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


#61

In my 1939 Axis campaign, I’ve reached late August 1942. Invading the USSR has been pretty interesting. I’ve destroyed a lot of Soviet units, but because of the mechanics, I’m not sure it’s working.

Basically, reinforcing a unit is half it’s base purchase cost (e.g. buying a sub costs 200, but reinforcing it from 2 points to 10 costs 80). I’m not sure of the exact rule, but unless you’ve got a unit very well surrounded, destroying it allows your opponent to buy it back at half the regular purchase price (ie equivalent to reinforcement cost) and in half the time. The basic idea I think is that rear echelon and support elements of the unit escape to fight another day.

Sometimes I’ve been able to isolate some units before destroying them, especially at the start, but most of the time it’s not feasible. The Soviet formations are too large, units don’t move fast enough and there are too many zones of control to cut through. Most of the units I’ve wiped out I’m sure have been bought back at half price.

Which makes me think I could be in trouble. The log says the Soviets have lost 125 units so far. But they get over 1000 production per turn now. Replacing a basic infantry corps is only 75 production. If destroying a Soviet corps causes me to knock three of my corps from 10 to 8, then it’s going to cost me 45 production and another turn off the invasion schedule to make that right.I think I’m spending over 500 a turn just replacing losses.

On the map, I’m on the border of Moscow, approaching from the south. I think I may be able to swing around the fortifications and take the city before winter hits. I messed up my approach to Leningrad in '41, so I’m still a long way from there. In the South, I am pushing to toward Stalingrad, but there are still so many damn units in the way.

I think a lack of strategic focus is catching up with me, and I might lose in the east. Which is pretty amazing considering that this is the basic difficulty level, with no AI advantage. Sure, the AI is good, but basic design choices in the game combine to make the decision in the east a dramatic struggle. There’s just not enough time to keep your units in good condition and get to your targets.

Fighting the western Allies, I think I am doing better so far. My sub force is highly advanced, experienced and in good condition, and I’ve wiped out a number of light cruisers and destroyers. It’s still painful fighting the destroyers, but I can take them down. Maybe I should send more surface raiders out there?

The Italian navy has been able to destroy the British med fleet bit by bit, and they are now down to one carrier trapped in port on Crete. Strong Italian and German forces have overrun Egypt and Palestine, and are on their way to “liberating” Iraq and then Persia. Perhaps due to losses in Africa, the British bombing campaign in Europe hasn’t achieved anything so far.


#62

Well, I gave up on my attempt in 1943. I’d actually taken Moscow and Stalingrad. However, the ever rejuvenating Red Army was pushing in from all directions and the partisans were giving me huge headaches. I think I could still make forward progress for a while, but the bombing offensive was starting to get serious and I lost 3 Italian battleships in one turn off the coast of France.

I think not taking Lenin grad quickly was a bad mistake. My biggest problem in the east was not enough troops to cover the the whole front. Taking Leningrad would free up a lot of troops and the Fins could defend easily enough.

A really great feel of the eastern front in this game.


#63

In my games, especially the first try through it’s uncanny how one can still fall into the same traps laid out by history. I’m not sure if you ran into this or not, but it took me a bit to figure out I didn’t need to bother much with the marshy and heavily forested areas. When I tried to create a complete line of defense North-South line down a few hexes before Moscow it thinned my troops too much. The poor terrain cripples your units offensive capabilities so it’s better to move in pockets. But then again, it is hard to not end up being surrounded like General Paulus.

Congrats on taking Moscow btw :)


#64

This is true in spades. It’s definitely true that you don’t need to defend empty forest so much. Basically you can rely on the lack of a viable supply route to protect certain regions. That’s why I think it’s so important to take Leningrad. Once it’s taken, it should be fairly easy to defend, That would free up troops to guard the flank of the forces around Stalingrad. It’s amazing how exposed that position felt, but once I took it, I was afraid of a moral hit from pulling back.You really have to think about what moving in a certain direction is going to do to the length of your line.


#65

This was a game I bought on day one, which is out of character for me especially as I rarely play this type of game. But the buzz that the AI was competent both on offense and defense and that this game will eventually have PBEM caught my interest. The developers say PBEM option (two players only - PBEM++ Slitherine Server) will be released “soon” as a patch at no charge. I’m liking what I see so far.

A few things I really like, though I’m not experienced with computer war games so maybe these are not innovations:

Interesting game options per the manual:

“Even if you have set a Major to be AI controlled, there is nothing stopping you from moving any of its units, conducting research, diplomacy etc., the AI will take over any unmoved units and management of affairs once you press end turn. You can swap sides during a game too. Simply when its your turn, go to the Options screen, click to play the opposite side and the AI will immediately take over. You can also turn on or off the AI control of friendly Majors at any time. All of these can be changed an unlimited number of times during a game.”

Damaged units’ capabilities are diminished. For instance:

“Damaged Units: units below strength 5 do not exert any Zone of Control.”

AI doesn’t cheat, much. Again from the manual:

“Difficulty levels provide bonuses to the AI’s Spotting, Experience and Military Production Points (MPPs). They do not influence combat formulas. note: Difficulty Settings can be changed during a game against the AI. So if you find things too easy, or too difficult, modify the settings and continue!”

I’ve experienced several instances when the game froze and the only way to exit was to kill the game with Task Manager. Fortunately the developers are quite active in the Matrix Games forums and they advised that I uninstall the game and reinstall it in a different folder than the default location (C:\Program Files (x86)…), like for example in C:\Games… And that seems to have fixed the problem.


#66

This is a very useful thing to exploit in attacks. If you can knock a unit down enough, you can drive around it and isolate it for destruction next turn. A unit that is destroyed with less than 5 supply has to be bought back at full cost rather than the normal heavy discount.

The AI is pretty competent. It makes mistakes, but overall very impressive.


#67

Oh yea, it feels so good in this game to cut a unit off so he has no trace back to supply. I enjoy it so much because as I was learning the game the AI did this to me way too many times and it made me so mad - LOL - as I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t move my unit. Getting payback is sweet even if it isn’t against a real person.


#68

I was reading an AAR by someone who is fairly new to this sort of game. It really shows the strength of the AI, because it is completely kicking his ass. But he is learning, and I think revenge will be sweet.


#69

Still no multi? :(


#70

So there’s no multiplayer at all in this game? I’m a little surprised at that. I guess it’s coming but even still. I remember the original and on the Battlefront forums there was a huge competition between forum members.


#71

There will be soon. Within a few weeks. Slitherine was pretty busy during late beta of the single player game so they didn’t have to time to integrate it with their mp system.

Since only staff of Slitherine/Matrix have access to that part of the system I can’t see exactly how close they are. They do want to have it available for everyone’s entire Christmas break.


#72

Tried a game at veteran difficulty as the Allies. That gives +1 sight range, +1 experience and +10% production to the AI. Wow, the extra bar of experience really puts the “uber” in Ubermensch. I thought the units would start with a pip of experience, which is bad enough, but it shows up at a different point on the interface, which makes me think it’s an extra pip of experience that they can’t lose. Ugh.

The extra sight range is also more consequential than I’d thought at first, particularly in naval battles. If they aren’t surprised by the presence of your units, they can just path around you.


#73

Engineers…

I think they are worth it, but they are fiddly.

They can’t build fortifications in hexes with a city or resource and the fortifiable hex must be at supply level 5 or higher. The trouble is that in some places where the allies might want to build fortifications, like Egypt, there are no fortifiable hexes at supply level 5 or higher. There must be a way to increase supply level in Egypt but I haven’t figured that out.

Any advise for how to use engineers in Egypt?


#74

I’m sorry, but I seem to have forgotten what this game is like to play. Is this a fancier strategic level wargame with Panzer General combat mechanics? Kind of like Commander: The Great War? (Jeez these names suck.)


#75

Use a nearby HQ to boost the local supply level. Generally you can’t do anything in the desert without a nearby HQ. I haven’t tried this myself yet, but it must work because the AI does it.

It’s like Panzer General in that there is one unit per tile, one unit attacking at a time and using points to buy and repair units. Unlike Panzer General, all ground units can break up their movement. It tends to lead to a shuffle of units attacking one position to overwhelm it (or use ubermensch panzer units with high experience and two attacks per turn - not that I’m bitter). Air units are more like long-range artillery that can be intercepted.

On top of that is a very important supply mechanism and the diplomatic and events layers.


#76

The problem is likely that the HQ that is there, it is the one that appears initially for the UK in the 1939 scenario, is not of a high enough level. It is level 5. I can’t check right now but that is what I recall.


#77

There is the HQ’s rating, which depends on the commander, and the HQ’s health, which starts at 5. AFAIK, the commander rating affects how much the HQ boosts readiness and morale for attached units. However, I think the supply-boosting effect depends only on the HQ’s health. So you need to reinforce that HQ up to 10 strength before it can help other unit’s supply.

Basically an under-strength HQ isn’t much use to anyone, which is why it’s so nice when you find one and can give it a nice strong hit or two.

Edit: I really like the role HQ’s play in this game. Hearts of Iron 3 had a whole mess of HQs on the map (corps HQs, army HQs, army group HQs and a front HQ. Hearts of Iron 4 got rid of them entirely. The HQ’s in this game are just numerous enough to give you flexibility and rare enough that they are super-important and force you to think about where you want to use them.


#78

You can swap out a crappy HQ for a better one of you’re willing to pay. It can definitely be worth it, but it’s always hard when you’re thinking about that extra tank or army you’re missing out of because of it (depending on how high you go). But as Mike said the General is critical. For instance if you want to do Operation Sea Lion, sending 4 units without an HQ is a suicide hit. You can’t really resupply them, they won’t be able to move effectively, and their offense/defense, morale will suffer.

Sometimes as the Allies I’ll see the Germans left a capital city or industrial zone undefended. So I send a few units to take it over. I know they will be killed because a crappy corps with an HQ can be a challenge to an Army, tank etc. Germany can railroad them in - in just a turn. So is it worth the hassle it causes them, and the economic hit from taking stuff for several turns? Sometimes yes, sometimes absolutely not. For I have not only kept units off the front line, but I’ve also had to pay to ship them there, and possibly send naval units to protect them as well.

This will be fun to do against a human however, because unlike the AI - you know this kind of move is going to make their heart race as it’s never fun to suddenly see enemy troops show up behind the line in your backyard. Moral of story is if you want to invade somewhere you need to send an HQ along that’s 5 or better.


#79

Thanks MikeJ and jpinard.

This game is intuitive enough to jump right in, but I can see that I need to read the manual.

Commander Europe at War did a nice job with commanders, too but this game has a much better AI. Though I find the Axis AI does tend to focus on eliminating every unit in its path rather than focusing on the strategic objective (Warsaw, Paris, etc.). And the Grand Strategy mod broke the AI altogether but it is a blast in multiplayer.

Perhaps I’ll see you guys in the arena when multiplayer is implemented for this game.

Good hunting.


#80

I’ve found it hard to spend much time reading the manual rather than playing. There is a lot of useful info there, however. For instance, I had no clue about carrier modes, or the existence of forced march, swapping or naval unit cruise mode. Though I still can’t figure out how to get a carrier to do an aerial scouting mission that is within it’s movement range.