Suggestions for Grand Strategy Strategic WWI - WWII

Hi there…,.

Wonder if someone could give me a hand. I am looking for some Strategic Level Grand Strategy (Think 3rd Reich boardgame).

Looking for Napoleon (Think War and Peace boardgame)
WWI and WW2

Looking for something that has a pretty decent AI.

Does anyone have any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

I would look at Slitherine/Matrix games for a start.

Does Paradox’s Hearts of Iron 3 (with expansions) fit your criteria?

Their game Victoria II covers the WW1 period but it also goes back much further (1830-1935), so that might not be what you had in mind.

How about the Strategic COmmand series by Battlefront, for Commander the Great War by Slitherine. I don’t really have experience with them, but they always seemed intriguing.

Gary Grigsby’s games?

Matrix games are releasing world in flames, it rivals hoi 3 in scope and size. Hoi 2 is lighter and very well expanded upon if you want something lighter

One of my favorite genres, here are my suggests:

Hearts of Iron 2: Arsenal of Democracy
It ain’t the most recent one, but this fan-made re-release took in near to perfection for me. It is simpler to learn than Hearts of Iron 3 IMO.

Hearts of Iron 3
Yeah, this has to be on the list

Making History Gold or Making History 2
By Muzzy Lane. My preference is for Making History Gold with a mod which constrains research until it’s roughly historic year. Without this, a massive gulf opens up between majors and minors with no solution. Heavy economic and research options, highly simple combat. Arguably more about the economics than the combat in fact. Niall Ferguson, well known historian with a specialism in economics, was retained as an adviser for the sequel.

Commander: Europe at War or Commander: The Great War
Both from Slitherine, same engine, pick between WWII and WWI. Highly abstract and simple but slick and tough with it, plus great multi-player. Involves limited economics, research and diplomacy, focused mainly on the hex-based combat.

Oh, and there is currently a Kickstarter running for a Supreme Ruler 1936 by Battlegoat. Battlegoat have kicked out a series of Supreme Ruler games, which have definitely improved since the first modern game, Supreme Ruler 2010 (released in 2005)

They apparently already have the game finished or funded. The Kickstarter is for extra stuff which fans have requested in previous games but which they don’t have the resources to fulfil.

Kickstarter linky:

Curious about that one myself, its way more arcady, but the econ was more detailed, so uhm you get a very different sim.

Big caveat on World in Flames though -

IMPORTANT NOTE: This title does not include an AI player in the initial release. It is designed as a computerized, automated and online multiplayer-capable World in Flames, including an integrated multiplayer forum and an official multiplayer server for easy player matching and networking.

So, thank you for the sugestions so far…

I do indeed own HOI2 AOD and HOI3 (All of it) although I could never seem to get my hands around the game. Same with Victoria II which I really want to learn how to play but just can’t seem to dedicate the time to it.
I am a huge Grigsby fan, and World at War a World Divided is great, but there is no WWI equivalent, his current games sit in the Russian front which I really do not enjoy plus they do not have the scope I am looking for.
I’d love to see the Unity games engine breakout from Stalingrad (Am I the only person in the Wargaming world that HATES Stalengrad?)

I have Making History Gold, and I do rather like it in theory (never really played a full game) I will have to search around for that mod that was mentioned.

Supreme Ruler Cold War was so abysmal, and the Supreme Ruler series in general has a fairly horrible AI. Plus if you actually dive into the economics and such its a mess, where the goal is to “Game the system” with known work around’s and exploits.

From Matrix/Sliterine I have Strategic War In Europe but there is no WW1 equivalent.
The Commander Series looks good but no knowledge of the AI and when you pay a premium price that these games charge (I just bought Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations so I am still butt hurt on that price)… I want a Good AI as I really don’t do multiplayer. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the AI. Same with Strategic Command. Other than being confused with which one to get… SC2? SC1 Global? Which Add On Packs to each? Holy cow this is 75$…
I remember playing the original SC1 and absolutely loving it, but it was almost a strategy puzzle once you figured out the proper moves the AI was worthless. Never played the global or pacific versions.

I like the whole Strategic aspect, growing the economy, managing reinforcements. handling the research, doing the whole strategic layer (Suppresion of Economy, Subs, Intridiction, Blockade) that it seems HOI3/Darkest Hour gets right, but the drill down to the unit attachments and HQ and stuff, just ramps up the complexity a good deal.

Yea I’ve been drolling about WiF since the initial announcement (what was that 2006?) but the no AI has been a letdown, sure an AI is not an optimal opponent, but WiF is a HUGE time investment. HUGE… Even without setting up the board.


  • Do you suggest MH2, I’ve heard its essentially a flawed gem… Pretty much got horrible reviews.
  • Any thoughts on the Commander Series AI?

You know, you can play Hoi 3 giving the AI command of your forces, and then delegate to it goals, this turns HOI 3 into a more manageable affair, than trying to command hundreds of divisions in realtime.
Making history gold and those ilk, are very abstracted, I didn’t like them much. I mean, you can just aswell play a ww 2 civ 5 mod I think.

How is the HOI3 AI when you delegate to it?

From what I remember, it sucks. I remember the AI pulling all my defensive forces from the German French border to Berlin, thus allowing the French to march right over my painstakingly built Siegfried line.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve played, though, and I haven’t tried the latest expansions, so maybe it’s improved.

It’s really not like that at all, at least not currently. The AI is pretty solid but it’s important what level of HQ you’re automating vs the tasks you’re giving it. The ability to define your own Theatres that was added in one of the expansions was a huge help in this regard as you could widen our narrow a particular HQ’s area of responsibility.

Alright, that’s good to hear. As I said, I haven’t played for a very long time, but it’s good to hear they’ve improved the AI. Maybe I should get expansions next time they’re on sale, and give it another go.

Ever considered Frank Hunter’s Guns of August 1914-1918? I thought the AI was reasonable (in that I didn’t feel it broke for me in the limited time I played it) and I liked the abstraction but still felt it had the right scope.

As far as The Great War goes, can you take control of one nation or do you take control of an entire side? Controlling 8 nations at once seems daunting to me and I’d rather just take control of the US while my British AI pals do their navy thing.

Loved that game. Was the first game I played with friends via PBEM, a lot.

I honestly cannot recommend MH2 unless you already like MH Gold a lot and you’d just like a new iteration of it. I’d suggest starting with MH Gold + the Dawn of Steel Gold Update 3 mod for the best experience.

I found Commander series AI to offer me an excellent challenge. It took me 9 attempts to actually achieve a victory playing as Central Powers. You simply don’t have the economy or manpower to fight a multiple front war and win, so you have to be aggressive and close down fronts, but doing so hits your manpower, and you don’t have that much manpower, and oh god Russia.

The game is relatively simple, in terms of the variety of units, movement and hexes. I think this helps the AI put up a stiffer challenge than is feasible in more complex games like the Hearts of Iron series.

You play either as Central Powers or Entente.

If Central Powers, you start with just Austria-Hungary, then Germany joins, then the Ottoman Empire. Basically nations join roughly when they actually joined historically, but you do have some limited ability to influence this based on you in-game actions. Same goes for Entente.

Once you have more than one country, you have to manage each countrys research and production separately. This is useful. It means you could focus on air-power with Germany and Artillery for Austria-Hungary for example.

The US probably don’t get much involved in many games since they have a late entry date. The game has an excellent constraint in the form of “manpower” and “national morale”. Losses reduce manpower and morale, and your manpower resources are finite. Use up too many and your replacements will be less effective. I cannot imagine playing as Central Powers, having US enter the war and still being able to achieve victory. Either you knock Russia out for an effective victory or you don’t.

I think Gary Grigsby’s World at War is the best one I’ve played.