Strategic Command WW2 - War in Europe is amazing (biased beta tester)


WW2 will always be my favorite wargaming subject. It features an unmatched mix of mobility, combined arms, and (obviously) worldwide scope. The cast of evil characters is so compelling – Nazis, Fascist Italy, ruthless Stalin – and the good guys are memorable too: Churchill and FDR. Tactical WW2 games feature the perfect balance of fire and movement. Strategic WW2 games feature interesting production and research decisions, and they sprawl across the entire globe, or (in this case) from the eastern US to eastern Russia, the Caucuses, the Mideast, and Northern Africa.

More modern conflicts are generally more one-sided: e.g., the Gulf Wars, the Falklands, Grenada. Or they’re more quagmire-like: Vietnam. And modern weapons are, to me, less interesting subjects for a turn-based wargame: everything moves so fast, and there’s fire-and-forget and auto-targeting, etc. RTS-style games, which I suppose suit modern warfare more, rarely grab me for long. I admire the Wargame AirLand series, for example, but it’s never held my interest for more than a couple days. No modern air combat sim has ever grabbed me, but WW2 dogfighting is the best. Likewise, I’d much rather play Matrix’s “War in the Pacific/Admiral’s Edition” than any modern naval-focused game: the interaction of carrier and surface and forces and submarines fascinates me.

WWI has some interesting strategic aspects, but in general trench warfare doesn’t fill me with excitement. Again, WWI aircraft just aren’t as interesting to me as WW2 planes. Naval combat is slower, and there are no aircraft carriers. The American Civil War does interest me a lot, and I play ACW wargames regularly, but I still prefer the mobility and worldwide scope of WWII – even just the war in Europe.


What an excellent post, Spock. I share your views on the subject but could not have expressed my thoughts as well as you have. Well done!


I ended up buying this (without hardcover manual unfortunately as it’s too expensive) and there are a couple problems at higher res, specifically 2560x1440:

  1. Zooming is not working correctly (it zooms centred on top-left screen quadrant, rather than screen centre). I flagged it on Matrix forums.
  2. Font is really small at the middle zoom level. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of font scaling in place at my res, so I’d wager 4K may be a drama.

Going to wait for a patch before playing. :(


Profanicus - what monitor and video card do you have? I’m confused. I did all my testing at 2560x1600 and never had this issue and that’s technically a non-standard res since everyone abandoned 16:10. If there’s anything I can do let me know. Some beta guys on the team were playing around with new fonts so I can see where their progress is at if you’d like.


Thanks Jeff, card/monitor is as follows:

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
2560 x 1440 (32 bit) (165Hz)

I did post to the tech support area of the Matrix forums. Here’s the gif showing the zoom behaviour (note London sticks to top left):

The font size is mostly okay when zoomed in, but at middle zoom text is tiny. The text should really maintain scale when you zoom (like in HoI 4).


Picked this up, as I liked the earlier ones. Gonna have to read the manual, as this has a lot of stuff in it and I haven’t played the series in a while. I like the look of it a lot, though, and it’s about the right scale. Grigsby’s games are too minutia-laden, and the Wastelands games are too abstract, mostly, though Commander: The Great War (is that Wastelands? Dunno) is pretty solid.


I wasn’t going to get this although I was a beta tester. I didn’t have much change to delve into it as our second child was born a couple of months ago. However, I discovered that apparently Matrix/Slitherine coupons stack? I had a 25% off coupon for beta testing and just got an email from Matrix for being a member for 10 years for 35% off so it ended up being at half price. I’m glad that it doesn’t come with the same horrible copy protection scheme that Battlefront foisted on previous games. This had better be good jpinard!


No, Wastelands does the Time of Fury/Wrath games.


Ah, thanks. That would explain why Commander is so good ::). Not that I have much against the Wastelands folks, but their games don’t click with me as much.


@Profanicus, I have the same video card you do and a similar system, but I don’t really have a problem reading on-screen text. (In fact I’m having trouble figuring out what’s going on in your GIF, which is itself too small for me to read.) But I am curious how you know what resolution the game is running at. I don’t see any option to change the game resolution. Where is it?

@jpinard - Do you know precisely what the mine, industry and oil numbers on the reports screen mean? E.g., it says “5” for German mines, but I see only one, at Essen. It says Germany has 16 factory, but I see two Industrial centers (Dusseldorf and Munich), each at 10 strength.

Also, do you have any suggestions on what to research or produce as Germany and Italy in the early going? I’m not going to try invading England for this first go, so I’m going to ignore amphib warfare.


Oh boy :) I’m the kind of person who would feel terrible for years if I got someone to spend money and they hated it. You’ll still be getting pm’s from me in 2050 “Remember that game I thought you’d like and you didn’t? I’m so sorry! Please the forgiveth me for thine millionth time”. LOL


The game runs at desktop resolution in a borderless window mode. To change res, you have to change your desktop…

You don’t need to be able read the gif clearly, it simply shows how the mouse wheel zooms in to the top left quadrant of the screen, rather than magnifying the centre portion.

Here’s a comparison. Note in the first that the zoom occurs from the top left of the screen.

[details=Click to expand]Current behaviour:

Simulation of expected behaviour:


Ah, I see now. I guess I don’t zoom in/out much, so I hadn’t noticed this behavior. I’ll look for it next time I play.

I had a great session with the game tonight. I’m playing as the Axis on mostly default settings – no AI advantage or disadvantage. It took me three turns to conquer Poland. I declared war on the Low Countries on the historical timetable, but it took me until October 1940 to conquer France! My krieg wasn’t very blitz! You want a good wargame AI? Play this game.

Now Italy is getting knocked around by a British CV roaming the Med, and I’m not sure what the Italians can do about it. This being my first game, I’m focused on the land war to keep things simpler for myself, so I’m just building lots of Italian infantry and hoping to hold on to Libya and Italy as long as I can. That’s not to say I’m ignoring the naval war. It’s really fun to sneak around with my U-Boats, and I might as well send the Italian navy out to try to smash some British ships. Not so sure what to do with the Kriegsmarine. We’ll see.

In the meantime I’ll start moving the German army east to try my luck at Barbarossa. Maybe I can start that on time by skipping the Balkans? Although skipping the Balkans may come back to bite me if Yugo aligns with the West. Also, Finland is showing disturbing pro-Allied sympathies, despite my investment in diplomacy in Helsinki.

Pretty great WW2 in Europe game, I think. The AI is as good as wargaming AI gets.


I started playing last night as the Allies in the Barbarossa campaign. So far pretty good! I wasn’t too shocked to get my border units wrecked, but now it’s coming up on September and I still can’t seem to stand up to the Germans anywhere. Starting to wonder if I invested too much in buffing up the Soviet research.


Played through to December and the Germans are well short of their historical advances in the USSR. I think I’ve got enough bodies in front of the Heer for now, though building up artillery and armor to be able to strike back is going to take a lot longer.

I did go through a historically very bad week for the Royal Navy. In one turn, the Kriegsmarine sortied and took out a heavy cruiser and battleship that thought it would be a good idea to try to intercept the trade route from Norway going down the Danish coast. At the same in the Med, the Regia Marina came out of nowhere and sank a British aircraft carrier and battleship. To add injury to injury, the same turn saw the Russian Baltic fleet lose more than half their ships.


I’m about to launch Barbarossa as part of my grand 1939 campaign as the Axis. It will probably be the most pathetic Barbarossa ever, as I’m still bogged down in the Balkans, having been forced to subdue Yugoslavia when it joined the Allies.

In this and other ways, my game has proceeded along rough historical lines, which is pretty satisfying! I took Poland and France a bit more slowly than historically, because I’m still learning the system. We’ve had back-and-forth in North Africa and cat-and-mouse in the North Atlantic.

I also like the research, production and diplomacy systems. Tough decisions all around, as resources are so limited. A guy in the Matrix forums says it’s too easy to use diplomacy to woo countries to your side. I didn’t really invest in it until too late.


Dude, you’re famous.

It’s a shame they didn’t give you a copy. They would have made it back in this thread.


You know what’s funny about that banner? The beta was going so well, I’d just been destroyed in SE Russia by the AI, so made a thread on the beta forum about how the AI performed like a real person to my utter surprise. That banner statement is just was one of the things I said. I mean, you just don’t see the kinds of moves in other games that the AI pulls off in this one. Another thing that happened to be to use as an example (and blew me away):

We have a stalemate along hundreds of miles of terrain. Suddenly AI swaps out tanks for some crappy JUICY infantry and I get excited, it made a mistake, I am going to crush it and break their line! I go in and take the worthless units, then realize I could not see some units held in reserve. I am one hex further than I wanted to be to take them out, and as the next turn is resolving my heart sinks as I realize he’d set the perfect trap. He flanks me, cuts off my supply and breaks the stalemate, except it was his positive, not mine. And get this…
the AI could have gone in a killed my units but left them alive and I could not understand why (at first). Well, it was because the AI knew my units were stuck because I had no supply, and they would become pathetic prey to anything in a few turns, so the AI used stronger forces elsewhere and picked mine off with pathetic weak back units. Fricking brilliant play.

So I learned how to starve the AI and not waste precious strength loss taking them on… by copying exactly what the AI had done to me.


Jeff, that sounds awesome. My Barbarossa game as the Allies feels precarious. The winter wasn’t as much of a respite for the Soviets as I had hoped, and we were quickly back to extremely tough Panzer divisions munching on my infantry formations. It doesn’t quite have the feeling of summer 1941, the Germans are having to work a lot harder for their advances. On the other hand, they are starting earlier and I don’t have as much ground to give up.

Edit: The interesting thing about playing the Barbarossa campaign as the Allies is my lack of knowledge of the game mechanics and interface goofs do a good job of simulating an allied learning curve during the war. Like I try to advance a corps into northern Finland without a supporting HQ and quickly find them running out of supply range. Or I keep mixing up orders because I’m not used to the way they do right and left click, so I end up moving a heavily dug in army out of Kharkov, causing me to lose it the next turn.

I moved a cavalry corps behind a group of panzers in an attempt to make them waste a turn turning around and killing it. However, they ignore it. What the AI knew that I didn’t is that my one-turn movement to threaten their rear just moved my cavalry way beyond hope of resupply. Next turn they could hardly move at all. Instead of a brilliant diversionary tactic, I just threw away a unit for no purpose at all.


The AI really is impressive. The only AI complaint I’ve read on the forums is that it’s sometimes too easy to sway countries with diplomacy, as the Allied AI doesn’t always respond to Axis diplomatic investments. The devs say they’ll tweak that a bit, but some players say it’s not even necessary, as the AI does sometimes respond, and indeed my own diplomatic efforts have been abysmal failures.

This one is a winner, jpinard. :)