Time Commanders is back on the telly, tonight at 9pm

Time Commanders, the only TV show (so far) to be built around the Total War series of strategy games, is back for a third series after more than a decade off the box.

If you’re in the UK, you can catch it from 9pm this evening on BBC Four. Apparently the first episode features a team of board game enthusiasts going up against a group of actual wrestlers. I mean, whatever happens, that’ll be an excellent visual.

Each team will be split into various roles (typically one general and two captains) as they fight their way through some big, historical battle, using the Total War engine. The episode then concludes with a head-to-head battle between the two. My money’s on the wrestlers.

The next historical Total War is “an era we haven’t tackled yet”

We’ve known that Creative Assembly has been working on a new historical Total War game for a while now, but many had assumed the studio would be returning to a familiar setting. It’s been 10 years since Medieval II: Total War. Just saying.

However, during a roundtable discussion on the future of the Total War franchise, brand director Rob Bartholomew told Eurogamer that the team were in fact working on “an era we haven’t tackled yet.”

This means the next historical game won’t be set in feudal Japan, the Roman republic or medieval Europe. Nor will we see a return to the Napoleonic Wars or the fight for American independence.

Total War: Warhammer’s DLC gets a bit more ambition with the Wood Elves

Total War: Warhammer, more than any other game in the series, has managed to offer such brilliantly distinct flavours with each its playable races. Deciding whether to lead the Empire or the Vampire Counts isn’t just about the unit rosters, it’s about entirely different playstyles.

The Wood Elves continue this trend, boasting the expected list of excellent ranged units (they’re elves, after all), but also a selection of game mechanics we’ve never seen in a Total War game before. We’re talking about some pretty wacky stuff, too.

Not only can all wood elf archers move and fire simultaneously, some of them offer a 360 degree firing radius, the ability to stay hidden whilst firing at enemy units, or can equip specialised ammunition that allows for increased range, poison damage, or the ability to hit multiple targets at once. There’s so much versatility here, it’s a micromanager’s wet dream.

Charity game compilation from Total War, Football Manager devs on sale next month

Help: The Game, a collection of 11 all-new games by studios such as Creative Assembly, Sports Interactive and Sumo Digital in support of the charity War Child, has a release date: it goes on sale on 26th July. It will be released through Steam and cost £9.99 / $14.99 / €14.99.

, Help: The Game is a compilation of games created by established studios in a series of six-day game jams. Details of the games themselves are being kept under wraps for the moment – I’m promised a mix of genres and single and multiplayer games – but the participating studios are:

Help: The Game is published by Sega Europe, and all profits from its sale will be donated to War Child UK. War Child helps children affected by conflict across the world: protecting them, advocating for them, and helping to ensure their continued education and livelihoods. (90s students like yours truly will surely remember The Help Album, a compilation featuring Oasis, Orbital, The Stone Roses, Portishead and Radiohead, which the charity put out in 1995. It takes me right back to a scummy shared house in York. In a good way!) Check out the for more information.

Halo Wars 2 feels caught in No Man’s Land

One of the things I love most about strategy gaming is its breadth, and few comparisons speak to that like the pairing of The Creative Assembly, architect of Total War, and Ensemble, the now-shuttered creator of the original Halo Wars. Total War’s real-time battles hinge on the glacial spectacle of formations colliding, subject to a creeping alchemy of terrain conditions and morale. Halo Wars takes a completely different tack, adapted from Ensemble’s Age of Empire series: it’s fast-paced, abstract, finely poised between base management and combat, and more or less devoid of messy variables such as unit psychology. What could possibly happen when one developer takes over where the other left off? The answer, going by the Xbox One beta, is: nothing all that mind-blowing so far.

Halo Wars 2 is cast firmly in the image of Ensemble’s swansong, replicating its miraculously pad-friendly control scheme, streamlined construction elements, wildcard Commander abilities and rock-paper-scissors relationship between infantry, ground vehicles and aircraft. The Creative Assembly has made a number of important – and questionable – changes within those parameters but in broad terms, the beta and Ensemble’s game are indistinguishable. There’s the same angled top-down perspective, the same fluid radial menus, and the same magic selection reticule that fattens to enclose groups of units when you hold the button.

It’s still a formula that seems better suited to mouse and keyboard – and with a PC version of Halo Wars 2 in the offing, the limitations of a controller are more pressing today than in 2008 – but there are once again hotkeys to lessen the pain. You can select all units on screen with right bumper, or hold it to reel in every unit you’ve built, for those super-scientific counter-offensives when somebody smuggles a bunch of tanks into your territory. The D-pad, meanwhile, allows you to flick instantaneously between bases and hotspots.