I finally abandoned the campaign on the second to last mission. Rhin at Danube starts with a major river crossing and ends with a massive trek to reach the far end of the map before you run out of turns on the doorstep of victory. What crushes your spirit is the AI’s relentless destruction of bridges just before you arrive at them. You need to move your HQ in advance to be within range to rebuild the bridge or construct a pontoon bridge, and then wait the following turn to cross.
This happens 3 or 4 times as you move across the map. After my first attempt, I watched a walkthrough and realized I needed to concentrate my armor. On my second attempt, I didn’t pay attention to HQ range and lost a turn. Once again I was a turn short. On my third attempt, I got bad weather on a crucial turn and decided I had enough of the game.
The beginning of the campaign was frustrating in the same way. Classic doesn’t have enough margin for error, and the penalty is the most painful one in video games: losing time replaying the exact same way with a slight tweak.
To be fair, the middle of the campaign was a lot more fun. I kept my units at high veterancy and generally steamrolled everything. I still failed an occasional mission due to a simple mistake, but I didn’t mind replaying them.
Time for a break. I’ll wait for the next content drop.