Unity of Command: Black Turn
Unity of Command: Black Turn based prequel to of Command: Stalingrad is a turn- Unity Campaign. It covers Operation Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht’s 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, offering 13 linked scenarios in which gamers play different German army group commanders as they maneuver division-sized units across a hex field.
The game’s units can both move and fight in the same turn, and overruns are possible. When this happens, huge holes are opened up in the Soviet front, thus re-creating the period’s freewheeling battles of encirclement.
Imaginative graphics and an innovative game system help distinguish Unity of Command: Black Turn from other games. The playing pieces may look like bobbleheads festooned with dots and symbols, but the quirky images serve to communicate essential information quickly. Meanwhile, supply, terrain and weather – often keys to victory – are displayed in simple and effective overlays.
The straightforward game mechanics free players to focus on strategy, making the game accessible and fun to play. That is not to say that the computer-controlled Soviets are pushovers. Indeed, they put up fierce defenses and launch intelligent counterattacks.
Unity of Command: Black Turn is a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable wargame that demonstrates even classic style can be improved upon.
Battle Academy: Fortress Metz
Battle Academy: Fortress Metz that focuses on the tough battles George Patton’s is an add-on game 3d Army fought in northern France during the fall of 1944. Though the scenarios are tactical in scope, they accurately reflect the essence of that campaign’s combat.
The beauty of this turn-based strategy game is its emphasis on combined arms, even if its 3-D models are a bit cartoonish. Throughout the 10 solo missions, players control individual tanks, vehicles and fire teams as enemy forces fire back at them defensively.
The game system feels like that found in a tactical wargame, although the playing pieces represent battalion-sized units. With a clever mixture of historical weapons and armor capabilities, morale and terrain rules, the game rewards players for using realistic tactics to achieve their objectives.
Battle Academy: Fortress Metz is a great way to introduce young folks to wargaming. The gameplay is serious but accessible, and they may find the presentation more lively and compelling than that of a classic-style game.
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 September 2014 issue of Armchair General.