Strategic Command: European Theater

Strategic Command: European Theater is a World War II grand strategy game. You get six huge campaigns based on major turning points in World War II: the Poland invasion, the opening days of Barbarossa, Kursk, D-Day, and so on. Thanks to the ease with which you can experiment with weapons research and diplomatic flip-flops, it’s a snap to set up drastically skewed, even whimsically bizarre variations on the real historical campaigns.

5_1The time scale in Strategic Command varies from one week/turns to one month/turns, depending on the season. Units are corps-sized (cheapest) to army group–sized (fairly expensive), with options for strategic bombers, air fleets, and (most costly of all) strategic rocket batteries. Each time a technology reaches a new level, its procurement cost grows; I suggest early investment in basic industrial development, especially if you’re playing the Axis. The real Germans, after all, had already lost the production war just several years into the war.

Example: What if Hitler had been rational enough to put Germany’s economy on a “total war†basis and waited two more years before invading Poland? He could have deployed jet aircraft three years earlier, built up a strategic bomber fleet equal to Britain’s, and hammered the crap out of London, Liverpool, and Scapa Flow with “V-3†missiles. The Italians, given the same premise, could have modernized their industrial base and built a fleet strong enough to throw the Brits out of the Mediterranean. Goodbye to Malta, Alexandria, the Suez Canal, and — with a modest German assist — probably the USSR’s vital oil fields in the Caucasian region.

In short, although Strategic Command is about as clean and elegant and easy-to-learn as a wargame can be, it’s got so many fiendishly creative wild cards lurking just out-of-sight that its replay value is endless.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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