Strategic Command 2, Weapons and Warfare Expansion
Passed Inspection: New units and supply rules make a great game even better. AI is pretty good
Failed Basic: New global scenario not available in expansion
Fans of Battlefront and Fury’s Strategic Command 2 game have good reason to celebrate the holidays early. SC2′s first expansion pack, Weapons and Warfare was released in late October. The expansion features new unit types, road and rail movement rules, and several new scenarios. Overall, the new additions round out the game system nicely, making a great game even better. Players who do not have SC2 can purchase a bundle pack, with the base game and WaW, for a discounted price.
For those not familiar with SC2, the game is an easy to learn, turn-based game of grand strategic and operational combat, primarily in the European Theater of WWII. In addition to air, land and naval units, the game offers a full suite of features to simulate production, strategic warfare, and diplomacy. The board is grid based, and scale is set by the scenario. A new global war scenario does portray Japan, but this is the only time the Land of the Rising Sun makes its appearance. Strangely, this scenario is not available in the expansion. Overall, game play in SC2 is fast, and the game leans more towards playability than historical accuracy.
The first thing players will notice about Weapons and Warfare, is that the map is now a rich environment for waging war. The addition of hills, desert, oasis, and bocage tiles, add more options for defensive use of terrain, as well a being more pleasant on the eye. The map now also features roads and rail lines for more realistic supply and strategic movement rules. The fate of entire campaigns can now be decided by control of these key routes.
New weather rules also make the game much less predictable. Weather is zone based, and it is possible to have rain in one section, and snow in another. Both units and strategy are affected by what the sky is doing. Naval units can be damaged in rough seas, land units move more slowly during storms, and air units are grounded during periods of rain, snow and sandstorms. So if your opponent relies too much on air power, prolonged periods of bad weather are your opportunity to turn the tide.
With Weapons and Warfare, the player can now deploy artillery, anti-tank, anti-air , destroyer, commando and tactical bomber units. Tac air and destroyers are a welcome addition to any scenario. However, since the game engine does not allow stacking, in grand strategy games some of the other units seem a little out of place. After all having an anti-tank unit take up a square that represents fifty miles of front, just never feels right. But in more operational scenarios, like the invasion of Poland or Russia, these units provide much needed flavor and capability.
The AI in WaW has been tweaked as well. When pumped up to full power the computer player is a challenge. The AI aggressively uses its navy to sweep the oceans. On land, the computer takes every opportunity to outflank, take out soft rear units, and cut supply lines. As the Germans in the grand campaign, the computer pushes hard in France and Russia, and the human player will be holding on to Moscow by their fingernails. But the AI is not super human; it loses focus at times, and does not pick up some of the more subtle strategies. Still, in the land of automated computer opponents, this AI is one of the best.
With the addition of new terrain and roads, WaW brings some very welcome map changes to SC2s basic scenarios. The Wacht am Rhein, and Market-Garden games now make much more sense with the new maps and unit types. Besides the reworked base scenarios, WaW also offers some new games that are very welcome. The Spanish Civil War scenario alone is well worth the price of admission. In this game, the player is thrown into a desperate struggle to consolidate his territory so that he can move on to to cripple the enemy’s ability to fight. Other scenarios like Operation Uranus, and the Invasion of Poland showcase the game engine’s ability to scale from grand strategy to a more operational level.
As with the base game, Weapons and Warfare has a very thorough game and map editor that allows the player to open up almost the entire game engine. These tools are easily some of the most complete and user friendly in the world of strategy games.
Overall, Weapons and Warfare is a must have for any fan of Strategic Command 2. After a few hours of playing, the new features and aggressive AI, feel like they have always been there. For new players thinking about purchasing SC2, the bundle package is the only way to go. The expansion pack makes SC2, already a good choice, much stronger in the crowded field of WW2 grand strategy games.