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Posted on Sep 4, 2007 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

WWII Grand Strategy Buyer’s Guide

By Larry Levandowski

Commander – Europe at War

Summary:  Newly released. Fast, easy-to-learn game play. Historic accuracy takes a back seat to fun, but overall feel of the war is there. Great casual play enjoyable by all.

: Slitherine

:  Matrix Games

: The war in Europe including Russia, North Africa and Atlantic.

: Two player, Germany and Italy vs. the US, UK and Soviets

: Hot seat or PBEM

Game Play
: Turn based, you-go-I-go, each turn is 20 days of real time. Player moves one unit, conducts combat with immediate results, and then moves next unit.

: Hex based, spans US east coast to Caspian Sea, each hex about 50km

: Abstract unit types called corps. Infantry, motor infantry, armor, destroyer, sub, carrier, battleship, fighter, tactical and strategic bomber. Historic leaders can be assigned. Units gain experience. Only one unit per hex.

: Each unit can attack after its move, and allowed to advance one hex upon push-back of enemy. Armored break-through possible. Results modified by, terrain, leadership, unit experience, capability and readiness. Units lose effectiveness if they can’t trace supply to source.

Strategic War
: Lend lease convoys can be intercepted by submarines and defended by destroyers. Strategic bombers reduce production of cities.

: Can only declare war.

: Simplified production based on controlled cities. Units can be purchased and take 1 – 6 turns to produce. Damaged units can be repaired. Oil needed for mechanized units. Production can be increased through research.

: Research in key areas of infantry, armor, air, naval and general, increase unit capabilities. Unit upgrades must be purchased. Unit graphics change to reflect upgrades.

: Scripted Italy, US and Soviet entry.

: Full war from 1939, or 41, 42, 43 or 44 start.

: Osprey publishing provides high quality unit and leader graphics. Clean good looking interface. Sound adds to experience.

Mod Support
: Minimal. Unit factors, terrain effects and leaders can be tweaked by editing script files. No editor.

: Overall interactions at the grand strategic level feel right, but the details sacrifice realism for game play.

Other points
: Newly Released. SSI’s OOP title Panzer General was reportedly inspiration for this title.


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  1. I have owned and played this game for a couple of years now. It is always enjoyable and I like the fact that you can take Russia out of the picture and see how the world would be with only a one front ware.

  2. Hearts of Iron 2 has about as much realism as a glossy version of Risk. The game has a “face” of realism but the mechanics of the game don’t give realistic results. The game system can be appreciated by itself without any of the WW2 references painted on but if you ignore the game system and expect to get results based on the WW2 stuff you will be disappointed.

  3. Hearts of Iron 2 Doomsday is a great, but very complex, grand strategy wargame. There is no such thing as a quick game and the learning curve is a little steep. That said, it is a thoroughly enjoyable game. It presents the entire world and ever aspect of the war while giving you, the player, the opportunity to follow or change history. The results are indeed realistic, but with the great number of factors contributing to each situation it can be hard to understand at times why things happen the way they do. All that said, for anyone looking for a serious and long running grand strategy World War II game, you can’t beat Hearts of Iron 2 Doomsday.

  4. Hearts of iron is the most comprehensive ww II strategy game ever created. It is awesome in scope, time consuming and very addictive.

  5. Ive played all of these games and Strategic Command is a good measure better than the other 2. The game lets you focus on playing it rather than micro managing it. It has plenty of units, a good uncomplicated tech tree, an excellent (best really) editor, lots of mods made, excellent interface, high playability without even reading the instructions, and its fun.

    Economics, Spys, and Diplomacy is simple which lets you focus on what players really want to do with WW2, move armies.

    Graphics are the least appealing of all the games but it has high visibility. There is no trying to figure out what the map is, its obvious where units are and what their strengths are.

    Overall very well built and streamlined. The company really cares about the game and keeps putting out a better and better product.