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History: Legends of War

History: Legends of War purported to be about General George S. Patton, the legendary World War II is commander. However, his exploits only come into play as backdrop in this turn-based game that feels more like a role-playing adventure than a wargame.

Players control up to eight units, either individuals or armored vehicles, in a series of missions linked by the story line of Patton’s advance across France and Germany. The missions vary between attack, defense and infiltration, and their successful completion generates “prestige points” that players use as currency to upgrade or buy new units between missions (in role-playing fashion).

Although the game is fun to play, it has some shortcomings. For instance, everything is unrealistically simplified – foreshortened weapon ranges, limited rates of fire, and infantrymen unable to lie prone, enter buildings or jump over obstacles. The 3-D map is colorful, but the camera angles severely limit how much of the map can be seen at any given time. Also, the controls are clunky.

History: Legends of War is a good role-playing game with historical flavor, but to call it a wargame is a stretch.

Unity of Command: Red Turn

Unity of Command: Red Turn the earlier turn-based game is an expansion of Unity of Command, with a focus on Soviet counteroffensives in 1943-45. Players maneuver Soviet corps against German divisions on a hex field as they fight a series of linked operations to push the Nazi invaders from Russia.

This easy-to-play operational-level wargame re-creates the fluid Eastern Front armored combat on the Russian steppes that was distinguished by dramatic battles of deep penetration and encirclement. Supply plays a huge role in shaping strategy as players move their armored spearheads across the vast reaches of Russia.

The classic wargame format is reinvigorated through the use of original unit graphics and the innovative concept of specialized unit “steps” representing attached units such as Tiger tank battalions and NKVD security troops. The elegant game system provides just the right mix of information to make the gameplay both enjoyable and challenging.

Historically accurate and fun to play, Unity of Command: Red Turn hits the sweet spot in the balance between simulation and playability.


 Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Jeffrey Paulding is a lifelong student of military history and science. He has been playing wargames since he was a child.

Originally published in the November 2013 issue of Armchair General.