|Scenes of extreme carnage south of Brussels. Wherever you look at there is a regiment either engaged or about to be engaged in battle.|
Scourge of War: Waterloo
Published by Slitherine/Matrix Games
Digital Download: U$ 49.99
Boxed plus Dowload: U$ 54.99
Scourge of War Waterloo (SoWW) is a tactical/grand tactical 3D continuous time wargame about the Battle of Waterloo. Playable from both sides in multiplayer and single player modes, this game is the first from NorbSoftDev to include a grand tactical/operational sandbox mode that allows the player to maneuver his forces in a separate game mode featuring at 90 x 90 km map.
|The British forces around defending Hougoumont can't cope with the French infantry and artillery.|
SoWW includes 20 historical Waterloo scenarios (10 scenarios for each side) in which the player commands brigades, divisions, corps and armies. The scenarios in which the player commands brigades, divisions and corps feature neighbor, AI-controlled friendly units and the player has to choose the best way to employ the forces under his command according to the ebb and flow of battle.
|In this scenario, I don't have any artillery under my command and I am advancing unsupported. Not a great idea.|
|SoWW's digital battlefield now allows troops to enter buildings and structures.|
|An infantry brigade in column formation.|
|Prussians on the move. Scene from a sandbox campaign.|
The views and sounds in SoWW are fantastic. This is not a big budget game like others, so I will bluntly refuse to compare SoWW against anything else but previous Scourge of War games or maybe "that other" 3D Napoleonic war game that is out there.
SoWW is a game about maneuver, command and control. Is about knowing your subordinate commanders and what they can do. Is about command decisions and OODA cycles. Is fully scalable in terms of workload (frantically move/micromanage every single regiment or just give a couple of orders to your brigades, now and then). It is a very versatile engine that has something for everybody.
|This birds eye view of the battlefield is breathtaking. Note the enemy units in the distance.|
The sandbox campaign is a non-historical grand tactical/operational separate game mode. The player maneuvers his forces within a 90 x 90 km area around Brussels. He can detach forces to recon, screen or garrison any given town. When two opposite forces meet each other, the player can retreat or present battle. If he chooses the latter, he will fight the battle in the full 3D environment. It works like a charm and it is very immersive. Some thought on how to conduct the operation will reward the player with a lot of operational art wisdom.
|The sandbox campaign map is a 3D stylized map. Each group of units is represented by a single 3D figurine. Any detached unit will have its own 3D figurine.|
|A close up of the sandbox campaign map. My Cavalry regiment (light blue flag) is retreating from a brush off with an infantry brigade (dark blue flag).|
|Fully deployed to block a Prussian detachment from crossing the creek on the right, this French Division has occupied the high ground after a forced march.|
|The sizes of the battles ensure a good amount of confusion. Where is my Brigade when I need it? A very handy feature is the ability to navigate the OOB by pressing the arrow keys.|
|I am under the impression that the quiet is about to end abruptly.|
|Damn it! We have just been hit in the flank by enemy cavalry. I haven't spotted this unfortunate event until I saw a square formation within our interior line.|
|This part of the battlefield is still almost empty.|
|There are two types of interfaces in SoWW: the traditional one (shown here) and a new contextual one which is my favorite at the moment. You can switch from one to the other by just selecting a mod from the main menu.|
|This is the area that the sandbox campaign covers. I use this picture to plan my operations.|
This concludes a very brief preview of SoWW. In my opinion this is a great new game from NorbSoftDev, with a lot of new features and options besides the obvious change in the setting. The sandbox campaign and battles offer a great value and replayability. It is a true war game, realistic and with no deal-breaking compromises or shortcuts. The thought and design talent that went into this game is extraordinary, to the point that I feel this is a genre-defining title.