Strategic Command WWII: World at War, a turn-based grand strategy wargame depicting the Second World War on any major front from Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 to the end of the conflict in the summer of 1945, was released on December 6, 2018 by British PC game publisher Matrix Games.
Strategic Command was created by Toronto-based Fury Software for Matrix. WWII: World at War (or WAW) is a game in the relaunched Strategic Command series, which also includes Strategic Command: Europe. Strategic Command Classic: Global Conflict, WWII: War in Europe, and this year’s Strategic Command: World War I Fury developed this long-running series in the late 1990s, with Battlefront releasing the first game, Strategic Command: European Theater, in 2002. WAW is the fifth game in the series, and it was created by Hubert Cater, president/lead developer at Fury Software, and Bill Runacre, lead designer at Fury Software. For more detals about play station games click here.
Players can play as one of the two main coalitions that fought in WWII, the Allies (Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States, and France) or the Axis (Germany, Italy, and Japan), against the game’s artificial intelligence (AI) or another person (via “hotseat” or online via play-by-email) (PBEM).
WAW also involves minor powers who are neutral (such as Switzerland or Sweden) or co-belligerents that join either coalition based on a variety of factors, such as political leanings, diplomacy by the major powers, or invasions of their territories by either side. These minor forces are regulated by the AI, and although they can seem to be nothing more than window dressing at times, they can also be force multipliers that make or break a player’s war goals.
Strategic Command (SOCCOM) WWII: World at War includes a number of major campaigns and scenarios, each with its own start date and set of victory conditions. In my case, in mid-October, I had the following campaigns and officially released modifications (or mods) available:
Bill Runacre and David Stoeckl designed the three basic scenarios in WAW, and Hubert Cater programmed the AI. The Axis player (Human or AI) starts the game and moves first during each turn in all three scenarios; both sides have victory conditions they must fulfil by the end of the scenario, which normally include the capture of various national capitals and other major cities of strategic interest to either side.
For example, in order to win a decisive victory as the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan), you must control Berlin, Paris, London (and adjacent hexes), Manchester, Moscow, Stalingrad, Cairo, Tokyo, Seoul, Chungking, Delhi, Manila, and Canberra in the 1939 World at War campaign.
To win decisively, you must control Berlin, Rome, Paris, London (and neighbouring hexes), Moscow, Washington, DC, Tokyo, Seoul, Chungking, and Delhi if you’re playing as the Allies (Great Britain, the Soviet Union, France, and the United States). Click here for more details.
Three Race to Victory variants of the campaigns mentioned above are also available. The Race to Victory scenarios, which were developed by the same team that created the original main campaigns, have the same victory conditions on both sides. The game, however, imposes time constraints on players, hence the name Race to Victory.
Three Naval War mods based on the World at War, Axis High Tide, and Allies Turn the Tide scenarios have the same victory requirements as the World at War, Axis High Tide, and Allies Turn the Tide scenarios. The key difference is that the numerous warship units portrayed in the game have different mechanics in these Naval War versions.
There are two other official mods: Triumph and Tragedy, which portrays the Allied onslaughts against Germany and Japan in Europe and the Pacific Theaters in the summer of 1944 and after, and 1941 Rostov, in which Germany (and her Axis allies) fight the Red Army for the city of Rostov in October of 1941.
Strategic Command (SOCCOM) WWII: World at War portrays a variety of unit types, from lowly garrison units to defend cities and suppress partisan uprisings in occupied territories to Nazi Germany’s deadly V1 and V2 missiles produced later in the war. To simulate the value of logistics, your headquarters units deliver supplies to your fighting units. Tanks, various types of artillery, aircraft, and warships with various roles and missions are also available to command in WAW, which are represented as 3D sprites or NATO-style counters. Each unit has strengths and weaknesses, and if you select 3D sprites, they visually represent the nation that created them and can even change shape as the technology evolves throughout the game.
Since Strategic Command WWII: World at War is such a big, global wargame, I don’t think I’d be able to cover all of its features in a review. So, based on my interactions with WAW thus far, I’ll only give you some of my opinions.
Strategic Command WWII: World at War is a cross between the Milton Bradley/Avalon Hill/Hasbro board game Axis & Allies and some of the less complicated World War II strategy games released by MicroProse Software in the mid-1980s, if I had to explain it to a general audience. You must split your focus between the here-and-now battles in a given turn and using your industrial potential and economic strength to generate air, ground, and sea units that will be available in future turns, both as substitutes for losses and reinforcements that will add power to your upcoming campaigns, just as you did in Axis & Allies.
Each major power begins with a set amount of money (known as Military Production Points or MPPs) that is tied to specific variables based on historical data. In the case of the Axis, they join the war with a strong military but a poor financial position. Germany can loot MPPs from captured neighbouring nations, and trade with neutral states like Spain and Sweden can also sustain the Reich’s war effort unless the Allies can sway the Axis to their side through diplomacy and military victories. By attacking shipping lanes or using strategic bombing, both sides will damage their opponents’ economies.