Armour (Hrukar in Eqiti) is a roguelike created by Azeo Ezirr (a history student at the time) and latterly sold by Sozi Tafri Productions. Its unique selling point is its unusual setting and gameplay that aims to emulate armoured warfare as closely as possible. It was first released in 3547.
The premise of Armour is simple - you play as a tank commander in the Sirian League's 3rd Shock Azarrac during the Unification War. The aim is to survive to the end date of the conflict and get a high score. There are a number of preset starting dates for your campaign, covering the beginning of each of Siao Ebei's campaigns. Crew members and your tank can all be nicknamed.
At the beginning of each day, there is a random chance that your tank will be called up for action. This chance steadily increases the longer you are out of action, and days that had particularly fierce fighting have a correspondingly high base chance (and vice-versa in the case of quieter days). The player is always called up on the start date of the campaign. The player can load their tank with any combination of ammunition they wish, though it can only carry a historically accurate number of rounds and certain ammunition is restricted in availability. If the tank's crew members levelled up in previous battles, they can also learn new skills at this stage. These skills have a random chance to trigger when actions are performed. A planetary and system map shows the player's progress.
Once pre-battle set up is finished and a random number of rounds are expended to represent their tank performing reconnaissance by fire or otherwise supporting the other tanks in their column, the player enters a sector map that shows friendly and enemy held territory. A status bar of expected enemy activity gives a rough indication of how frequently encounters will occur and their difficulty, though this can be inaccurate to represent inaccurate intelligence. The day "type" is also displayed - an offensive, an attack, or a counterattack. A timer counts down as the player takes actions. The aim is to get from the starting sector to the exit sector, clearing enemy held sectors along the way and gaining Victory Points (the scoring system of the game). If time remains after reaching the exit sector, a new map is generated. Actions that can be taken are scouting (15 minutes), calling in an artillery fire mission or air strike/orbital bombardment (30 minutes), resupplying (45 minutes), and entering a new sector (15/30/45 minutes, depending on the terrain). Scouting gives the player a rough estimate of enemy resistance levels in adjacent sectors. An artillery strike tends to blind enemy units with smoke (breaking LOS to the player) rather than destroy them outright, whilst orbital bombardment and air strikes instead have a higher chance of destroying enemies. Resupply is exactly what it sounds like. Entering a new sector results in a random chance of an encounter. If the player wishes, they may use advancing fire whilst entering a new sector in exchange for expending a random number of shells - this has a chance of stunning or destroying any enemy units at the beginning of an encounter.
The encounter screen consists of a series of hexes with the player (and the rest of their column's tanks) represented by a single symbol in the middle. Enemies appear in three "rings" around the player, representing short, medium, and long range respectively. Symbols are used to represent both terrain (for example a building or forest) and enemies. Enemy units include infantry, powered armour infantry (both forms of infantry come in "tank hunter" and generic "infantry" flavours), drones, ATGM carriers/SPGs, vehicles of various sorts, self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons, and of course other tanks. Their exact performance depends on the specific model(s). Each warlord faction has different tactics - for example, one might prefer to remain at long range whilst another prefers to close as soon as possible. The behaviour of enemies are normally modified by the day type - in an offensive enemies have a much higher chance of starting the battle "Stunned" and therefore skip their turn or are destroyed outright. In an attack they behave as normal, whilst in a counter-attack enemies have a higher chance of not being stunned (although the player has a much higher chance of ambushing enemies as well). Other factors play a role: for example, a hull down unit is hit less often and has a higher chance of successfully surviving attacks. This could be imagined as gunfire impacting a ridge or wall rather than the tank itself, or shells sailing harmlessly overhead. The player is not the only Sirian League unit, and during a friendly action phase allied tanks and infantry attack and destroy enemies or blind them with smoke. Conversely, enemy units may pass over the player to attack infantry or other tanks. The player can give his crew a variety of orders, though he has to coordinate each order for best effect (for example, having his tank commander direct main gun fire whilst the gunner is on a Reload order).
Combat in Armour is invariably deadly (at least when an attack over-matches the enemy's armour) - if the player's tank is hit and knocked out, two rolls are made to see who survives - one represents the crew bailing out of their tank whilst the other is representative of any misfortunes that occur while the survivors make their way back to friendly territory. If the commander dies at either stage or is too seriously wounded to return to the front, it is game over.
Enemy Types Edit
A more in depth discussion of the types of enemies a player might encounter follows.
- Infantry: Bog standard infantry. They cannot harm your tank or its crew unless they are unbuttoned. Tank hunters can fire their ATGMs at you from short range or make the same small arms fire attack as regular infantry. Powered armour infantry are the same as tank hunters, except they can fire ATGMs from medium range and have a better chance of surviving.
- Drones: Much the same as infantry, though depending on the specific type they may only be able to be harmed by co-axial machine gun fire or the commander's machine gun.
- ATGM carriers/Self Propelled Guns: These vehicles - perhaps repurposed IFVs or dedicated machines - possess very strong frontal armour protection, making it very unlikely you can penetrate them from frontal angles. Although there are a number of obsolescent types that can only do serious harm if they hit a less protected areas or at close range, for the most part they can pose a threat even from long range. However, their flanks are typically not very well protected, and SPGs must turn their entire hull to face an enemy. Both types endeavour to keep their frontal armour facing the player.
- Trucks/Jeeps: Completely harmless, these vehicles always flee from the player in the direction of the nearest enemy held hex.
- IFVs: Essentially slightly tougher trucks/jeeps, they have a very good chance of wounding or killing unbuttoned tank crew or infantry. They try to remain out of the player's main gun's firing arc. At medium ranges they may fire an ATGM.
- Self-propelled AAA: Much like IFVs, but their rounds have a chance of causing random damage to less protected parts of the tank (for example, shooting out vision blocks). Otherwise they are more of a nuisance than a real threat.
- Tanks: Tanks just like the player's. They generally jockey for position, preferring to remain hull down or in concealment wherever possible. Depending on the tank they can threaten the player at any range or angle; in fact, it may not be worth engaging some warlord tanks without very careful preparation and luck.
- Artillery: Not an enemy per se, but during the random event phase hostile artillery rounds may start falling. No threat to a tank if it's buttoned up, but if the player's crew aren't then there is a chance they may be wounded or killed by shrapnel.
Critical Reception Edit
At first Armour was a little known title, written by a Sirian history student in her bedroom. However, once people became more aware of it, it quickly went from strength to strength. Eventually Sozi Tafri Productions, wishing to find its next hit, came to Azeo with an offer for the program. With less spare time to code and update the game, she sold it to Sozi Tafri and became very wealthy. One review called the game something of an oddity - "A roguelike where you are not an individual braving the depths of a dungeon, but rather a small part of a far greater war fighting machine". However, it praised this decision, saying that it was a "novelty". In terms of difficulty, Armour is seen as one of the more difficult roguelikes on the market today due to its unforgiving combat. Among Sirian gaming cultures, it's seen as a badge of honour to complete a campaign, with special reverence reserved for those who manage to survive the war in its entirety.
In the Verandi Empire, Armour (Verandi Spanish: Carro Blindado) was released officially in 3549 and again in 3551 as part of a Galactic Top Hits Bundle. Some reviewers joked that due to the setting and original creator, players probably learned more about the Unification War from the game than they did from history lessons. While difficult, critics praised the game's controls and easy to hop into gameplay. Storywise, the game was marked down for little characterization and variety.