Revolution Under Siege – PC Game Review
Revolution Under Siege: The Russian Civil War 1917–1923. PC Game. AGEOD. $39.95 Digital Download.
Passed Inspection: Fun and easy to play but hard to master; outstanding graphics and a wide variety of scenarios to include a massive grand campaign. An instant classic.
Failed Basic: Only someone not interested in the period or who dislikes strategic-level wargames could find fault with this game.
Back in the misty days of the Cold War, I attended US Army Basic Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. On the wall in our World War II-era barracks was a large poster of a Soviet Spetnatz commando—and the words “This Is Your Enemy.” For much of my military career, I studied, as did my peers, Soviet history, ideology and military doctrine, for the day when the Big One would happen.
Thankfully, The Day never came. However, much of the interesting and exciting history of the Soviet Union, from Revolution to collapse—with the sole exception of the Great Patriotic War—is often ignored, especially in the game industry. Only a handful of board wargames have ever been created on the Russian Revolution, and to my best knowledge, no computer game has ever addressed the topic.
Luckily for gamers, the folks at AGEOD Studios have finally created a game on the era, Revolution Under Siege: The Russian Civil War, 1917–1923 (RUS). RUS, however, does more than address a forgotten period in modern history; it is a fun, engaging and easy to play (but hard to master) wargame that will satisfy both the casual wargamer as well as the seasoned campaigner.
Using AGEOD’s now-familiar game system made popular by the Birth of America series and AGEOD’s American Civil War, RUS is based on regional and city control (no hexes) and is at the strategic-operation level of command. The graphics and music, much like the previous AGEOD titles, is top-notch and adds greatly to the richness of gameplay. As I’ve noted in other reviews of the company’s products, the visuals remind players of the colors of a table-top wargame and are quite striking, as well as useful.
The game play is fairly straightforward. The primary units are divisions and armies, formed of regiments, batteries and brigades. A wide variety of units are included in the game, from major surface combatants such as battleships and cruisers, to light, heavy and siege artillery, to a gigantic array of cavalry, militia, and infantry units. My personal favorite was seeing the inclusion of armored trains and aircraft, both new to the series. All sides in the Russian Civil War are represented—you can play as the Greens, Reds, or the Whites as you struggle to control everything from Poland to the Far East, and the involvement of Japanese, British, American, Finnish, and a host of other nations’ armed forces adds to the historical accuracy of the game.
I found the game mechanics were easy to understand, especially as I had played previous AGEOD entries. Game turns are 15 days long, broken up by detailed battles. The role of Leaders is crucial; the Leader units (to include Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin) allow the player to organize his forces as he sees fit—you can build new units, form and break apart subordinate divisions and corps, and create your own game-winning strategy.
Revolution Under Siege is another quality product from AGEOD. While some may complain of the "sameness" of the AGEOD game engine, I found it to be very adaptable to the time period and intuitive to learn and use. I highly recommend this fine game to anyone looking for insights into a fascinating period of modern history and for a fun evening of traditional wargaming.
Armchair General rating: 95%
About the Author:
Dr. Robert Mackey, LTC, USA(Ret) is a member of the adjunct faculty of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College and a former assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy. He is the author of The UnCivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861-1865, is a regular contributor to Military History and World War II magazines and blogs on the Huffington Post.