20660 Nordhoff Street
Chatsworth, CA 91311
829.95, 48K disk
Reviewed by Scott Lewis
Mychess II, originally developed for computers running the CP/M
operating system, is the latest chess program to be converted for the Atari.
Mychess II plays a good to very good game, and at $29.95 is quite a bargain.
The lowest three skill levels will not prove too difficult for anyone who
has played much in amateur tournaments. But at the six higher levels it
becomes quite a challenge.
Mychess II has several features not commonly found on chess programs. For example, the back side of the disk contains 128 all-time classic games including Napoleon v. Bertrand, 1820 and Alekhine v. Forrester, 1923.
All the usual features are provided, including game storage, retrieval and replay, hints, notation and diagram displays and instant printout. A clear and precise Help screen is always available.
The game screen can be toggled between a standard view-from-above and a unique 3-D display. Unfortunately, the 3-D representation is cluttered and unclear. In fact, the graphics throughout this program are not especially good. The kings and queens are hard to tell apart and the color contrast between the two opposing sides is equally confusing.
Other minor problems were that the instruction book cracked and lost 10 pages when I first opened it, and the disk label has already detached itself. But overall, Mychess II is quite a good chess program and well worth the price.
CRUSADE IN EUROPE
by Sid Meier and Ed Bever, Ph.D.
120 lakefront Drive
Hunt Valley, MD 21030
$39.95, 48K disk
Reviewed by Rich Moore
Crusade in Europe is a superb theater-level simulation of the
campaign to liberate France during World War II. Authors Sid Meier and
Ed Bever of MicroProse have done an excellent job keeping the player's
wargaming role consistent with the functions of an actual campaign commander.
The game opens up with a "Patton"- like graphic/sound introduction that can be cut short by pressing [START]. Either a joystick or the keyboard can be used to select options, obtain information and give orders.
The five main scenarios have a total of 14 variants:
Battle for Normandy (5 variants)
Race for the Rhine (2 variants)
Operation Market-Garden (2 variants)
Battle of the Bulge (4 variants)
Battle for France (1 variant)
You can play against a human opponent or the computer,
choose the level of intelligence data about enemy forces, set handicaps
and game speed, save the game in standard DOS files and even change parameters
during the game.
The detailed hi-res map scrolls horizontally and vertically through three screens showing England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. The map is light during daylight hours and dark at night.
Both commanders have a variety of infantry, armor and headquarters units as well as supply depots. Additionally, the Allied commander has four air wings, and in some scenarios, paratroops.
The German commander has powerful SS Panzer tank divisions backing up his main forces. The starting force lay-down is historical, and reinforcements and replacements follow their historical schedules.
Play is continuous. If you don't act, the computer will! Also, any uncompleted orders in effect by either player will continue until the objective is obtained. Action may be frozen at any time-an often-used function when a week's activity can be simulated in an hour!
Forces may be given any of four action commands: Move, Attack, Defend or Reserve. Each of these commands may be given an objective. The unit will move to the designated point on the map, send its commander an "arrival message" and then attack, dig in, or wait for orders.
The units all have some "artificial intelligence" to simulate reasonable action on the part of subordinate commanders. Forces will advance to press successful attacks, or dig in and defend against superior forces. They will also beat strategic retreats to fight another day-if they can reach a safe area before getting wiped out.
The manual would be somewhat intimidating to a beginning wargamer, but it is very thorough and includes a great deal of historical background (read "hints") for all of the scenarios.
I'd recommend getting used to the game by playing the "Liberation of Paris" variant of the Normandy scenario. This gives you plenty of time and some good historical "benchmarks" to gauge your progress. To get the most practice, set up the game for two human players so you can control all the action!
Crusade in Europe belongs in every wargamer's collection. Adventurers who like graphic role-playing games such as Ultima III would probably enjoy this too. If the other MicroProse "Command Series" wargames are this good, the company has a real string of winners. Now if they'd move the battle to sea....*
(*If the sea battle request in the last line of this review puzzles
you, we'll explain about our new reviewer Rich Moore, an Atari programmer
since 1980. In his professional life, he is Lieutenant Commander Richard
Moore, Computer Simulation Model Managerfor the Wargaming Department of
the US. Naval War College. He also has over 1900 hours flying F-4 and F-14
jet fighters, plus a masters degree in operations research. Antic
welcomes Commander Moore aboard.-ANTIC ED)
MORE BASIC BETTING
by James Jasper
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
227 pages, paperbound
Reviewed by Nat Friedland
Chicago market research programmer James Jasper is a lifelong sports
bettor who's written three popular books of type-in handicapping software.
His first book came out before the microcomputer was widely available,
and the author was forced to rely on calculator formulas.
Now Jasper's latest, More BASIC Betting, includes "programming to win" for professional football, baseball and basketball, plus horseracing. There's also a sensible money management progam for bettors.
All the programs are written in Apple II BASIC. The book also provides a mail-order source of program disks at the hefty price of $119.95- and you'll still have to enter all the statistical data.
However, Antic's technical staff does agree with the author's claim that any Atari owner with a moderate knowledge of BASIC should easily be able to adapt these programs.
Between the programs are narrative chapters where the author raffishly, entertainingly and rather convincingly tells you about his wins or losses while betting with the programs.
When Jasper details his bets for the first two weeks of the 1984 baseball season, he claims a 13% profit. He says that his latest NFL football "sociogram" program has a 63% overall winning record.
He claims his basketball program never dropped below 59% accuracy and has gone as high as 66% per NBA season. He says that his horse racing program has consistently delivered 12% profits.
So is all this true? Obviously anybody who buys a betting program book is mainly concerned with winning money consistently
The problem with reviewing this kind of a book is that you really cannot verify the accuracy of the claims without typing in a great deal of sports statistical data and testing out the program for months.
Since we don't have the manpower to go through all of that, this magazine makes no guarantee how successful the programs will be for you.
All we can say is that James Jasper writes about sports betting quite believably and his program algorithms seem to make good sense.
For example, his horse racing and dog racing programs convert standard racing form information into an overall formula of "predicted beaten lengths" which is then automatically translated into betting odds.
If you do use this book to get computer help during the coming football season, please send Antic a letter or email telling us how you made out.