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Posted on Apr 12, 2006 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Strategy: Computer War in Europe II

By Johnny L. Wilson

The game mechanics are much simpler than one would expect from a monster game. First, both sides set their force allocations for air superiority, ground support, sea interdiction, or transfer to a different front. When I think of the invasion of Poland, I think of lots of Stukas strafing the enemy ground forces (and sometimes, refugees). Of course, Poland doesn’t have very many air assets (they have a tenth of what the Germans have) and, no matter how the Allies allocate their air assets, a heavy German effort on air superiority will wipe them out. The program tabulates the results of air combat. Then, any air units left over from the air superiority campaign can be brought in to modify individual combat actions during the ground combat. In any given combat, the attacker can assign a ground support mission to ensure a +1 modifier to the combat die roll (only one modifier is allowed per combat).


TO AIR IS INHUMAN Since the Axis has massive air superiority available to them in the Poland, 1939 scenario, it is almost a waste of time for the Western Allies to see this screen. If the Axis player commits enough air assets to an air superiority campaign on the first turn of the game (more than 6 were required to guarantee no Axis losses in our playing of the game), Poland will never get to use her air assets in ground support.)

Next, Computer War in Europe II allows the Axis ground units to move. When one clicks on a stack (representing a pile of cardboard counters), the surrounding hexes where the stack can move are highlighted. Movement is painless since, unlike the board game player, you don’t have to calculate how many points it take to cross a river, climb a mountain or maneuver through a swamp or forest. The program handles ZOC or zone of control issues.

MELLOW YELLOW The yellow highlights indicate hexes that a given stack of units can reach during the current movement phase.

As in a typical "I go, you go" game, the Axis player moves all of his ground units. Then, if relevant, resolves all naval or airborne movement. Combat is resolved, one defending hex at a time. The old CRT table exists on the screen and as the die rolls, one gets the suspense of seeing the potential combat results flicker like a slot machine [ae = attacker eliminated (attacker loses all units in combat), ax = attacker exchange (attacker gives up number of losses equal to defender’s strength), br = both attacker and defender retreat, ex = both attacker and defender exchange equal losses, hx = half exchange, dr = defender retreat, and de = defender eliminated). Obviously, one wants the results lower on the track to get the most efficiency out of combat, so adding that +1 for the ground support can make a huge difference by forcing the range downward.

AX TO GRIND Attackers don’t like to see the AE or AX show up on the combat results table. Those who insist on 2:1 or even 3:1 attacks are likely to see a lot of cases where they have more losses than the enemy.

After all desired combat has been resolved, the program allows mechanized movement to exploit any breakthroughs or supplement any weak holes in the line. Then, the procedure is reversed as the other player-either by email or by hotseat (two players using the same computer)-repeats the procedure.

Since Computer War in Europe II isn’t finished yet, I cannot rate the game for my readers and since there is no artificial opponent, I can’t share any surefire ways to beat the game. I can, however, offer you the chance to check out the preview version for yourself. You can download it at the Decision Games (heir to the SPI library of games) website. Let me know what you think of it. Perhaps, we can play a game when the PBEM version is implemented.

Discuss this article on our forums.

Author’s Information

Johnny L. Wilson is the former editorial director of Computer Gaming World and publisher of Dragon, Dungeon, Star Wars Gamer, Star Wars Insider, TopDeck and Undefeated magazines. He is the author of The Sim City Planning Commission Handbook and co-author of Sid Meier’s Civilization or Rome on 640K a Day. His most recent game-related book is High Score: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, written with Rusel Demaria. Today, he balances his game playing with his work as a freelance novelist and author of multimedia study guides for the books of the Bible. His passion is any game that causes him to study more history. Not the strongest player, he is nonetheless an avid player. Johnny and his wife live on the shore of Castle Lake in Tyrone, Georgia.

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  1. Sorry to see that this is almost three years old and there was nothing more recent. I have played the monster game in its nine map/3000+ cardboard counter incarnation and would be interested in getting the computer game if it was even close to the original. Any news lately?
    May 2010.

    • Yes the game is out.
      Yes it is being played
      Yes It is well suited to PBEM

      It has a vibrant community of gamers

      And a mailing list plus a discussion forum

      The Game can be obtained From
      Who also provide a discussion forum

      And there is an independent mail list at

      Where strategies, oppponents, developments and support can be found.

  2. What are the system requirements for Compter War in Europe II?

    • There is a demo one can download and try out the game. I downloaded my demo from Decision Games. It is of the first eight turns to the Russian campaign, Operation Barbarossa. I have been playing it solitaire, which is what I would be doing if I pulled out the old Board game out of the attic and started setting it up and playing. I haven’t played War in the East (part of War in Europe) for over 30 years but it was fun to toy around with the computer demo.
      I’m not sure what the computer requirements are but if the demo runs on your computer then the regular game probably will too. My computer is over 10 years old, (I bought it in April 2001), although it was a latest and greatest when I bought it. I have 768Megs of RAM, and it was OK.

  3. Been playing WIE since ’78, and this since it came out. Finally a version of the game that can be played to a conclusion without too much grief. Has a good feel, much like the board game. All the options from various sources are included. An over all winner.