Hitler: Whenever I think of this attack, my stomach turns over.
Guderian: In that case your reaction is correct. Leave it alone!
The dying days of the Stalingrad Campaign saw the German Army reeling under heavy blows from resurgent Soviet forces. Yet, even as von Manstein’s efforts to restore the situation were still ongoing, planning was already under way for a new summer offensive. With their ambitions now diminished and their apprehension clearly showing, the Germans chose to pursue an offensive agenda for one last time in the East.
We’ve made several changes to “Unity of Command” core game mechanics in our upcoming “Road to Berlin” expansion. It’s not a huge number of changes and really they’re not all that big, as we believe the game is solid basically. That said, some modifications were called for, to correctly capture the Soviet way of war during this “Third Period of the Great Patriotic War”.
#1 Disbanding Units
You are now docked between 25 and 200 prestige when you disband a unit. The only exception is the first (in a scenario) disband of a weak unit which is free, otherwise the costs mount rapidly.
This should quickly put a break on various gamey tactics that involved disbanding a large number of your own units, especially in the last turn. The precise formulation of the rule is as follows: for the first disband in a scenario your prestige penalty is 50 (0 if the unit is weak), for the second it’s 100 (25) and for third and all later disbands it’s 200 (50).
If you’ve been following the goings-on with Unity of Command, you may know that we’re working on an expansion that follows the Soviet forces as they advance westward after the battle of Kursk. The working title for this expansion is “Road to Berlin” and while that work is progressing nicely, I’ve hit a snag unexpectedly a few weeks ago when I found out exactly how much mapmaking I need to do.
Now, maybe I should’ve realized ahead of time that the USSR was a big place and that mapping it is going to require some effort. Then perhaps I wouldn’t be so surprised at how little of the map I managed to complete on my first day. But I guess I was misled by the nature of terrain around Stalingrad, which is what we had in the original game – and it turns out it’s nearly featureless in comparison with the other sections (Danube delta and Leningrad area shown here).
Anyway, since it looks like I’m going to be mapmaking for a while, it’s a good time to write down a little bit of something about each of the steps involved in making the map.
Although it’s been high time I post something relevant about the game on the blog for a while now, it took for some nice people to actually give us an award to get me unstuck (writers block, you know).
Anyway, a big thanks to the discerning wargamers at comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical for awarding us the 3rd place in their annual Wargame of the Year poll for 2011.
For me it’s a bit of a surprise. I was aware of the award since I’m a sometime lurker on this newsgroup, just never thought we’d actually get that much traction with the more hardcore wargaming crowd. Still, it’s much appreciated!
Of course, if you didn’t know beforehand, the continued existence of Usenet could be an equally big surprise to you. Well, it’s still alive thank you, and thanks to google groups you can now easily access most of the newsgroups (I think posting is possible too). It’s also remarkably spam-free, I guess this is due to google deploying some of its anti-spam firepower.
On second thought, I’m actually surprised this hasn’t caught on with hipsters. Because it’s so like 70s, the Usenet, eh?
Wishing you a happy Holiday Season and many carefree and memorable gaming moments all throughout the new year!
Unity of Command development team
There’s been a lot of discussion on forums whether we should add an option of nato style counters for unit icons. Until this fiery dispute is resolved, here’s a handy unit icon reference chart with breakdown of all the unit types you can encounter in Unity of Command.
As you can see, the total number of different types is fairly small and learning to discern them should be a breeze, especially if you are familiar with historical uniforms of World War II. It’s worthy to note that similarly looking units tend to have similar or identical stats.
You can use this chart as a desktop wallpaper too, if you like it.
This post is a brief visual intermezzo before Tomislav takes you back to the more substantial matters of gameplay in Unity of Command. For those of you visually inclined or generally interested in game development, I’ll try to cast some light on the UoC graphics production process. We’ll peek into how the UoC cover artwork was made.
Picture on the left is our finished cover design. The starting idea was to make cover that is looking videogamey but with strong hint of a historical WW2 photo. So the main challenge was to recreate that WW2-ish atmosphere.
The artwork consists mostly of 3D rendered imagery composed together using an image editing program. But let’s start from the beginning…
Sketches and concept
I usually start off by doing a bunch of very quick and rough pencil sketches. At the same time I research a lot of relevant visual references, in this case – original WW2 period photos. These initial sketches are never intended as final designs. I just explore around visual possibilities of the theme without much thinking.
Hello. It’s been a while, but we’re back in business with spilling the beans on various aspects of Unity of Command. I’ll do my best to explain how supply works today, since this seems to be both the most intriguing and most confusing element of the game.
Amateurs Talk Strategy. Professionals Talk Logistics.
OK, I’m not being very original here, but it’s an old and slightly worn-out saying that is nevertheless true. Guns need ammo, tanks need fuel. Soldiers need food and horses need fodder. If your units are not in supply they become weak and are easily picked off by the enemy because they can’t defend and they can’t run away.
Here is how it works in the game. Your units receive supplies once at the start of each turn, but only if they are in a supplied hex location. If not, they are considered out of supply for the turn, and the adverse effects start to kick in. We’ll get into details of which hex is supplied and which is not later when we discuss how the supply network works, but first let’s see what happens to a unit when it’s out of supply and what are the effects precisely.
On the left side of the image is the unit just before it is cut off from supply. It’s a reasonably combat ready unit, with four active steps and one suppressed. Going from left to right you can then see the effects when the unit is out of supply for 1, 2 and 3+ turns respectively.
Here’s some more info on how the game works, this time it’s about combat.
First, the basics. You hover the mouse pointer over the enemy unit and the game shows you the combat sheet. This shows you the likely outcome for the attack.
Obviously, you want to inflict maximum losses on the enemy but bear in mind that wiping out entire enemy formations in one turn is usually not realistic. A typical East Front strategy would be to pound until one of the defending units retreats, then exploit the gap in the line.
For everyone who’s interested, here’s a short primer on units in Unity of Command.
Units represent Axis divisions, Soviet corps or equivalent units regardless of their actual command level designation. All units are named, except for some of the Soviet rifle units. This is because many Soviet formations at the time omit a corps-level command for rifle troops. In these cases, names of armies are used.
Units of one type all share the same basic characteristics: attack, defense, movement and armor. Each type is represented by an icon that best illustrates either the uniform of the troops or the prevailing equipment.