Commander : The Great War

Bootie

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2-4 games.
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Matrix Games' Scott Parrino very kindly provided a review copy of Commander : The Great War for The FGM to cast their beady eye over.

I downloaded the game and had a quick exchange of turns with the AI before immediately getting in touch with Rico demanding a multiplayer game. Such was the ease of play. Like its forebear Commander : Europe at War which focused on WW2 this again is what I class a 'beer and pretzel' game. Its fun, engaging and easy to pick up and play. Fun to play but difficult to master. There is a depth to this game which at first glance is not noticeable. Play a few turns and you realise its not a click fest, some serious thought needs to go into each turn and guess what? ... there isn't an undo button. Once you move a unit you live with the consequences (or die as I tended to do quite a lot).

Where I believe this game excels is the historical accuracy of it all. Its like playing a history lesson... a fantastic fun history lesson taught by a hot blonde teacher. And much like having a hot teacher the automatic opponent finder and match up/file turn around system is exquisite and makes the game so easy to play and to go back to. This system is also employed in Panzer Korps another fantastic game from Matrix/Slitherine. Email notifications to your inbox let you know its your turn. Then its only a matter of running the game, popping into multiplayer and double clicking the battle you are fighting. Watch the opponents turn - click done and of you go... an email fires its way to them and once they play their turn it gets fired back to you.

Now this history lesson as mentioned previously is fun... which is strange considering there is no Blitzkrieg attacks here. Its a war of attrition and much like the Western Front in real life this game illustrates perfectly why it was hard to make any headway. Basically you end up with a front line where to attack is to lose massive amounts of men. Do you do a Haig and send them walking into machine gun fire or do you sit and hope the enemy build up is not quicker than your own allowing them to force a gap. And any gaps that are forced do tend to be stamped out pretty quickly. Its all about positioning, timing and keeping your public at home happy.

Now this game I played against Rico was the big one. Straight in at the deep end... we went for The Great War. Without going into it like an AAR we played everyday for 2 months and completed about 2/3 of the time line of WW1. I was the Haig type character constantly pushing the soldiers of The Allied Entente into fruitless attacks. From my point of view it was to keep the enemy constantly having to resupply and refit their front line units. It didn't work and massive losses on the fronts soon lead to unrest at home and my factory output started to dwindle. All research got canned as I tried to wrestle with my public to give me more shells for my artillery. Alas it never came. America failed to enter the war and with the Russians beaten and surrendered it was only a matter of time before I could no longer keep my front line in the west fresh and when the break through came from the enemy it was fast and incisive and Paris fell. With that I decided to surrender to save my opponent the luxury of mopping up units.

Now all good so far but this is what irked me... by pressing surrender we were not afforded the courtesy of an 'End Game' screen. It was as if I threw my dummy out of the pram, picked my ball up and went home. There was no rousing music showing enemy forces marching through my capital cities, no sorrowful music as the camera sweeps over a devastated battlefield or lines of dejected POW's. Nothing. Both me and Rico were rightly hacked of. 2 months playing this game and no end game screen. Im not sure if it was a bug on our side or if this is what happens but that is certainly what happened to us and it was a major turn off.

Another possible down point is the re-playability. It has a number of pre set scenarios but if you play through The Great War (main campaign) you may run into these situations through normal play. I will need to have a look and another few games before I can truly comment but despite all that it is a fantastic, vast, enjoyable, addictive game to play.

In fact me and Rico enjoyed it so much we have launched a Commander ladder here at The FGM. For those of you with The Great War or Europe at War be sure to get on it and start logging those wins. If you havent got either you can find them in the links below. Now go get them!!

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/385/details/Commander.-.The.Great.War.

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/344/details/Commander.-.Europe.at.War.Gold

Commander : The Great War gets a massive thumbs up.
 
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