Sunday, December 7, 2014

World War II Europe - New Game from Schwerpunkt

World War II Europe
by Schwerpunkt Games
$50.00, Download (extra scenarios to be released  free of charge later, printed manual and reference cards available later as well)

World War II Europe is an operational level of war turn-based hexes and counters computer game with a clean and lean design. This is a well thought game that hosts a credible computer opponent and an ambitious set of scenarios. Although it is easy to get into, it is a hardcore war game that will require the best of your war waging abilities. If you are still mourning the death of Panzer General or too fond of its many reincarnations, please look elsewhere.

France, 1940. Playing as the Allies (French units are the blue counters) I make a grim discovery with my air recon units (blue circles): the Ardennes are packed with German units. 

WWII Europe (WWIIE from now on) plays in turns each turn divided into phases for supply, air operations, ground operations move and ground operations offensive actions). The game drives you through these phases with just a click of a button. The turn resolution time is short and wastes almost none of your precious fun time. Ground, air and naval operations are modeled.

The scenario selection menu. 50 or so of these scenarios are ready to play, the rest coming soon.
Content-wise, the final game will feature around 100 scenarios. The current download has around 50 scenarios and the remainder will be available at a later time. It is an ambitious menu and a lot of gaming value. The scenarios cover the West, East, Africa and the Mediterranean theaters of operations.

Approaching Leningrad as the Germans (grey counters). The order of battle is highlighted for the 41 Corps HQ (outlined white), with the subordinate divisions outlined in green. The sisters corps HQs are outlined in blue.
The new WWIIE's map is beautiful and very functional for the operational level of war. Makes me wish if would be available in a large format print form, just to follow the narrative of those history books with lousy or no maps at all.

The supply situation is abstracted and based on major roads and railroads. The supplies are cascaded down from the rail and major road hexes, here showing black or red dots for a quick inspection. Gone are the days of previous Schwerpunkt games modelling rail gauge conversion! This screenshot is from the Poland 1939 scenario.

A great effort was put into making WWIIE's user interface more functional and friendly. One of the most appreciated new features for me was the automatic cursor move (select a unit on the map and the cursor automatically moves to a tool bar box full of buttons to attack, move, etc.). However, I was not able to set up my  for a clean and predictable map scrolling. In addition to that, my toolbar goes on and off with no apparent connection to an in-game menu that should keep it on at all times. Other display options, like the showing of supply sources is activated a non-toggled button. The only apparent way to turn off the showing of supplies is the pressing of other display options that override it.

Only for the brave: playing as Denmark (red icons) against the Germans. The scoring system is based on the historical performance of the side being played. So, if you are able to perform better than the Danish during 1940, you get a passing score.
WWIIE has one of the clearest, most information-rich counters in the computer war gaming industry. All the information you need to know to plan operations around a unit is available without the need to click for additional information.

To Rome! The slug fest of fighting in Italy becomes apparent after a few turns of this scenario.
One of the strongest selling points of WWIIE is the fantastic design of the game rules, which provide a rich war gaming experience and a strong narrative. You can literally feel the pain of a weak flank, or the exhilaration of a panzer army's breakthrough and exploitation into the enemy's rear. The variety, scope and breadth of the scenarios (included now and available later) poises WWIIE as a solid classic war game and a deep study of World War II's operational warfare. I can only hope that the user interface will catch up with the level of quality of all the other aspects of the game.



Doug Miller said...

Great review JC - I think you've convinced me. Schwerpunkt's UI has always put me off. But the breadth of scenarios in this game and the detail make me lean wore toward picking this up than WitW.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for taking the time to write and keep it active.

Erich said...

For those on the fence, this is an amazing wargame system that can recreate everything from Barbarossa to a hypothetical invasion of Malta. It works well in scenarios both large and small, but it does require some time investment to master the interface.

Chris said...

Thanks for this review JC. So is there an editor to create your own scenarios?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, I've been pretty curious about this game and been waiting for a review such as this one. I have two questions:
1) How long does it take to learn the game?
2) How long (approximately) does it take to play through an avarage scenario?

Anonymous said...

To 1.) Learning -> few Days to understand the System. Few Days more to get the Warmachine running.

to 2.) Small Scenarions few Hours, Medium Scenarios Days, Large Scenarios Weeks. Replay Value is immense and with over 100+ Scenarios in 2015 you don't need a another Game the whole Year. And Xmas you buy War in the West with all 2015 Updates an your are covered for 2016. Regards from Zermany.

Anonymous said...

to Doug: I bought WitW on Day One and buy is this still buggy. A lot of the Beta Bugs are still in the Game... so i wait till Halloween next year before i pick it up. And i will Play the Hell out of WWII Europe. Regards from rainy Zermany

Anonymous said...

How long does a turn take for the smaller scenarios?

Anonymous said...

Looks interesting ... and something I'd really enjoy ... but not a lot of information about it on their web site.

There more screenshots here than on the games page!

Anonymous said...

A Turn is resolved for the AI in a Blink of an Eye (Really!)

Anonymous said...

I mean how long does a turn take for the player? Without many screenshots or videos, it's hard to grasp how much chit movement is involved and the various phases involved in a turn.

Anonymous said...

I need from 10 Minutes to an Hour per Turn in Medium and Small Scenarios. With 5 to 8 Restarts, because i look what the AI is doing with FOV off, and after that i play without restart with FOV on. Best Regards from frozen Zermany

Anonymous said...

Ok - thanks. I'd really like to see this game in action. There's so little info on it.

Inquisition said...

First of all - thank you very much for this review. I am really interested in this game, so if any of those who are playing it could capture a video and upload it to youtube...? ,)

I would very much like to see the game 'in action' a.k.a. moving. Pictures don't always portrait how a game feels. And: are there any sounds? Some nice background music?


Anonymous said...

I've been pretty interested in this game since Sugar Free Gamer has been talking about it for a year or so. I'll definitely be taking a close look at this title.

H Gilmer from Matrix Forums
H Gilmer 3 from Ageod forums

JC said...

Thanks for your comments.
This is a great war game that comes inches short of GOTY because of the map scrolling and other interface annoyances.