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Official Walkthrough Assault on Communism


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This is a first, very detailed, look into AoC from the Single Player Perspective. I feel this is one of the more interesting SC games ever developed and when I am done I am confident you will agree.

In a way I view this expansion of the series and the next one as a bridge to SC3. I know a lot of thought has gone into what SC3 should look, feel and play like and I have this gut feeling that we are getting closer. Though to be honest, Hubert has been very tight lipped about what is coming next. A lot of time and money goes into a game like Strategic Command… so if you want to see SC3… a great way to help push it along would be by purchasing this expansion. So keep your fingers crossed… if sales are good we could see SC3 sooner rather than later.

As a quick side note: It is a pleasure being on the beta team for SC. SC only has a handful of beta bunnies, really SC alumni (some of the more hardcore SC players) most having played the game from first release many many years past. I think I speak for all the betas when I say we really love this series and are very dedicated to the point where many of us have more than 6 to 10 games (multiplayer and single) going at any one time. You might think I feel it is a pleasure for the sole purpose of getting our hands on titles early… honestly that is the fun part, but what comes next is truly work… perhaps even a second job for many of us.

A second job? Really? Yes.

Working with the development team is the real pleasure and keeps many of us going. Beta testing for SC is not like beta testing other games. Sure we are always on the lookout for bugs to report… but I think our true impact upon the game is more direct, translating into feedback on historical accuracy, units, tactics, strategy, placement, etc… the list goes on and on and on, at times driving the developers a little nuts. (I think we might have pushed BigAl over the edge on this release… though to be fair the cheese might have fallen off his cracker long before we even got hold of him.)

Seriously though, the development team for SC are some of the hardest working people I know and what we betas appreciate is that they take the time to listen to us and actively work to involve us heavily in development and that is the real pleasure we take. You make a suggestion, there is a lot of comment, developers and betas ask questions, make opinions, take positions, debates are sparked, votes are held, arguments (always civil) and wars in text are raged… but in the end something happens and the game is improved in some small but measurable way.

Here is a good example of this process at work… after having fought through several campaigns early in the beta process I came to the conclusion that the Barbarossa Air campaign needed a bit of reworking to bring the game a more historical feel… make it more historically accurate and I made a number of suggestions. One particular started along these lines… “I think we need Medium Bombers… and here is why… blah blah blah…” Guess what? In the end… the development team thought it was a good idea in relation to the scope of the campaign… and poof… medium bombers… well not really poof… I know we all may think Hubert is a magician and can pull a rabbit out of the code but I am afraid adding new units is a bit more involved than a little hocus pocus. I am confident Hubert groaned a bit after reading the virtual Magna Carta articulating my point of view via numerous posts and emails. In the end Hubert sat down and hard coded in medium bombers along with a number of additional new units, which I think you will either hate or love depending upon the side (Axis or Allies)you are on. So in addition to other units like “light armor” we now we have Fighter, Tactical Bomber, Medium Bomber, and Strategic Bomber units!!! Cool isn’t it? The medium bombers change some of the key dynamics and player strategy of the game for the better. It is no longer pick a unit and hammer it to oblivion with 6 or 7 air units. Surprisingly though medium bombers do have a more dramatic impact, but in a more indirect way. I intend to show you how to begin using them to great effect through this walkthrough.

The great bit about working with the SC development team is that I can look back to a number of SC games and see my ‘personal’ direct impact on development as can every other beta! So what I am trying to get at is the handful of beta bunnies that call this game ‘home’ are in some ways just as invested in it as the developers… not only do we love this series deeply but we love being part of the development process and are truly honored to be here. So before we begin this epic walkthrough… I just wanted to say a quick thank you Hubert and the rest of the development team for allowing me the privilege to work on the SC series.

So… let’s get down to business. This game currently comes with 7 campaigns, 6 historical and 1 alternate history. Throughout this walkthrough… please feel free to ask questions. I will do my best to answer.

For this Walkthrough we are going to look at my favorite of the 7 campaigns, “1941 Barbarossa!”

Opening-CampaignSelection.jpg

This campaign is a blast single player and even more fun in multi-player mode. Single player can be a real challenge as the artificial intelligence now has a much improved combat logic which translates into complex coordinated attacks, which I can tell you from experience can be quite devastating and usually always seems to come at the wrong time from the player’s perspective. The artificial intelligence has seen a serious reworking in general for this game… due to scope and size of the combat area. (Great job BigAl!) Multi-player mode is still my favorite and the most challenging… If you have never played an SC Game in PvP mode I would recommend it. As usual with any new release I will be offering a game for anyone who wants to go up against a beta. I am sure many of the betas will offer a similar opportunity.

Lets take a look at the map.

OpeningMap.jpg

As you can see the campaign area is for lack of a better term… huge… colossal might be a better fit. As the German player, when you first look at it… there is an OMG or Great Scott moment where you suddenly realize just how far you have to go for victory. I marked out Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad. It is really a long way!

From the Russian player’s perspective there is a very deceptive feeling that you have a lot of ground to give. Simply put… you don’t. One strategy that does not work is pulling everything back ahead of the German tide. This is not a winning strategy as it limits German casualties and allows unrestricted building on the German’s part. The Russian player needs to inflict casualties on the advancing German player and they need to be significant. More on this later.

The map is beautifully laid out and well designed. Big Al put a lot of time and thought into it… and the Beta Team helped to perfect it. Later in the AAR we will look at the map in more depth. AoC requires you to pay very close attention to both supply and terrain like no other SC game before it. You find yourself actually studying the map more often than not. This is a good thing!

On the German side supply is essentially the key to victory. Ignore it at your peril. Without effective supply your offensive slows, your forces begin taking more casualties and your armored spearheads become more vulnerable to a surprise counter-attack. Losing armor to carelessness early on in the game hurts later and can easily cost you the game. Also ignoring partisan control, essentially allowing enemy partisan units to run rampant throughout your rear areas, can seriously hamper forward operations. The German player needs to focus on maintaining effective supply throughout the game.

On the Russian side… supply is your advantage in relation to defense and counter-attack. You build up entrenched defenses around good supply and counter-punch from good supply when the Germans out-run their effective levels of supply. Meaning… as the Russian player you look for advanced German units below 5 supply and try to hammer them. The map plays a huge role in your planning… as to where to hold and when to give. Choose poorly and or delay too long and you can find large numbers of your forces cut off and isolated. This will happen anyway as the German player moves very fast in the early stages of the game but you can manage this to some degree and limit unnecessary casualties.

As we get deeper into the walkthrough, I will point out how terrain and supply heavily affects my planning as the German player.

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Take a loot at the deployed unit chart, which shows the unit disparity.

ChartUnits.jpg

Pay very close attention to this chart each turn. It easily communicates the state of the game. We will look at this in more detail as we move deeper into the AAR. The Russians begin with 116 units, the Germans… 84. (Keep in mind this is all subject to change as the game is still in development.)

As you can see the Russian player pretty much starts with more of everything, including a large number of units in build… trust me on this the Russian player will need everything just to hang on by the skin of their teeth for the first year of the war and the German player will be chronically short of units and cash. Both players need to pay careful attention to force structure… or you may wonder why deeper into the game 3 or 4 turns after you felt you were doing really well things just started going downhill in a hurry. I will talk later about how to carefully manage your force structure throughout the game. After the first couple months of the war… a good rule of thumb as long as unit disparity is within 30 units on either side there is near combat parity.

Okay… let’s take a look at “some” of the new units:

Over-all there are 9 new unit types included:

- Division

- Mechanized

- Cavalry

- Rocket Artillery

- Coastal Gun

- Armored Train

- Light Tank (Russians have bucket loads of them at the start of the game: Once destroyed they are gone for good)

- Medium Bomber

- Light Carrier (one of my favorite… but I don’t think you will see them in this release… you will have to wait to the second part.)

First Up: Mechanized Infantry

Barb-NewUnits-Mech.jpg

These units are powerful and incredibly valuable and come with 2 attacks just like standard armor. There are very few of them deployed. Guard them like gold. The Germans only get a handful… in fact… as the German player you will always want and need more than you can have of just about everything.

You have to be extremely careful in how you employ these units, because the deeper you get into a given game the more serious the meat grinder becomes and the easier they are to lose. Whenever I see one I try very hard to destroy it without risking too much. To give you an idea on how heavily involved things can get… I am playing a PvP match currently, where it is 1942 in August, and I am in the process of making the final push to capture Moscow before winter. Between the Russian player and myself, 106 ground units were consumed in 4 turns of fighting. That number is more than half of what is deployed at the start of the game for both sides! In that kind of environment you can see how easy it is to have your mechanized units swallowed up. Properly managing your Mechanized infantry along with your armor is critical.

NewUnits-MediumBombers.jpg

The medium bomber is a very powerful unit and at first generally not really appreciated for being such an effective tool. Ground attack is limited, but where this unit shines is in range, a limited strategic attack and the ability to de-entrench and demoralize.

On the German side the majority of the ground strike aircraft you will have will be medium bombers. In past SC games I have seen players rely heavily on tactical aircraft to blast one unit away at a time. It can still be done but it is much more difficult and costly. As the advancing German player you will time and again run into stubborn Russian defensive positions where the defending units have had several turns to dig in… and are fully entrenched and rested. This is where medium bombers shine by helping to soften those fortified positions up allowing your offensive units to blow a hole in the enemy’s defensive line and exploit through. As a counter, a key aspect of the aerial war for the Russian player is building up an effective air defense challenging the Germans for air supremacy. Later in this post I will mark Russian fighters on the map for destruction on the first turn… There is a very good reason for that… as the German player you simply can’t let those fighters escape to build an early aerial defense. Aerial combat is an area where the Russians can easily bleed the Germans over a long period of time. Don’t neglect this aspect of the game!

A neat facet for Medium bombers is the strategic attack ability. On the German side at the start of the campaign, medium bombers with their range can easily be used to reduce key supply/rail centers… cutting supply to Front line Russian forces, limiting the ability move/escape and lowering morale & readiness. I think you can begin seeing how this unit can easily change (strategy wise) how you look the war from a more comprehensive air/ground approach.

On the Russian side Medium bombers can do everything German units can… but by striking enemy held supply/rail centers (towns, villages and cities) can easily slow the enemy’s offensive by lowering supply to forward units. This also has the effect of making these forward enemy units more vulnerable to counter-attack. The slower the Germans advance the more time you have to prepare a stronger defense around key areas.

For both sides the aerial war is costly but critical. It is easy to let attrition mount and keep using the units till combat effectiveness has been compromised. For the Germans this is a real problem… as supply near the front is always poor and rebuilding morale and readiness takes time. It is a hard thing to do… but you must pull your medium bombers out of the line and keep them strengthed up when possible. The game is so long in scope that having one or more medium bombers out of combat for 2 or 3 turns will not decide the game. Properly managing your medium bombers is critical to victory. You will want to pay close attention to them. Upgraded Medium bombers with 2 bars of experience can be devastating.

NewUnits-TacticalBombers.jpg

As you can see Tactical bombers have been reworked. They are fantastic ground attack units and can really pound enemy units. They, however, are extremely short-ranged and that makes them very vulnerable to enemy ground and air-attack. Essentially these units must be right behind the front line to be truly effective. They are extremely valuable and investing in long-range tech is a must for late game. Don’t let the level 1 tank attack fool you… these are great tank-busters, especially when upgraded and experienced. Use them as such, but protect them and over-strength them whenever possible.

We will look at additional units in later posts, however the primary units you will use:

German Side: Division, Corps, Armor, Mechanized

Russian Side: Division, Army, Armor, Mechanized

There are a wide range of other supporting unit types that you will actively use but the above 4 types will comprise the heart and soul of your forces.

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Here is a Birdseye picture of the Northern Part of the Front from the German Perspective.

NorthernPartoftheFront.jpg

I have marked key targets to eliminate on turn 1. Remember the Russian fighters? I have marked them for destruction to keep the Russians from building up an effective air defense too soon. I want my bombers to roam uncontested over the battlefield for as long as possible.

The towns marked are designated for strategic attack by medium bombers to prevent any Red Army forces from escaping too quickly. Think of it as bombing the rail yards.

Notice the large concentration of German armor and infantry in the north. These are experienced armor and infantry. Most German units come with solid experience with many units being upgraded at the start of the campaign. This is a huge advantage against the inexperienced and poorly trained/organized Russian units that are deployed on the map at the start of the game. As the German player you also have to carefully manage experience to maintain the edge it gives you. Should you fail to manage your experience properly… as casualties mount on both sides you will slowly bleed away one of your key advantages. As the German player you need to do everything possible to keep this from happening… even if that means pulling units to rear areas to rest and rebuild. Replacements units typically do not come with experience… which means if the German player loses an experienced armor it hurts much much more as the replacement unit will arrive with no experience. We will look more at the north when I kick off my offensive.

Here is a Birdseye view of the Southern Part of the front from the German Perspective

SouthernPartoftheFront.jpg

Note that Hungry has not yet entered the war on the start of the first turn. To the North Finland has yet to join as well. Though you cannot see it, the Soviet forces in the south are very strong and the Axis forces are fairly weak in comparison. Experience and readiness will make the difference for the Germans… though notice the lack of armor in the south. This is a problem as the resources Germany needs to boost long term production are located in southern Russia. It will require a dynamic strategy which I will address later.

(Also... please note that since this walkthrough began some of the positions of units in the south have been adjusted to reflect better historical accuracy. Since the game is in final development additional movement and modifications may be made prior to release)

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So enough with the introduction… let’s get to the first turn.

(Please note these are my strategies and how I fight this game. Other betas have their own strategies and the reader will likely invent some of their own.)

You occasionally get strategy tips like the one below that pop up… read them carefully. Most are very important.

GermanOjectives.jpg

This one tells the German player the war objectives needed to bring Russia to her knees. Looking at the map… you will notice Baku listed too.

Baku may seem incredibly hard to get at an “early war” (summer of 1941 objective). It’s a long way from the front and due to the size of the map Baku seems even further out of reach but that is not always the case. In a couple games I experimented with an invasion of Turkey during the first summer of the war. In both cases I was able to get to Baku through Turkey before I even got close to Moscow! Attacking in August 41 is really your best opportunity to pull this off because Russia is nearly on her knees and has lost so many units that there are very few left to send to the Turkish front to block a German advance. It is all Russia can do just to slow the Germans down at this point. In fact, Germany should have a serious advantage in units over the Russians at this point, however that should begin to change as the game moves into September and Russian production begins delivering new units.

Warning!!! There is a serious downside with this strategy. First the German player needs to dedicate a sufficiently large force to take Turkey with a quick knockout blow. The Turkish army is large, though spread out. Given time the Turks can deploy enough forces to slow Germany down. I estimate an invasion of Turkey, at the minimum, would require at least 2 armor (huge commitment of your overall armor force), 2 HQ’s, 3 corps, 3 or 4 divisions and at least 4 medium bombers with 1 fighter. The Turks also get a fighter. You may want 2 fighters but honestly you need those fighter assets in Russia proper. Anything less than the force structure described above and I think you risk a rapid conquest of Turkey. It is very easy to get bogged down in Turkey’s mountains, especially if the Russian player can spare a few divisions to ship down there. A failed knockout blow means potential disaster for Germany.

Another concern is that you need so much force to successfully take Turkey in a knockout blow that it drains critical forces from your offensive drive against Russia proper, meaning that when the German player bogs down in winter, he will have taken less Russian territory than normal (less room to fall back).

There is a lot of room to hide a potential offensive on the front and the Germans could find themselves spread too thin setting up a potential catastrophic situation that could negate any gains made in Turkey. The Russians also become very powerful during the first winter of the war and the German forces suffer terribly to winter alone! When the Russians finally launch their winter offensive against weakened German lines, having a large number of forces isolated in Turkey could prove to be a real liability.

There is a lot of income to be grabbed in Southern Russia and Turkey. On the flipside… should Germany capture Baku and the surrounding oil it can really hurt the Russians production wise.

So bottom line… Turkey can prove lucrative but also a costly risk. To invade Turkey or not to invade Turkey? That is the question. :P

Let’s first take a quick look at 3 of the units I am about to employ against my Russian foe before we get into the first actual moves and attacks.

Infantry Division

GermanDivision.jpg

Though this unit appears weak, when compared to a corps and armor, Infantry Divisions are versatile and will become a key component of your combat power. Do not discount them! In fact, I value these units so much that I typically build all of my infantry divisions first before building large numbers of other units. Divisions are inexpensive and deploy quick.

Russia has an incredible production capacity that the Germans struggle to compete with. Remember I said that the German player is chronically short on cash and units. The quicker you get units into the field to match Russian numbers the better. Divisions take 2 months to build… so if you start building them in June you will see the first units begin to arrive in late September.

German Corps

GermanCorps.jpg

The Corps is the heart and soul of your army. They take 3 months to build so if you began building them immediately you would not see the first unit till October, nearly on winter’s doorstep.

You can see the corps is much more expensive than a division and more powerful. Lose too many of them and no matter how many divisions and armor you have on the field of play you are in trouble.

I usually begin producing corps after I finish building all of my divisions. The process begins sometime in August, which means the first new corps begin arriving in late November and December, with the majority being deployed before a spring offensive… just when you need them the most.

German Armor

GermanArmor.jpg

German armor is the key to your offensive firepower and provides serious punch. Most Axis armor starts deployed on turn 1. The German armor deployed is mostly very experienced and powerful. They remain powerful as long as they are in good supply. Supply will always be a concern when operating armor. Good supply keeps down casualties… poor supply increases casualties. You need to work to minimize the amount of damage your armor takes. It is very easy to lose focus and keep you armor fighting till they become vulnerable and or very understrength… meaning at best you have bled all the unit’s valuable experience away. Note: It is nearly impossible to keep your armor units in perfect condition. The player needs to find a healthy balance.

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Germany begins with $400 income. Germany begins with 550 already invested in tech out of a total of 900, meaning you can invest 350 additional.

You can only invest 1 chit in a given tech at a time. It is a bit of an adjustment from previous games where you could invest 3 chits in one tech and speed things up a bit. Game mechanics/balance-wise it helps to control excessive focus on one tech and puts the player’s attention squarely on tactical unit strategy, which is where it should be. Instead of blowing all of my starting income on tech, I will steadily invest in new tech over the next 3 turns. This way I can begin purchasing units, which will begin to arrive come fall.

Gaining one secondary tech, like long-range aircraft is not going to immediately decide the game in your favor so spreading out the new technology investment over 3 or 4 turns at the beginning of the game will not be catastrophic. Even if you strike gold and gain an early critical tech advance it is usually not a shattering event to the enemy. This is simply due to the scale of operations in the game and the multitude of other factors like supply, etc.

Concerning the investments already made for you… I would strongly recommend keeping those chits invested. When advancement in one of these areas occur (infantry, armor, aerial warfare and anti-tank) the player should immediately reinvest in that very same tech. Those technologies are critical to any hope for a victory. Secondary tech investment, at least in my mind, should be long-range aircraft, ground attack, and industry or production.

My first purchase will be in Intelligence. Not only does intelligence reveal units hidden from view but each new level of Intelligence research increases your own research bonus by 1% and decreases your opponent's bonus by 1%. Always… always keep 1 chit invested in intelligence till you max it out. Long-term this one investment could prove to be a real deciding factor in the game, especially if your opponent ignores intelligence tech altogether.

It is time to make my first moves. Due to the grand scope of operations this is the type of game where you may want to consider thinking before moving... like chess. Plan out what you intend to do several turns in advance and then work to make it happen. Do not be afraid to review the front for a few minutes before making your first move.

First Moves:

StategicAttacks-1.jpg

My first air attacks were on Vilna and Baranavichy to reduce the rail and supply heads. Essentially I want to isolate enemy units and reduce their effectiveness so that I can mop them up in subsequent turns lower levels of casualties. I also want to keep large groups of enemy units from retreating. Unfortunately, my attacks on Vilna this turn were not as successful as I had hoped in that I did little to no damage.

Barb-ClearingtheWay.jpg

I need to push some these units on the front back or destroy them so that I can get at the aircraft behind. My primary objective on turn 1 is to destroy as much of the Red Air force as possible. If successful this will guarantee German air superiority for months to come and reduce casualties significantly.

Barb-HammeringFightersFirst.jpg

You can see air attacks have weakened this fighter.

Barb-Retreat.jpg

One of the new features to the game is the retreat function… units can retreat one or two spaces. This is an example of an army retreating 2 spaces. I marked his point of origin. This function really adds to the game-play and fun. Units in other SC games that would not normally survive a retreat and the subsequent attack by another unit… now have the potential to survive and fight another day. As such, along an established front, units can retreat behind friendly units to safety. It is a very cool feature… and to be honest at first I disliked it. I found it annoying and argued against it… late game when things really heat up I discovered I loved it for the randomness and that it allowed my armor to survive time and time again when normally they would have been wiped out.

Barb-AttackingairBase.jpg

Fighters are very good at hammering enemy air units on the ground. My fighter finished off this medium bomber.

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Barb-LightTank.jpg

You may wonder why the enemy tanks are not my priority. The Red Armor units are in reality “light tanks.” The Russians start with bucket loads of them. They are extremely poor quality and once destroyed cannot be repurchased. If you try to save these units it may prove to not be worth it as they can’t be upgraded. They can cause damage… so it makes sense to use them while you have them.

Bard-HvyTank.jpg

This is a regular Red Armor… notice it is not available till Jan 1st, 1942!!! It is also tougher and much more powerful and useful than the light tank. You can upgrade it! Not having access to heavy armor till January will cause the Russian player a lot of concern as the German advance moves closer and closer to Moscow. It calls for a very creative defensive strategy to slow the Germans down. Oh fyi… my favorite side to play is Russia for this very reason.

Barb-CuttingoffRetreat-1.jpg

This is the first real moves in the center with an attempt to begin to encircle and trap the units around Brest. Air attacks revealed this enemy fighter. He will not survive as his airfield is quickly over-run.

Barb-BrestAlmostEncircled.jpg

Here is Brest nearly encircled. I was able to destroy 2 more enemy fighters and a medium bomber in the process. Notice the casualties on my one armor. Yes… though the Russian units were caught by surprise and are not dug in the Germans have been taking casualties. Nearly trapped, the enemy units should not be able to escape next turn. At this moment, the two most important units encircled are the para and the army. (I had a Russian player really surprise me once with his paratroops… later in the game… don’t want that to happen again)The enemy HQ is of low quality. I am not really concerned about him as the Russians have plenty more. I expect to get him too next turn.

I would rather nail enemy aircraft, armies, paras and light tanks. In that order. Enemy divisions are way down on the priority list at the moment, so are HQ’s.

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Barb-NorthernOpening.jpg

In the North I exploded forward breaking through the enemy lines and doing a lot of damage. Units not on the rail lines are essentially trapped unless they are able to pull back. Even then those units are still at risk from the Germans advance. Notice some of my units are now damaged. Be warned, the first turn is not a cakewalk. You can easily take between 700 and 1,000 income worth of casualties.

Barb-SouthOpening.jpg

In the south, my options are not as strong as in the north. Axis forces in the south are without armor. The Hungarians are not even in the fight yet. My main body, in this picture, will move up to the town in preparation for a prepared assault next turn, when I can get bonuses for attack. Had I attacked this turn I would have taken significant casualties. I want to avoid all unnecessary casualties at all costs.

Barb-SouthSurrounding.jpg

Further south, my units are focused on surrounding this division and reducing the enemy HQ. The more units you can isolate from good supply the less casualties you will take the following turn. I keep harping on it… because Germany is always short on cash. You need to maximize your resources.

Barb-SouthUpgradingAirForce.jpg

There is an Axis air force in the south that includes 1 German Medium Bomber, 1 German Fighter, 1 Romanian Fighter and 1 understrength Italian Fighter. The German units here are not over-strengthened. Rather than risk them taking any damage and affecting their experience, I took this turn to over strength both. I upgraded the Romanian fighter to level 1 and moved the Italian Fighter up. These units will become the nucleus of a powerful offensive package when I manage to get some armor down to the south. Till then I am going to carefully manage their experience and work to limit losses while slowly advancing. The time for a fast advance in the south will come soon enough.

Barb-South-Italians.jpg

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Several German units start the game with no upgrades. I upgraded just their infantry value at the end of the turn. I cannot afford to upgrade their motorization and likely will not. In this game, you discover though you may have tech, it is not always necessary to upgrade all of your units to their fullest capacity. Remember, the Germans are chronically short on cash. You need to maximize your spending power and I would rather put my resources it into new units. The cost to upgrade a corps motorization and anti-air is more than half the cost of a new infantry division! Anti-air is now nearly useless because I have destroyed much of the red air force. Motorization is nice to have, but not necessary early on as I am going to quickly out-run my supply lines anyway. I will only end up upgrading a few select units, including mech and armor with motorization and that will occur later in the game.

Barb-Upgrading.jpg

I purchased 2 German divisions each with 1 upgrade into infantry warfare and I also bought 1 garrison, which I will need shortly for anti-partisan duty. Notice the number of German fighters to be built. I will begin working on this slowly but will have all in build before October. They will be needed to combat a growing and more powerful red air force. The Germans have a lot to build and little to build it with. When you start taking significant casualties later in 42… it will be even more difficult to purchase additional units… so get what you can get bought now!

GermanForcePool.jpg

Barb-Losses.jpg

I destroyed a total of 20 Russian units this turn. I could have destroyed at least 30, but that would have meant the majority of the Red Air force would have escaped. As you can see, I nailed 7 fighters and 3 medium bombers, which is the majority of the Russian air force. The Russians have around 7 or 8 air units left with 1 being a strategic bomber. This effectively means the Germans have near air superiority over the front. I only nailed 4 light tanks this turn but the real important number is the 5 armies. The more armies I shatter and destroy over the coming 10 turns or so will make it more difficult for the Russians to form an effective defense. The Russian armies, like the German corps, form the heart of the Russian forces. They will be my primary objectives followed by light armor going forward.

Barb-EndingFirstTurnMap.jpg

This was the final picture of the strategic map at the end of the turn. As you can see, I have a number Russian units surrounded and effectively isolated. The reduction of the majority of these units will occur next turn. By the third turn there is a good chance I will be able to break out into the open and begin eating up ground.

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Turn 2

Here is the strategic map at the start of my second turn.

StrategicMapT2.jpg

Notice that Hungary and Finland have joined. If you look closely at the map you can see there are a number of soviet units that are trapped behind German lines.

UnitDisparityT2.jpg

The Russians began first turn with 116 units. I destroyed 20 which brought them down to 96 and this turn as you can see the red army was reinforced. The Soviets are back up to 112 units. Axis numbers climbed also with the war entry of Finland and Hungary. These additional units will come in handy. With the entry of Finland Russia now needs to worry about another front.

SouthernFront.jpg

Here is the Southern Front at the start of the turn. As a player I have never ever been happy with the Axis force structure in the South. There will be some movement but the simply reality is that it will be slow going for a few turns until I can get some armor and additional German forces into the region. The soviets start with too many troops in the south for the Axis player to accomplish much early on. Notice how aggressive Russian forces crossed into Romania this turn!!!

CenterSouthT2.jpg

This is my position in the Center/South. As you can see I have very powerful units. They are all in excellent supply. I simply need to clean up a bit before pushing forward. I will shortly send a few units down towards the Romanian front.

CenterSouthT2B-1.jpg

I pretty much swept everything aside as my offensive push continued. I was also able to secure the key rail junction for the region. Notice that some of my units are understrength… the result of combat damage. Next turn I will begin pulling some of the more damaged units out of the line to bring them back to full strength. I need to maintain their experience levels if at all possible. It is the one edge I cannot afford to lose. I conducted a number of successful airstrikes with no enemy intercepts. I took advantage of no enemry air cover by adding a strength point to both fighters.

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CenterT2.jpg

This is my position in the center. I have a number of isolated soviet units to mop up this turn. I have already begun the process of isolating more, deeper into soviet territory.

CenterT2B.jpg

I had good success, though two of my armor took moderate damage. There was significant fighting around Brest-Litvosk… as you can see evidenced by the damaged armor. The paratroop did not go down easily. Paras are tough units, especially when experienced. Just out of vision I am confident the first new defensive lines are beginning to take shape. I expect to begin running into them in the next 2 to 3 turns.

NorthT2.jpg

In the Northern part of the front, my intent is to get in behind the HQ and cluster of troops around Mazeikai. I also want to isolate the forces near Kaunas so that in the following turns I can begin my push north to Leningrad. The encirclement, isolation and reduction of the Kaunas pocket should take an additional turn to complete.

NorthT2B.jpg

In the end I was able to get around and behind a number of units. I decided not to occupy Kaunas, but instead elected to see if I could catch that HQ next turn in the bag I am working to close. I know a number of people are probably thinking… are you crazy?!? That’s income. You should take it immediately!

This game is a bit different than other SC releases. Yes, taking Kaunas will make me extra income, however in my mind, the focus should really be on destroying the red army and economic conquest second. Let me put it this way, the more enemy units I destroy now and in the next few turns, the better position I will be in come winter, when Russia is finally gearing up for a December/January offensive. So my focus for the summer and fall will be to see how close I can come to completely breaking the Russian army and taking as much territory as possible. With focus on the destruction of the soviet army should come economic spoils. More on this later.

NorthT2C.jpg

Moving far north to Finland, the Finns are in a difficult position. The soviets can concentrate a lot of firepower on the Finns. I have been forced to rescue the Finns more than once by shipping off Germans forces. This is time consuming and costly. So the player really wants to manage his Finnish forces carefully.

The Finns start with no upgraded units. What you can’t see is that they come with experience!!! To make them truly effective, I will have to spend some money on the Finns. This process will start next turn.

Just a note: North where my Finnish fighter is currently located, the terrain is virtually impassable so you don’t have to worry about much going on from that direction. Almost all of the fighting will occur on that narrow strip of land where the Finns and Soviets are faced off.

The key to Russian attack and defense against the Finns is the town of Viipuri. If the Finns capture it, the soviets are hobbled for supply. The nearest major supply source is Leningrad. It is common for Viipuri to change hands several times before the matter is decided. If that does happen, it usually means the Finns are in trouble. The player really wants to simply hold out long enough for German forces to approach Leningrad and then "really" go on the offensive with the Finns.

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NorthT2D.jpg

The Finns were able to force back that Russian Light armor and now hold a good defensive position behind a river. The Soviet counter attack will likely hurt, but I hope to hold long enough to get a few reserves upgraded and ready to take the frontline.

StrategicMapT2B.jpg

These are the final positions at turn end. I have begun to make good progress in the North and Center. I hope to push hard in the coming turns and begin gobbling up territory more rapidly. I want to be on Leningrad’s doorstep by the beginning of September. I expect that I should begin making real progress in the south 2 or 3 turns from now. As I said it takes time to get rolling down there.

DetailedLossesChart.jpg

I destroyed 16 more units this turn. I could probably have gotten another 4 or 5 more, but again I am attempting to limit losses by taking down isolated, low supply and demoralized units.

The key figure to look at is the number of armies that fell. On the first turn I had destroyed 5. 10 more fell this turn, along with 3 light armor and the para. I also managed to finish off a couple of divisions.

DisparityChartT2B.jpg

So here are the final numbers at the end of the turn. Notice how the Axis and Soviets now have an equal number of units deployed. This is not combat parity! Do not confuse the number of units deployed with combat parity. The Germans have better experienced units, organization, morale and a slight edge in tech at the moment. More on this later.

Build wise I was only able to purchase 1 infantry division. I upgraded a couple of units and also invested in tech as previously shown.

I invested in Industry this turn... Germany needs cash.

TechT2.jpg

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SeaMonkey... that sounds like a great idea. I have several turns already completed and ready for posting... in addition I am off on vacation for 2 weeks... (will keep posting) but I will do a post on supply in the next 2 weeks for you.

Kuniworth... I am unfamiliar with your w&w eastern front scenario... so I can not speak on that... as to Riga falling immediately it usually takes the Germans till turn 4, 5 or 6 to take Riga. The soviets typically form a defense around the city. Against a player Riga is usually more difficult to take... the ground around the city lends itself to a good defense. If I recall correctly, in turn 3 I managed to battle my way right up to the city. I will spend some time on the fall of Riga when it happens in the walkthrough. Game wise... due to the size and scope of the battlefield it is very difficult/maybe impossible for the German player to take Riga before turn 4.

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abukede: how many days is a turn? to simulate barbarossa properly wehrmacht should be able to capture Riga immediately and then armygroup north should advance on Leningrad, reacing Tallin at end of august and Leiningrad itself in mid september.

On the center Smolensk should be able to fall in mid july, in the south Kiev should be rip for the taking in mid september.

Those are key for the timetable to fold out correctly.

How about HQ-ratings, are they historical and are they representing army/front commanders or perhaps even corps commanders?

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Nice to see the introduction of light tanks to simulate the soviet mech corps. That was always my problem. Soviet should have nearly 30 of them at the beginning of Barbarossa.

How many tank armies have you set for the soviet player to be abl4e to produce. The tank armies should appear in mid 1942 at the earlist and be a total of 5 or 6. Are tank armies the unit size soviet armour represent or is it something else?

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Hm seems like you copied alot from my w&w eastern front scenario.

Still how are you gonna solve the Riga-problem eg possible to be captured immediately?

How do you avoid Pskov as a bottleneck to be able to reproduce the fast german advance?

- What ratings do HQ:s have?

Copy of W&W - No it is not a copy. I never even looked at Barb 41 from W&W. Both games are completely different in strategy and scale and only share the time of the campaign. AoC is 10 miles per hex with different kind of units. Even the scales are different (Germans- Corps, Soviets- Armies). Germans will always have the tech advantage unless they are foolish.

Riga & Pskov - The A.I. was written after playing 20 games PvP myself vs 2 of the best wargamers I know. So what we did is analyze good strategies for the A.I. to follow and implement them. Strategies that allow it to win. It still has its own internal A.I. that will never be as good as a human. But I tried to apply strategic decisions to make it a better opponent. There are several avenues of approach to Leningrad.

HQs - Germans always have better HQs. I had to adjust some things for balance.

how many days is a turn? to simulate barbarossa properly wehrmacht should be able to capture Riga immediately and then armygroup north should advance on Leningrad, reacing Tallin at end of august and Leiningrad itself in mid september.

On the center Smolensk should be able to fall in mid july, in the south Kiev should be rip for the taking in mid september.

Those are key for the timetable to fold out correctly.

How about HQ-ratings, are they historical and are they representing army/front commanders or perhaps even corps commanders?

Turns - 3 days per side

Simulation - AoC is based on history but it is not a historical simulation. With hindsight, its very difficult to represent the exactly what happened for both sides. AoC is a wargame that is very detailed in strategy and counter strategy for both sides. Unit and tech decisions seriously impact the overall strategy. The beta testers and myself learned something every game we played, and some of them were veteran SC players. In general the Axis should get to historical front lines by the winter considering equally skilled players.

Commanders - Are a balance of historical accuracy and game balance.

Nice to see the introduction of light tanks to simulate the soviet mech corps. That was always my problem. Soviet should have nearly 30 of them at the beginning of Barbarossa.

How many tank armies have you set for the soviet player to be abl4e to produce. The tank armies should appear in mid 1942 at the earlist and be a total of 5 or 6. Are tank armies the unit size soviet armour represent or is it something else?

The light tank are meant to represent the crappy tank units at the start of the war that were blended in to the infantry and in 1942 rebuilt. There are 23 on the map. As for normal tanks and mech they have more than the Germans that can be build in 1942. They also have more planes. But it takes time to build up the whole force.

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Ah... I see BigAl got in a reply. :P Kuniworth... I think that when you get your hands on this game you will find it is very different than previous SC releases and mods. It is a very cool game dripping with strategy and plenty of opportunity. I think you will find it a challenge and a lot of fun, especially against a player. :)

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If this rendition of an "Al" campaign is an improvement on his previous releases, the AI is going to be a very capable opponent.

My first inclination was to skip this first expansion, opting for AoD, but after examining the map and hearing Al and Abukede's comments, I'm hooked. I should have known I couldn't resist. Al has brought me full circle back to playing the AI.

Kudos Al!:)

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If this rendition of an "Al" campaign is an improvement on his previous releases, the AI is going to be a very capable opponent.

My first inclination was to skip this first expansion, opting for AoD, but after examining the map and hearing Al and Abukede's comments, I'm hooked. I should have known I couldn't resist. Al has brought me full circle back to playing the AI.

Kudos Al!:)

Well its a BIG map and very difficult to write an effective A.I. for. A human player should always be able to beat an A.I. opponent. But yes I took some components of how I wrote BF's Eastern Front routines and turbo charged them for this game.

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This all looks very exciting - I have been playing around with Division sized units on the previous standard map for SC GC and it does work but is rather crowded so this could be an ideal scale from my perspective. I used the special forces slot and I guess this is what you have done.

I am interested to see that despite the larger map you have not included the Arctic so you do not have the campaign that really happened when the Germans tried to take Murmansk operating out of Norway and Finland. RAF fighters actually participated with RAF crews in the initial defense of Murmansk but from the map I am assuming you will not do that.

Are you including Lend Lease in this campaign or at least its impact in terms of extra Russian air and tank units? To be really accurate these ought to be limited geographically to where they appear thus initially in the North to help the battles for Leningrad, then in the South via Persia to help in Stalingrad and of course a lot via Vladivostok that has to be shipped great distances to get to the front line.

In my attempts at scenarios using current Strategic Command Global Conquest Gold I have experimented with the idea of specific factory locations such as the actual tank plants at Stalingrad and Gorki. If these are held by the Russians they get extra tank units appearing in those locations, if they are taken by the Axis they then have the potential to generate extra units. I presume that the Event facilities in this new variant of SC are similar so a modder would be able to do that still.

Anyway - very exciting.

Mike

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articfox.jpg

First real (very cool) decision event. This is a critical one… and I think it is one of those… “always… always” say yes! If the Soviet player says “no” to a similar one and does not reinforce Archangel there is a real chance of cutting off a good chunk of Soviet economic aid. In addition should things go poorly in Finland there is another decision event that allows the Axis to pull those forces operating in Finland and Norway to reinforce Finland proper. So my recommendation is to say “Yes”

T3SouthRussia.jpg

Here is a look at the starting positions in the south for this turn. Notice the beginnings of a defensive line forming around Odessa. Can you say improved artificial intelligence? The soviets are beginning to get organized and I expect this defensive line to steadily improve in strength over the next few turns. I marked a few enemy units to show you what my objectives were this turn. That para simply “has” to go!

The Russians start with a number of paratroop units. Most players (betas at this point) never use them in the air drop roll. I’ve used them to great effect and had them used against me to devastating effect as well. If you concentrate them and save them for later they can be used in conjunction with a major offensive… i.e. dropping them behind enemy lines to cut off supply to forward units and make retreat more difficult.

T3SouthRussiaB.jpg

This was how operations ended in the south. My units are not very powerful with supply already being an issue. It will be another couple turns before I can get some power down there and captured towns start producing better supply. The corps located near Ungheni next turn will sever the rail link isolating a number of Russian units to the north. The only way to potentially escape will be by foot. Operational retreat will be severed.

T3SouthCentralA.jpg

Here is how the strategic position looked at the start of the turn for the Center/South Front. My goal this turn will be to move forward, mop up and begin to break off a force to help out the troops struggling in the far south. I will also move up my air force to better conduct operations and keep them close to HQ and solid supply. As my units begin to push the forward positions will allow them to reach deeper into Russia.

T3SouthCentralB.jpg

Take a look at the final positions… you can see the powerful force around Buchach, which will be tasked with heading south as a powerful hammer/reinforcement for the Romanian front. The other grouping will be pushing eastward. Notice how my tactical bomber is positioned up close… his range is limited… but he should be able to hammer the armor next turn should they stick around.

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T3CentralA-1.jpg

Here is the strategic position on the central front. My objective this turn is to move forward a bit, occupy Vilna and clean up a number of soviet units. Supply is starting to become an issue for forward units.

T3CentralC-1.jpg

You can see some of the action as it unfolded. I took a turn to reinforce 1 armor that had been damaged.

T3NorthA-1.jpg

Here is the strategic position in the north. Note the date. We are only on July 4th! There is still a lot of time left in the summer.

I occupied Vilna and advanced beyond the city. Further north I pushed forward and engaged the enemy where I could, mopping up as I went.

A number of my units have already pushed to the edge of effective supply, meaning I was forced to pull several back slightly so I can repair them on the next turn. Fresh units pushed forward almost in a leapfrog effect.

FarNorthFinland-1.jpg

I did very little with Finland this turn, other than upgrade some of my units. Next turn these upgraded infantry corps will move into forward positions and begin offensive operations. I also upgraded the fighter. The soviets have moved fighters and tactical aircraft to the Finnish front. The beginnings of the aerial war over Finland have begun. I may need to deploy a Luftwaffe fighter, with an HQ, to Finland to shore up her air defense network.

T3UnitDisparity.jpg

Note the soviets are now down to 92 units giving the Germans their first lead in the war. The soviets have now lost 47 units!!! This is only the beginning of the game and 3rd turn for the Axis. The wastage of soviet units early in the game is intense. For the soviet play the beginning of the war is a struggle just to hold things together, especially as the Germans approach Leningrad. Until significant reinforcements begin flowing the Russian player is in a precarious position. Play poorly and loose too many units early on in the fighting and that precarious position could rapidly become one of desperation.

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T3DetailedLosses.jpg

Detailed losses for your review.

LossesandIncomeChart-1.jpg

This is a very important chart. Check it each turn and study it carefully. The chart shows you losses, income and money spent. (I use it to gage the health of the enemy)

Notice the huge bump in income for the Soviets. This is more than double what Germany is making!!! The soviets get a Great Patriotic War income boost which lasts for around 15 turns. Soviet units are cheap and with this level of income the other side is not only replacing losses but building additional units as well. This means that I can expect large numbers of ‘new’ enemy formations to begin arriving around September. It is critical for me to try to break the Soviet army as rapidly as possible before those units begin arriving and gobble up as much ground as possible. I will show you later where I want to be prior to winter hitting.

T3TechInvestment.jpg

I invested the last of my available chits in long range aircraft. Long-range aircraft technology gives your aircraft range but what I really am looking for is the better spotting range that comes with the advance. Later in the war I will place my aircraft, specifically fighters, far forward and utilize their enhanced vision for passive recon. This will allow me to spot large enemy concentrations that are in the early stages for offensive preparation. Spotting these concentrations is critical to success. The front is sooo very large that it is very easy to conceal offensive preparations and then spring a trap on the enemy. In PvP mode such surprise offensives occur more often and can be very devastating.

T3TheFront.jpg

Here is a better picture of the front at the conclusion of the turn. Later I will post several of the strategic maps back to back detailing the progression of the German advance so that you can see how the front has changed/shifted since kickoff.

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This all looks very exciting - I have been playing around with Division sized units on the previous standard map for SC GC and it does work but is rather crowded so this could be an ideal scale from my perspective. I used the special forces slot and I guess this is what you have done.

I am interested to see that despite the larger map you have not included the Arctic so you do not have the campaign that really happened when the Germans tried to take Murmansk operating out of Norway and Finland. RAF fighters actually participated with RAF crews in the initial defense of Murmansk but from the map I am assuming you will not do that.

Are you including Lend Lease in this campaign or at least its impact in terms of extra Russian air and tank units? To be really accurate these ought to be limited geographically to where they appear thus initially in the North to help the battles for Leningrad, then in the South via Persia to help in Stalingrad and of course a lot via Vladivostok that has to be shipped great distances to get to the front line.

In my attempts at scenarios using current Strategic Command Global Conquest Gold I have experimented with the idea of specific factory locations such as the actual tank plants at Stalingrad and Gorki. If these are held by the Russians they get extra tank units appearing in those locations, if they are taken by the Axis they then have the potential to generate extra units. I presume that the Event facilities in this new variant of SC are similar so a modder would be able to do that still.

Anyway - very exciting.

Mike

The arctic battles have always been difficult to simulate on any scale with proper supply and relative unit size. Also a fair portion of the map would be used just to simulate this mostly ineffective theatre. Neither side really did anything in those areas. It was too cold, had difficult terrain, and the only real major effect was taking a port that was only used in the winter. And at that the Artic convoys were or no real importance. If you examine where the real lend lease came from it was Vladivostok. By far most of their strategic arms imports came right under the Jap noses of American transports flying Russian flags and the Axis never knew.

So I made a very simple decision event for the theatre with a chance of success. As you probably know I do not like making decision events that are absolute. I like making events that mean something and count for something where your choice actuall has benefits and consequences for taking or not taking it.

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