It’s Not an April Fool’s Joke: TABS is Out of Early Access
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (TABS) feels like it’s been around forever, and yet the April 1 announcement of Version 1.0 came as a surprise. TABS had its alpha release five years ago and went into early access two years ago. The light-hearted battle simulator gathered 4.5 million players and a ranking as the 20th best Steam game of all time - all without ever being officially released.
"Totally Accurate" Isn’t a Lie, It’s a Joke
At first blush, the claim of being “Totally Accurate” is puzzling. Expert historians and archaeologists don’t claim that their reconstructions of battles are 100% accurate. Battles are too complex, people are too unpredictable, and the evidence of the past is too incomplete for anyone to make such a claim with confidence.
But when you see TABS in action, you get the joke. The game exaggerates its rag-doll physics to humorous effect. Your troops are featureless jointed dolls, in solid red or blue. And they are, as the game’s Steam page proudly announces, “wobbly.” Their heads bounce around helplessly as they march into the formation you order.
The game exaggerates its rag-doll physics to humorous effect.
Or not! Once you’ve deployed your units, the AI takes over, and they do whatever they want. Clearly these troops have never heard of proper military discipline. Spartans run around as though they’d never heard of a phalanx. Archers charge into hand-to-hand combat. It’s chaos.
A Terrible Battle Simulator, But a Great Game
So, if it’s so bad at its stated purpose, why is TABS so popular? In one word, it’s fun. You carefully select your troops, design your strategy, and then ... see what happens.
Oh, you can control things to some extent. You do learn skills and get better with the game over time. You learn which troops do best under which circumstances. You learn to take over individual units and direct them at critical moments. But the wild, wobbly craziness of TABS is its greatest appeal.
You carefully select your troops, design your strategy, and then ... see what happens.
What’s New With TABS 1.0
For the millions who are already fans, TABS 1.0 feels less like a game release than an update of a game they already play. In fact, it’s probably a less momentous event than the release of the much-anticipated Unit Creator in November of 2020.
TABS 1.0 brings two new factions, two new campaigns, two new maps, optional health bars, and achievements.
Still, this release means big things for TABS. It brings both long-awaited functionality and new content. The content includes two new factions (each with one secret unit), two new campaigns, two new maps, optional health bars, and achievements.
More importantly for the future, it includes online and local multiplayer, which will make it possible to share the game with friends and play in new ways. It also includes Twitch integration, so you’re likely to see a lot more of TABS on streaming media soon.
So, Should You Be Getting into TABS Now?
If you’re into battle simulators, you probably should. TABS has a unique take on the genre that will give you a fresh perspective on its tropes and offer a good time along the way. If you’re into wacky, unpredictable games where anything can happen, then you definitely should; TABS is right up your alley. If you just want to keep up with what the kids are into these days, you should probably check it out, too.
Just remember to relax. You’re going to die. A lot. But it’s going to be hilarious.