Note: unlike other games, we did not get the game for free despite being internal testers.
I'd wanted to write about this for quite some time but we were were constrained til release day so it's nice we can finally be free to talk about the experience. One that has been amazing. I beta tested this for many months and have over a hundred hours into the game. It is really, really well done. It bridges the gap between HOI 4 and the Order of Battle series. The campaigns were all written by BIll Runacre and are fantastic. They're not just basic maps you play. You'll be presented with choices based on events and timelines on real world war events. The events don't change tghe course of the game but lend credance to its hisotrically accuracy. In effect you get a mini-history lesson in each scenario, and your first run through of each campaign will show you how well done it is.
The AI is excellent, and is especially punishing (and fun) if you play with Fog of War on. While you can play with it off, that will give you a decent advantage over the AI and spoil some of the stress/fun. It took a bit to convince other beta testers accustomed to games showing you all units all the time, but when they did change they liked it - especially for the cat/mouse battle in the Atlantic. It can be hard to adjust to at first, especially since there's a rather large penalty for running into someone blindly but you'll adapt and get there in the end.
While some of the scenarios may seem tough at first, they are all winnable, but may take a few tries to get a handle on.
One of the greatest things about the game is the AI and its ability stop you - cut you in half, split you off from your supply and then crush you. It is scary human-like in its ability to make this happen in the Russian Steppes. If you have trouble against the AI, remember it understands the rules of game better than most games out there. So its use of command and supply may stimy you until you pick up on its intricacies. The game was programmed and written by just two men. Hubert Cater and Bill Runacre. They were some of the most attentive developers in a beta test ever responding to every concern and idea the community presented them - no matter how nutty some may have been.
I'd played some of the old Strategic Command games and found them just kinda "OK". Make sure you have a lot of time on your hands to play. It takes time but is rewarding and the manual and all the documentation Bill put together for the game, is just another piece of a great title.
I can't guarantee you'll love it as much as I did, but if you like wargames, I can't help but think you'll be impressed.
- and since I suck as a writer you will notice I used the word "really" way too many times. I just "really" hope you consider this title because it's "really" good. I'll shut up now.