Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa Available Now24 Nov 2015 0
Ugh, that is so Marshal Budenny.
Most wargames put you in the shoes of an omnipresent being who has full and total control over every aspect of a conflict. Of course, that wasn't the case in reality. Strategy didn't drive every general's decisions, those were often influenced just as much by personalities and backroom politics. Matrix Games' latest release, Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa, focuses less on what's happening in the field and puts more attention on the heirarchy of command and just how messed up things can get when egos and careers get in the way.
Barbarossa focuses on the Eastern Front in 1941, allowing you to play as either the German or Soviet leadership, but not the top dogs. No, you'll need to take orders from your superiors all the way up the chain to Hitler and Stalin. Will you follow orders, or do your own thing knowing that any victory will save face? Of course, you have subordinates as well who are looking out for their own hides. Will they follow your orders to a T? Probably not, and who's going to answer for whatever happens then? I have to admit, reading the press blurbs on Barbarossa has me intrigued maybe more than any other wargame I've read about. Dealing with the backstabbing and politics just sounds, dare I say, fun.
There's a lot more to the game than what I've mentioned. Don't believe me, paste your eyes on these carefully cut and pasted blurb items:
- Command a true operational structure. Can you balance and prioritise three different Theatres in order to achieve your objective?
- Are you able to work within a Command Hierarchy with both Superiors and Subordinates in an environment where strategy and politics often conflict?
- Focus on what’s important, ignore what isn’t and execute a winning strategy in order to overcome a take-no-prisoners AI. Or a devious meat brain.
- Set Army postures, assign Theatre based Artillery, allocate Tactical Air Support and order your Theatre Commanders to provide specialised battalions and staff assets to the Panzergruppe or Army of your choice. Don’t be upset if they refuse.
- Detailed mechanical breakdown, mileage and fatigue systems. Realistic climatic model. Every degree below zero matters. Experience the effects on men and machines of severe frostbite and blizzards. How far are you willing to push them? Pull a Panzergruppe out of the line for a refit or rest an Army. Do you maintain your Blitzkrieg or throttle back to a more sustained offensive posture to conserve fuel?
- Deal with the Dark side of the war. Trade ethics off against operational imperatives. Answer to a War Crimes Tribunal if you lose. Or order both sides to observe the Geneva Convention and fight a gentleman’s war.
- Can you stand up to the Führer? Are you willing to put it all on the line, demand Military Independence, and risk being fired? Or would you prefer to toe the line and support the Führer in whatever goal he is currently fixated upon?
- Receive a detailed High Command assessment of your Command Potential each turn. You’re being watched and evaluated. Pour over a comprehensive breakdown of all your activity at game end.
- Experience a realistic combat engine developed and fine tuned over many years and three previous games. One that takes into account hundreds of variables and is optimised for eastern front warfare.
- Fight to get winter clothing and equipment for your men. Argue with Göring over fuel allocations. Order your individual Divisions to report their status. Fifty different stats and values are tracked for each.
- Watch as your logistical pipelines visibly stretch across the vastness of Russia behind your hard driving Panzer columns as they thrust and encircle. Decide when to order a temporary shutdown and relocate your Forward Supply Bases forward. Horde your precious truck columns and hope that your locomotives can cope with the washouts, collisions, partisans, lack of signals, poor quality tracks and frozen water pipes typical of the Ostfront. Order the Luftwaffe to fly emergency resupply missions when it all goes wrong.
- Swap sides and play the part of a ruthless Soviet dictator, backed into a corner, armed only with a rusty knife. Is your pathological urge to win enough to overcome your inner demons and redeem yourself by stopping the world’s most professional, undefeated, army from kicking down the gates of Moscow? Recall who left those gates unlocked in the first place?
- Be prepared to shoot your Marshals. Fling your troubleshooters from one crisis to the next. Hope that they don’t get delayed enroute. Ruthlessly feed your Conscript armies into the meat grinder, trading time and space, desperately holding on for Rasputitsa and the depths of winter. Prioritise one Front over others. Gather your Siberians and push back hard.
- Take charge of a solidly researched Historical OOB that covers a wide range of unit types and nationalities but one that keeps the unit count manageable and enables the game to be played in days, not weeks.
- A deep, immersive, game experience with reduced micromanagement. Make tough, meaningful, decisions with difficult trade offs by just one click.
- Rather than providing a long list of rinse and repeat scenarios there is a single, hand crafted, campaign that has significant depth and is designed for extensive replayability.
You can grab Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa directly from Matrix Games for $50. That's for a downloadable version. If you want it in a box--and you should, it comes with a 330-page color hardcover manual--it will run you $65.