'Unity of Command 2' Messes with Tactics Perfection—And It Works

Unity of Command 2 has a tough act to follow. Designer Tomislav Uzelac’s original wargame of the Nazi blitzkrieg on Stalingrad and eventual Soviet counterattack was a masterpiece of simplicity. Units could move and attack, and that was it. At the end of each turn, the game checked to see if they could get enough fuel and ammo to fight at full strength the next turn, If they failed that check, they would become hollow shells until they were back “in supply”. All the other stuff that wargames tend to introduce to capture more detail or elusive “historical” accuracy was basically abstracted out of the game. The miracle was that it didn’t feel compromised or shallow. Victory was hard to achieve, but Unity of Command itself was streamlined to the point of being nearly frictionless to play.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vb5kk9/unity-of-command-2-review
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This sounds like it fixed the one thing that had me bouncing off the first UoC, which is the feeling I couldn’t shake that there was always one “correct” move I was expected to make that I was missing.

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Through the first chunk of three scenarios as of yesterday. I was worried that all the new stuff would break the formula the first game had, but they knew what they were doing.

It is funny how useless the American II Corps is before you give it the abilities the Brits start with.

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I love the sound of the gameplay here so much, Rob Zacny strategy game stories are amazing. This sounds like quite an achievement for the game designer.

I just want it to not be about real battles that really occurred where real people really died. :frowning: Here’s hoping someone will shamelessly imitate this in another setting?

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There’s definitely an opportunity for a game dev to make a crunchy turn-based wargame with an “operational-level” focus on things like supply lines and logistics, but with a non-historical/fantasy/sci-fi setting. I’m not aware of any games that exist like this… but I’ve thought about it a little bit from the tabletop side of wargames and my guess is that this is a lot harder to do than it looks. The benefit of a historical setting is that a designer has a lot of material to draw on in research. Whereas a designer of a fantasy/sci-fi game has to come up with it all whole cloth and it might be challenging to make a convincing logistics simulation.

You could look at Warhammer 40k Armageddon and Fantasy General 2, both of which are turn-based games that trace their lineage to Panzer Corps/Panzer General. I haven’t played them but my understanding is that UoC’s focus on supply is one of the things that distinguishes it from Panzer Corps, so depending on what you are looking for they might not really be a good fit.

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I definitely dig the FG lineage. I’ve played those and the excellent Elven Legacy series. Armageddon is good, but sometimes fails to ‘sell’ the character of various battles. Great recommendations, honestly.

I think you’re right that historical Wargame designers sometimes make gameplay breakthroughs because they are trying to emulate some aspect of actual conflicts. It’s also true that they benefit from being able to focus on the mechanics rather than the theme. Austin touch on that in today’s podcast. It would be interesting to see a review of the kind of gameplay innovations that never really left the historical wargaming market. I get a little game envy from that side of things sometimes because I really like good mechanics.