Harpoon – especially post 2nd edition – is for die-hard players with a lot of time.

    #103999

    Thomaston
    Participant

    A game I haven’t played but should be similar is Command: Modern Air Naval Operations. I think it has better graphics and more modern user interface.

    Life's too long.

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