Mike Colello, 5 December 2019
Armchair Dragoons takes a first look at Strategic Command: WWI from Matrix Games
Fury Software released their first title in the Strategic Command series in 2002 and have been going strong ever since. Released on December 5, Strategic Command: WWI is an updated version of the original SC: WWI grand strategy game. Those familiar with the classic version will immediately notice a big change in graphics. Not just a visual update, the game now uses hexes instead of tiles.
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You can choose to use either 3D or NATO type counters on the map. The game is mod-friendly so it is also possible to create your own counters and maps. In fact, a quick trip over to the Matrix Games forum shows that there is already at least one mod, The Blue Max 2D Counter and Map Mod by IronX that does just that.
And speaking of options, there are plenty to choose from. At the start of a game, even one in progress, you can change both Basic and Advanced settings, although some options can only be set at the start of a new game.
The game also allows you to set friendly controlled Major Powers to AI-controlled if you wish. For example, if you want to just play as Britain you could set the other Entente powers to AI-controlled. It is even possible to switch sides if you wish. You can change these settings at any time during a game, a feature new to this version of Strategic Command: WWI.
As the game progresses you will have to make important strategic decisions that could affect the outcome of the war. When a Decision Event pops up you now have the option to minimize the Decision box and look around the map before choosing a response. Each Decision Event also includes historical notes that you can review.
Another new feature in this version of Strategic Command: WWI is the ability of Destroyers and Torpedo Boats to lay mines. Caution is advised, however, as laying mines in certain strategic locations could actually trigger an event with other nations.
Also as you would expect from a World War I game, Entrenchment is possible for infantry and cavalry units. Trenches can have up to three sides (which is recommended) and will receive defensive bonuses if attacked from one of those sides. The game will even default to which sides should be entrenched based on the proximity and location of enemy units.
If you are familiar with the classic version of this game or have played any of the other titles in the Strategic Command series, you will feel right at home with this version as most of the basic gameplay is the same.
Other new features to this updated version of Strategic Command: WWI include new unit types (ANZACs, Colonial Corps, Mountain Corps), an Enhanced Fog of War that shows the limits of a unit’s spotting range, Dynamic Movement which allows you to re-select and move units with unused Action Points, Naval Cruise movement which allows naval units to move quickly over long distances, and Land Convoys in addition to Sea Convoys. The AI is also rumored to be much improved.
If you are familiar with the classic version of this game or have played any of the other titles in the Strategic Command series, you will feel right at home with this version as most of the basic gameplay is the same. And newcomers to Strategic Command: WWI need not worry. The Strategic Command games are not overly complex and are easy to learn. Strategic Command: WWI’s complexity is on par with games like Panzer Corps and Order of Battle. Strategic Command: WWI also includes and excellent manual that comes in at almost 300 pages. Additionally, three strategy guides are also included that cover the three campaigns included with the game.
The three campaigns included with Strategic Command: WWI are:
- 1914 Call to Arms
- 1914 Triple Alliance (where Italy joins the Central Powers)
- 1917 Fate of Nations
Strategic Command: WWI also includes the same features as the previous edition including: Supply Rules, Partisans, Diplomacy, Weather effects, Research, Production, and Reinforcing. The new version also supports Single Player, Hotseat, and PBEM++ Online modes of play.
Stay tuned for more as we dig further into the game.