First Impressions

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uran21
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First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:01 pm

First of all thank you on your prompt response regarding forum registration. Am I glad I am here :D

I acquired game through Steam. It was long on my wishlist and after it was purchased with all DLC's it stayed idle for some time in the library. Now it is time to try it out finally.

First start of the game lasted longer than anticipated. It would be good to have some feedback from the game like “loading…”.
Upon exiting the game it was indicated as Running. Exiting from Steam and starting it again didn’t change a thing. It lasted like this for more than 30 minutes before I restarted computer. That part was odd.

I like the Menu, the way it looks and the way it is organized. Buttons look nice (especially crosshair in it) and hovering sound is also nice. I like the music as well.

Upon examining menu I did realized how Tutorial is not quite on intuitive place. Tutorial is category on pair with Campaign and Scenarios.
What I missed in tutorial is showcase of progress and eventually possibility to terminate play mid tutorial and to return later on the place where I stopped. It was not necessary in this case but I like that approach.

Personally I do make distinction between strategic and minimap. Strategic map would be map across the whole screen with the whole area in it. So concept of strategic minimap is twisted from my view.

Also dry and mud would be ground states in my books not Weather which can be clear or raining. This gives me a hint how in this game ground state changes automatically how weather changes so ground state is used as synonym for weather.

Some of the cool things showed in tutorial include ZOC icons, terrain icons, rotation of unit icons depending on where we hover mouse prior to movement. It is cool how unspent movement can be spent later and concept of extended movement looks interesting.
Air bombardment and bridging options are also nice.

Although in last tutorial segment where I was tasked to take objective I did not noticed benefit of building a bridge next to units across the river. It took me two tries to finish that segment because I realized it needs to be done in one turn so not too much room for experimenting and one needs to be highly focused on objective rather than fighting units around.

That is it for the first session of play, lets move on for some more.

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:46 pm

My approach to games and manuals is the following. First I start to play the game to get the feeling of it than I read manual parallel to play.

Process of learning is what I like the most when playing new game.

Introductory scenario is much better environment to learn because there are no instructions and there is enough freedom to experiment. And it is a short one so it is easy to repeat to grasp some concepts.

Grades of success based on time limit is not unknown to me although Brilliant Victory confused me when I was tasked to capture all objectives in timely manner (thinking wasn’t that the point in other types of success) but later by checking objectives I realized every individual objective can have specific time for capture.

This thing alone is enough for replayability but adding unspent prestige to the score adds more challenge to hard core players.

Haven’t noticed Zoom In/Out functionality.

What I like about the map is that it has out of play area which is grayed out but I do miss tooltip on specific hex, especially regarding terrain and effects of it.

It missed my attention during tutorial how Theatre Assets are spent and recover per turn.
Anyway my play was not Brilliant for the first time so it will take some repetition to do it right before I move on Campaigns.



I can tell you it took me couple of tries before achieving Brilliant Victory.
Weather is quite random and it looks like it affects battlefield significantly.
History mode surprised me to actually be Replay and I figured if I save end of finished scenario it will give me access to Replay as well.

One unusual thing to notice was that if hex has even the smallest part of coast (most of the hex being sea) it will be accessible for ground troops.

This hand drawn outline between ground and sea really gives charm to this maps which is usually not the case with generic tiles in some games.

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:20 pm

By now minimap is not very useful except for giving perspective to geographical location of the battle.

Dotted lines are probably rails while roads are not present on this scale.

Supply sources are projecting their power to rail lines and reaching other areas depending on range of supply source and movement allowance of specific terrain.

Cutting off railway can be good as occupying supply source.

Numerical values of troops at the beginning of scenario are representing number of “steps” in units. Those “steps” as representation of unit strength are somehow controversial. They add to unique look and feel but in order to be sure how much steps unit has one needs to actually count them. I still don’t get those grayed steps, it is something like out of action for a turn, but not sure why is this happening.

Force Pool is talking about reinforcements in terms of “steps”.

Unspent prestige is added to the score but I wanted to use all the cool stuff so I figured while playing game and refraining oneself from purchases may be challenging it certainly isn’t fun!
I want cool stuff!

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:57 pm

Playing Stalingrad Campaign 1942-43 (Axis). I would like to play them in chronological order how they were released.

I do like progress statistics on the campaign map like score in previous scenario, amount of prestige spent and earned and number of scenarios played as well as name of the next scenario.

UI animations all around are a nice touch!

Campaign is a series of connected scenarios where only prestige and reserves are carried over but not deployed units (this keeps balance of the game).

So maximum number of steps for a unit is 7 plus specialist step. Tooltips explain grey steps are suppressed. It looks to me only one specialist step is allowed per unit.

Tooltips are EXCELLENT! I remember from tutorial about extended move on the expense of attack but I forgot how to use it. It is all in the tooltips!

Extended movement is a cool feature and due to its trade off with attack sound gameplay design element.

Sequential movement for all units is also great feature. It can give to dynamics of the game and contributes to tactizating but it is probably harder for AI to use it to its full potential.

I like the fact Unit Sheet keeps track of left movement points.

Game uses usual movement triangle consisting of terrain (weather effects included), movement points and type of movement. Only it looks to me there are only two types of movement, mobile and normal. While I cannot find explicit movement table for every particular movement type and terrain pointing movement arrow does have numerical indicator how much MPs are consumed in particular hex (after doing some math). I guess for most of the players this is just about enough without overburdening them with details.

Animated results in combat can be too fast to follow. SLIP is about suppression, KIA destroyed steps, BREACHED about weaken unit and not sure how OVERRUN affect defender but it is the single most coolest feature for attacker because it gives power and this type of games are in their essence power fantasies.

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:50 pm

Time to start reading Manual. Now I am familiar enough with the game to soak what the Manual is trying to say..

Air Supply to units with suppressed steps automatically makes them combat worthy again. Awesome Power Up!

I am seeing new game assets like SS, Gebirgs, Italians, bigger map.

Units deployed from the Force Pool can move right away. Big +++.

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:11 pm

Campaign screen has only unlocked scenarios but there is info about branching, requirements for progress or reasons of failure not to unlock something.
I like this transparency.

It looks like rivers are blocking supply to spread in the area. Rail lines are not the only things to watch for. Captured supply is not being activated :(
Terrain in general has influence on supply distribution. I wish to have some kind of planning board available.

I got utterly defeated at Stalingrad. All due to supply problems and losing to much units due to overextension. This scenario has step up learning curve regarding supply and its distribution. This is motivating for me.

After I lost all units, including the ones from Force Pool (not OKH Reserve), scenario did not end but continued until turns have run out. I wish there was a way to give formal surrender rather than to continue clicking end turn.

After selecting Stalingrad scenario on Campaign screen I reloaded campaign. This was slightly confusing at start. First searching for an option to restart than being confused where will campaign reload lead me to but Super Tooltips saved the day :)

One third of Manual is covered but first part does not have so much stuff about gameplay.
Anyway it is quite obvious Manual is not mandatory to understand this game, just playing and close observation will suffice.

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:59 am

Stalingrad second try. In short I won victory but it was very satisfactory and I will tell you why.

My focus was on mastering supply more than taking care about time. So if captured supply cannot add to my supply situation this does not mean it has no effect on gameplay because I can deny supply to enemy. There is one supply source behind Stalingrad that projects supply to the city itself but not further due to river. One supply is on the open in the south but capturing that is not priority because northern, central and southern fronts are getting supplied from the railway with the source on the north. There are also couple of others northern sources on the open that have local effect.

So what I did was to secure my northern flank first, destroyed Soviet forces and captured their supply which rendered some of my units overextended but it worth it. Than I captured southern supply and the whole Soviet front collapsed except Stalingrad itself and some units probably getting airdrop (shouldn’t we have info on Soviet Theater Assets, it looks like that was the case in previous scenarios).

In the meantime I was extending range of my supply, first on the north and later on the south. Central source has only local capabilities. After my units were close to town rear enemy supply was also captured.

Victory was achieved on turn 16 and it was so satisfactory because now I annihilated all Soviet units before objective capture. As an insult to an injury I let weak Romanian units to deliver the final blow and capture the town itself.

Despite victory this led my campaign to an end. And here is the thing I would love to see. Some kind of End of Campaign pop-up message to wrap this up.

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:17 am

Manual is getting exciting. I can confirm assumptions, learn something new and dig for the things unclear to me like Armor shift value for units.

I even discovered reorganize units feature! Nice one.

Besides my own observation of supply, knowledge was complemented with detailed explanation on out of supply effect and recovery.

It will take some time and experimenting to grasp all things related to combat.

I like my approach of playing first for short time and than reading manual. Now I know what I am reading about. Great deal of things could be understood by just playing the game and having eyes wide open but for some elements of the game manual is indispensable.

-----

Numerical value of units current experience is not listed, it is expressed by word. Numbers shown is threshold for level up and progress to it in current scenario. What happens when Elite unit levels up (+50), if that is even possible during the course of one scenario?!

Reinforcement type is clear by looking at unit icon. Vehicle in foreground means it’s armor. So motorized (truck in background) infantry is taking Infantry type reinforcement and mechanized (halftrack in foreground) infantry is taking Armor type reinforcement.

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:11 am

Family life can distract from gaming more than work do, but when you are pressed with combination of both ...well.

Anyway returning to my Stalingrad adventure. Played it once more for warming up and after that I was ready for more serious attempt with an aim of winning Decisive Victory. Result was much better than that. Brilliant Victory exactly on turn 8.

What I did was to deny supply bases to the enemy on north and south. My mobile force from the middle was pulled and directed north. I allowed Soviets to cross the river in the middle so I don’t have to attack with penalties of river crossing and marshes. Also this maneuvers had effect of weakening Soviet center because he tried to block me everywhere.

After supply was gone for them they were properly reduced and although some of mine units were out of supply I prioritized and accepted some casualties. Soviet reinforcements weren’t decisive and tanks were spawned across Volga probably due to effects of supply. Ai is not very good at recapturing his own supply bases. It could just cross over the river to do that but was more concerned at moving in supplied area.

So Brilliant Victory it is! :D

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Re: First Impressions

Unread postby uran21 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:41 pm

1st attempt at Astrakhan was one turn too far. Because at start Soviets breached my Romanian force and cut me off supply for one turn. Second attempt granted me victory.

Cossacs are standing out with that white horse icon.

At Kuibyshev scenario briefing text is overlapping Axis Theater Assets text.

Soviet Mechanized as new game assets emerging. I like this gradual distribution of new things.

This scenario is about outflanking enemy and cutting rail behind them. This is what AI did to me and in combination of bad weather I could not move units fast enough to remove threat on time which led to being out of supply for several turns. I could as well restart it right now but continued playing for the sake of experience.


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