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After playing a few turns of the Tutorial, I decided to give the campaign a whirl and to see what this game had to offer. It also has 6 scenarios which are all major operations of WW2, like Barbarossa, D-Dat etc.
You have the choice of playing either the Axis or the Allies, you can change if either side has a handicap or advantage, plus options to include fog of war, random research, oil consumption and a very interesting idea, where the war does not end in 1945, so you could play way beyond and finish, I guess, when one of the victory conditions have been met.
This game plays on a large scale hex map, so units are pretty much on a divisional/brigade size, and they have also included warship battlegroups , squadrons of submarines and air units (fighter, tactical and strategic bombers). The warship and submarines units can move in any sea hex, which opens up a new challenge of fighting a war on the high seas, as the map extends right across the Atlantic to the eastern land fringes of Canada and the US. There is a constant flow of convoys leaving Canada and the US for Britain, so there are plenty of opportunities for the U-boats.
It plays in player turns, and each turn with a set sequence of play, so for those who do not like Real Time Strategy games – your safe! Your war effort always depends on available Production Points and resources, manpower and oil. All cities generate PP and there are various hexes which generate resources and oil fields, but these are few in number, so these can be some of the most important factors to consider when planning any strategy, as making sure your rare and precious resources are safe from the enemies clutches! The Allies also get PP from the convoys from Canada and US, so these are going to be important targets for the Axis.
Countries enter the War as they did, unless you declare war on them, and when you do declare war on a country, they will surrender once you have captured their capital city. Other countries enter the war in their proper timeline (Italy, Hungary etc), and once they do you have full control of their units, but until they do join, you can do nothing with them except build up their forces with whatever PP they generate.
With the PP and resources you can build new units of all types, but you will not get them all straight away as they all take time to build, and some units like warship battles groups can take 8 turns to build. There is research screen where you can assign your preference for research in certain areas.
Units have many different attributes for different situations, and these attributes can increase as you successfully research in different areas. These attributes are easily seen by just clicking on their counter. Units also gain experience with every battle they are in.
This is a very enjoyable game, with enough detail for a seasoned gamer to be happy with and easy enough for a novice to learn. It does have similarities to other games, and to me it is like a mixture of The Third Reich and Panzer General but with more detail, smoother and better graphics and more expansive map area. Due to its grand scale, it does rely more on strategy rather than tactics, but an odd inclusion in this game which opens up all sorts of possibilities is that there are no Neutral countries – everyone can be invaded!
Matrix games said this “Easy to play – hard to master game play...”, which from the amount I have played, I would have to agree. I think this game has staked its permanent place on my hard drive, and my overall score out of 10, I would give it a 9.