Tag Archives: Norm Koger

Storm Eagle Software: a company that would have made George Orwell proud

IF this is the new paradigm for software distribution, it leaves a lot to be desired.  (written in 2012, not posted until now)

Note from the year 2013: I wrote this a year ago, and sort of let it lay in the draft hopper out of apathy.  It’s still all true, but I would add a small epilogue: I did finally get the software installed after two weeks of effort and lots of repeated system admin tasks…. and it sucked!  The game interface is moronic, you have very little control over individual ships beyond steering them and hoping for the best, and it’s a bit of a yawner.  Not really worth giving an in-depth review too.  Kind of anti-climatic after all that work, no?  I have to stress that Storm Eagle, cited here, did not create the software I’m trying to install in this transaction, so I can’t fault them directly for that, that’s all on Totem Software’s head. In the end, I wasted my money, and went through a lot of stress, to boot.  I’m posting this a year later, really because it amuses me more than it angers me.  The so-called customer service rep’s replies become blander and less officious as the exchange continues, and in the end I wondered if he could type that drivel with a straight face.

There are days when I feel like a relic, and the last four days have certainly made me feel that way. I have always had an interest in games with a military history element to them; that much might be obvious from casual reading of this blog. So when I was idly responding to an advert banner ad about Dreadnoughts at the Storm Eagle Software site, I noticed this boffo new-ish product:

Totem Games Victorian Admirals

They are having a sail on Totem Games’ VICTORIAN ADMIRALS collection for roughly 30 bucks. This is just ducky for a guy like me who’s nuts for the pre-dreadnought Age of Steam naval conflict era– I have reservations about the Totem Games interface– it’s a little clunky and not exactly inspirational, but the art is lovely and the history is obscure.

So I did a mental version of “Yipppeee!” and ordered it.

Full disclosure: I just ordered it. This is TOTALLY my fault for jumping and not looking.  Don’t even bother lecturing me or shaking your head.  I didn’t think about reading the damned fine print. I did zero research. I saw something about digital delivery, but so what? I’ve ordered games from Matrix Games with a digital delivery option, I just got a download code, downloaded the thing and that was it. I’ve even ordered from GOG.com in the past, and though it was slow, I downloaded their version of digital delivery. So what could possibly go wrong?

There was a link on the Storm Eagle website that informed me that they were selling the software as an affiliate for SES.  Yeah, yeah, so…

Without reading much more than that, I paid by paypal, and was then told I had to download the STORMPOWERED application which is the way they were going to send me VICTORIAN ADMIRALS.  I should have had alarm bells going off at that stage, but I complied, downloaded their “STORMPOWERED” client application, which is somehow beneficial to the software delivery process.   Digital Delivery, as my hipster younger friends tell me, is the way of the future for computer programs.  That’s progress.

FOUR DAYS LATER, after frequent attempts to download the product I PAID FOR, with NO CHANCE OF A REFUND, I realized that A) I was foolish and should have read the fine print, and B) this ain’t no way to run a railroad.  Because we’re in the age of “Digital Distribution”, Storm Eagle Software has essentially adopted policies that preclude the customer getting a refund if he or she is dissatisfied, with no redress whatsoever.  There are no reasonable alternatives offered if the client doesn’t work– I can’t get a CD download (hell, I’d even pay extra for it now).  I can’t access the software from a secure FTP site, like I can with Matrix Games.  Throughout the process of dealing with Storm Eagle Software’s so-called customer service agents, I have been told that this is essentially my fault.  I have followed their instructions.  I’ve tried to download this at home and at work.  The STORMPOWERED client, essentially, is defective.  It will apparently work if I add exceptions to my anti-virus software and log in as an administrator to install and run it.  I have done so, and it still doesn’t work.   So, apparently, I’m also supposed to do all these extra system administrator tasks to download a file.   I rapidly got fed up with the defective software, requested a refund, and was told that no refunds are granted.  I asked for a CD delivery, and was told they don’t supply software that way.  I asked for a FTP download and was told they wouldn’t make an exception for me.  During the four days of increasingly fruitless “customer service” emails from  the while, every message ended with a cheerful variant of “We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure you get your product”.   Except, of course, CD Delivery, FTP delivery, or any other reasonable option to satisfy a very disgruntled customer.

Do you think I’m over stating this?  Maybe, being a bit of a drama queen?  Read on by clicking below.

But wait, there’s more!


Matrix Games Annual Sale

Matrix Games is holding an annual sale right now, which is a pretty good deal. I blow kind of hot and cold with standalone computer wargames these days, because I guess I haven’t seen much to compare to the old glory days of John Tiller games and Talonsoft. Still, Matrix Games hangs in there and cranks out turn based wargames for the PC, and if I’m going to play a computer game (not internet based) that’s the kind I want to play– so I give them some hard earned coin once in a while. Without a doubt, their record has been spotty in recent years. I’m not the fan I once was after EMPIRES IN ARMS came out, though I set that one up with my own expectations. Regardless, they still make some great games. I picked up REVOLUTION UNDER SIEGE earlier in the year, which is pretty good, although it plays like a lot of Ageod games.

There’s no coupon code involved, but here’s the prices and discount levels.

Product Name Normal Price Sale Price You Save Discount
Across the Dnepr Second Edition $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
AI War Alien Bundle $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
American Civil War – The Blue and the Gray $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Armada 2526 $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Armada 2526 Supernova $14.99 $10.99 $4.00 27%
Battle Academy $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Battle Academy – Blitzkrieg France $14.99 $10.99 $4.00 27%
Battle of Britain II – Wings of Victory $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Battlefront $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Battles In Italy $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Battles in Normandy $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Birth of America $14.99 $10.99 $4.00 27%
Birth of America 2: Wars in America $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Campaigns on the Danube 1805 + 1809 $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Carriers at War $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Chariots of War $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Close Combat: Cross of Iron $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%

Close Combat: Last Stand Arnhem $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%

Close Combat: Modern Tactics $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Close Combat: The Longest Day $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Close Combat: Wacht am Rhein $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Combat Command: The Matrix Edition $34.99 $23.99 $11.00 31%
Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge $59.99 $40.99 $19.00 32%
Commander – Europe At War Gold $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Commander – Napoleon At War $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Conquest Of The Aegean $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Conquest! Medieval Realms $19.99 $6.99 $13.00 65%
Crown of Glory: Emperors Edition $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Distant Worlds $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Distant Worlds – Return of the Shakturi $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Empires In Arms $59.99 $40.99 $19.00 32%
Field of Glory $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Field of Glory – Eternal Empire $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Field of Glory – Immortal Fire $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Field of Glory – Legions Triumphant $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Field of Glory – Rise of Rome $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Field of Glory – Storm of Arrows $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Field of Glory – Swords and Scimitars $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Flashpoint Germany $34.99 $23.99 $11.00 31%
For Liberty! $34.99 $23.99 $11.00 31%
Forge of Freedom $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Frozen Synapse $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Gary Grigsbys Eagle Day to Bombing of the Reich $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Gary Grigsbys War Between The States $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Gary Grigsbys War in the East $79.99 $53.99 $26.00 33%
Gary Grigsbys World at War: A World Divided $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Gates Of Troy $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Great Invasions $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Guns of August 1914-1918 $34.99 $23.99 $11.00 31%
Hannibal: Rome and Carthage $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Harpoon Ultimate Edition $59.99 $40.99 $19.00 32%
Highway to the Reich $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Highway to the Reich Strategy Guide $14.99 $10.99 $4.00 27%
Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
HISTORY Great Battles Medieval $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Hornet Leader PC $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Horse and Musket: Volume I $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
John Tillers Battleground Civil War $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
John Tillers Battleground Napoleonic Wars $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
John Tillers Campaign Series $34.99 $23.99 $11.00 31%
Kharkov: Disaster on the Donets $49.99 $33.99 $16.00 32%
Korsun Pocket $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Legion Arena Gold $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Legion Gold $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Making History II: The War of the World $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Maximum Football v2 $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Napoleon in Italy $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Norm Kogers The Operational Art of War III $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
Officers – The Matrix Edition $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Operation Barbarossa – The Struggle for Russia $34.99 $23.99 $11.00 31%
Panzer Command: Ostfront $34.99 $23.99 $11.00 31%
Panzer Corps: Wehrmacht $39.99 $19.99 $20.00 50%
Revolution Under Siege $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Smugglers IV – Doomsday $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Spartan $19.99 $13.99 $6.00 30%
Star Sentinel Tactics $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Starships Unlimited v3 $24.99 $16.99 $8.00 32%
Steel Panthers: World at War – Generals Edition $69.99 $46.99 $23.00 33%
Storm over the Pacific $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Tin Soldiers: Alexander the Great $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
Uncommon Valor $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%
War In The Pacific $59.99 $40.99 $19.00 32%
War in the Pacific – Admirals Edition $79.99 $53.99 $26.00 33%
War Plan Orange: Dreadnoughts in the Pacific 1922 – 1930 $44.99 $30.99 $14.00 31%
World War II: General Commander $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
World War One Gold $39.99 $26.99 $13.00 33%
WW2: Time of Wrath $29.99 $20.99 $9.00 30%

Of these choices, I’d recommend War Plan Orange, Uncommon Valor, the Pacific War, Hannibal Rome and Carthage, Grigsby’s War in the East, Flashpoint Germany and Panzer Corps. Worth picking up.

I took advantage of the sale by purchasing FIELD OF GLORY, which is Slitherine’s adaption of Osprey Publishing successful ancient miniatures rules system. I may review this in depth at some point after playing it for a while. My initial impressions are that it is pretty impressive in terms of scenarios and interface but it isn’t the smartest game in the world. I’ve won every battle I’ve tried with it so far, even in situations where I’ve taken a substantially weakened position.

Field of Glory Screen Shot

Me kicking Carthaginian Butt. Just ignore that elephant.

I picked up the base game and the RISE OF ROME expansion. I am not disappointed, they are very entertaining, if not exactly the same thing as miniature wargames on my computer (which is what I was hoping for).

If you like turn based wargames you’ll probably feel sick if you miss this one. These are good deals.