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Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941 on the first year of the Wehrmacht’s invasion of focuses the Soviet Union. Each scenario covers an army-sized operation in which players maneuver division-sized units and supporting air units across a field of 5-kilometer-wide hexes. The scenarios are linked together to form campaigns.

Simple graphics complement an uncomplicated game design that has many elements of a real-time strategy game but in a turn-based format. The emphasis is on ease of play; however, the simplicity of the game mechanics sometimes leads to unrealistic situations, such as being able to drive through enemy lines to attack vulnerable rear units.

Reinforcement and resupply are similarly straightforward. Players just purchase what they need with resource points they can earn through conquests. Over time, they also can upgrade their units’ capabilities through the use of resource points.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941 is more of a game than a simulation of operational-level warfare. It will appeal to those searching for easy-to-play Eastern Front battles.

Total War: Rome II

Total War: Rome II is set in ancient Europe and the Middle East starting around 250 B.C. Players  command the forces of Rome or other great empires, from Persia to Carthage. They manage economies and force structure; conduct diplomacy, espionage and politics; and maneuver fleets and armies. While the game is complex, veterans of the Total War series will find the campaign has many small improvements that make managing an empire easier.

Gameplay alternates seamlessly from turn-based movement on the 3-D campaign map to 3-D engagements that unfold in real time. Once the opposing forces collide, stunning graphics bring the battles to life with nail-biting action. Additionally, the game breaks new ground by completely integrating land and sea forces in real-time amphibious battles. Notably, it also successfully combines strategic gameplay with the immediacy of first-person unit control.

Total War: Rome II is breathtaking in scope and compelling to play, if not downright addictive. It sets a standard worthy of the glory that was Rome.


 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 May 2014 issue of Armchair General.