Dogger Bank – PC Game Review
Dogger Bank 1915: Jutland Ship Pack 2. PC Game Review. Publisher and Developer: Storm Eagle Studios. $24.95
Passed Inspection: Great basics, accurate modeling, fine editor.
Failed Basic: Interface takes some time to be comfortable with.
The years 1914 and 1915 were eye-openers for the Royal Navy. The Kriegsmarine proved itself to be both technically and tactically very capable with the bombardment of Scarborough and the close-run affair at Dogger Bank. The embarrassment of Coronel proved the new and more effective German ships to be more than a match for the pre-dreadnaughts the British left in harm’s way, the success at the Falklands notwithstanding.
Storm Eagle Studios re-creates this exciting period with the second add-on pack to its Jutland game, Dogger Bank. The results are most satisfying with 225 new ships in 24 classes, bringing the series total up to over 1430 vessels.
The biggest change for the series is not the content but the delivery system. Storm Eagle has discarded its cumbersome licensing system for a new client, StormPowered. This client may look similar to the Steam system but has the following advantages:
- Forum Access inside Client
- Timed Downloads
- Lockout Capability
- Optional Auto Diagnostic Uploads
- Integrated Customer Support Access
- Live User Activated Fail-Safe Option
- Auto Password Change w/email alert
- No PC Access Authorization via email Required
Players with the older games must uninstall their existing versions and reinstall with StormPowered. The procedure is painless.
Never Sign on to an Armored Cruiser
The hallmark for this series has been accurate and beautiful modeling of vessels; Dogger Bank maintains this standard. The old pre-dreadnaught types get the same treatment as the newest ships with details including armament, armor, control, and other systems. With the shell camera, players can “ride” a shell from muzzle to target. The environmental graphics, including persistent smoke, are great as is the sound. The camera system takes a little getting used to but works well.
The primary interface for play remains an on-screen fly-out menu. Here, players change course and speed for individual ships, divisions, or entire forces with click-and-drag followed by types of turns such as “Turn Immediately” and “Turn in Succession” for formations. Another formation order is “Turn Immediately and Form Line on Leader,” allowing vessels to maintain their original spacing. Waypoints can be set along a course, providing for irregular courses. “Turn in Succession” has been slightly modified to reflect tendencies for ships to turn sooner than standard operating practice. The fly-out also provides for targeting, speed and forming of different formations. Likewise, gunnery and torpedo combat can be handled via the fly-out with fire at will or at leader orders, although a hotkey can target specific ships.
The pack comes eight new scenarios with two campaigns, Dogger Bank and the Scarborough Raid, with alternates removing the British intelligence Room 40 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_40). A battle editor allows changing a pre-made scenario or creating an entirely new one. The extensive order of battle carries all ships with the German, British, and US navies in the North Sea throughout the war. A battle generator allows players to make “potluck” clashes to a chosen scale. Essential to victory is controlling ships in a way to maximize gunnery. With some of the older ships, this trick can be hard to pull off.
The Jutland series is a great experience. Dogger Bank increases the detail and excitement.
Armchair General Rating: 90%
About the Author
Jim Cobb has been playing board wargames since 1961 and computer wargames since 1982. He has been writing incessantly since 1993 to keep his mind off the drivel he deals with as a bureaucrat. He has published in Wargamers Monthly, Computer Gaming World, Computer Games Magazine, Computer Games Online, CombatSim, Armchair General, Subsim, Strategyzone Online.