I checked Unit of command II a few years ago andAside from a few minor details, it found it to be one of the most interesting and innovative turn-based tactical games I’ve ever played. It’s back now with a big expansion, and those issues are in the line of fire.
If you just come to us Guide unit Talk, it’s a turn-based game in the style of classics like Panzer General ((or his successor Armored corps), just with some very cool ideas on how to make things a lot more complicated than simply moving units around a battlefield.
UNIT OF ORDER II: THE KOTAKU REVIEW
Here is my review of the base game released in 2019 that I said was “such a pure and fun expression of turn-based tactics”.
Read the review here
It does this by turning cover into a puzzle, forcing you to use what are essentially special powers to drive the enemy out of cities and difficult terrain, and by building the entire experience on supply lines and forcing you to do the same to keep your tanks fueled like where the enemy is.
As great as the game was, one problem that arose for me after repeated play – repeated enough that this didn’t really show up for me until after my review – was that the balance between these enigmatic elements and broader tactical maneuvers was a little too crooked, which also affected the first two expansions of the game.
Trying to break up a city through oppression and flanking was a fun challenge but also pretty easy, and thanks to the game’s mission design, it took up far too much time than I could have done things that were even More It’s fun sending my tanks out on large runs that could orbit enemy units and cut off their supply lines, while at the same time juggling my own increasingly dangerous logistics.
Barbarossa of the Unit of Command II The extension fixes a lot of this simply because of its setting. Shifting her focus away from the mountains of Italy and the dense bocage of Normandy, she commands German forces in the early stages of her war against the Soviet Union, which means a lot of big moves on even bigger maps.
Here the mix of card and mission styles is almost perfect. There’s a ton of tremendous flanking moves and piercing spearheads as you step past the Russian’s starting positions. To confuse things, they are broken up by smaller, enigmatic maps based specifically on sieges or difficult terrain. The very best missions will combine both, with major tank battles leading to an outcome based on conquering cities surrounded by rivers and / or fortifications, almost like a boss battle.
Unit of command II is best when it really pushes its core logistical mechanics, telling you to juggle rapid armored advances with the need to keep your units supplied. Always think 1-2 turns ahead as it will always take your supply lines to move until you catch up. And it’s as if this campaign, more than any of its previous efforts, is the setting for which the game was born Barbarossa
This tension can make the campaign difficult in some places also difficult – but in a way that I also really like because it gives the game surprising historical value. One can very easily imagine the Second World War as a series of book chapters in which a year of uncontrolled German victory in 1941 culminated in Barbarossa, whose first breakthroughs were long regarded as astonishing success and whose reversal only after Stalingrad a year later.
However, this longstanding view has recently been challenged with the very convincing argument:One that you can see on an excellent BBC History Extra podcast with historian Jonathan Dimbleby– that Barbarossa was indeed an absolute mess, and the limping range of the Germans means that by August 1941 they had decisively lost the chance of a war victory.
Barbarossa Did you play that While the campaign is based on a series of non-stop victories, the game will exhausting After a while, when the great distances and the attrition of your armed forces begin to wear down your offensive the closer you get to Moscow. Historically, this is due to “overstretched supply lines,” such an abstract and boring term that it means next to nothing to most people reading about it 80 years later.
However, it means everything in this campaign because you are experiencing the direct effects of what that actually means. You are always moving forward against forces that are weaker than your own, your armies are constantly stretched thin, you are always running out of fuel and ammunition, your headquarters units – crucial to unlock special and necessary “forces” such as attack flow crossings – rarely able to catch up on the progress of your tanks.
It’s a fantastic challenge to your tactical skills, but also a wonderful representation of the actual historical campaign because, despite the fact that you keep winning, the further you go, the more you realize, “Oh shit, what are we getting into here , keep these Russians simple. I’ve come and run out of beans and don’t know where the infantry unit is on my left. “
What I like to think is something von Rundstedt was muttering to himself around Christmas 1941, so it’s pretty cool to get into the same situation in a strategy video game.
The Barbarossa extension is out now and available on Steam.