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My apologies if this is posted elsewhere, but I ran across a review for the game at Gamespot.

http://gamespot.com/gamespot/stories/reviews/0,10867,2875157,00.html

They gave it a 7.2. If you aren't a GameSpot Complete member, I think the review will only be available for a week to read for free.

I was wondering what those of you that have the game think about the accuracy of the review?

Thanks.

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A rather comical review. Did you notice he was playing with Scorched Earth OFF? No wonder he just rolled up on Russia. Not that hard to do when you don't have to rebuild your captured cities and resourse areas.

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Personally I feel it deserved higher, but 7.2 from gamespot is not bad. Starcraft got 9.1 and many of the absolute best games dont get over that. A 7 from them is like an 8 from most others. I do, however, agree partly about the AI. At higher difficulties the AI is more challenging than Gamespot gives it credit for. But I have noticed that it tends to shy away from amphibious assaults. Everyones entitled to their opinion.

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The part of the review that hit home with me was the lack of Winter effects. It is really too bad that a theater level game covering Barbarossa has no Winter effects, other than turn length. The lack of "flavor" there is something that will be sorely missed, I'm afraid.

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I read the review, and even with my limited exposure to SC I will not say the review was unduly unkind.

As Jollyguy noted, it all comes down to the AI.

I think SC can be a great game, but it will likely play like AH's computerised version of Third Reich if you just play it alone against the AI.

The only thing separating SC from Axis n Allies is the look of the mapboard in some respects. Sure the simulation is a bit more detailed, but after many games of Axis n Allies I concluded it is only a game to play against real people.

I hope they fine tune the "cheat" potential of SC during email games, or it will kill its popularity to a large swath of players.

Me, I will likely play hotseat and just be both sides in most games I play on the computer if the AI is "dumb".

Under those conditions, the game is just a more space friendly easier to clean up simpler to store board game.

Nothing wrong with that smile.gif

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I was surprised to see what appeared to be a British army unit fighting on the Russian front alongside the Germans (screenshot 19).I realise this game is very open ended,but i did not realise such alliances could be formed.Do British units become available to Germany when Britain succumbs, or is this a full blooded alliance ?

Update

Oh,Penny drops...they`re Italian :(

However,can Britain and Germany fight on the same side?

[ July 23, 2002, 08:03 AM: Message edited by: AL the red ]

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But when it comes to the sort of strategic thought necessary to actually play Strategic Command, the AI falls flat. As Germany in 1939, it can't even take France. As the Allies in 1944, it's easily dissuaded from landing at Normandy.
Above quote from the GameSpot review. Was this based on the beta version or the revised Gold version? Nobody expects the AI to be perfect or brilliant, but it should demonstrate a reasonable degree of aggressiveness to win. This was a fatal weakness in the Third Reich AI. Any comments from the playtesters to refute the reviewer's opinion?
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This is actually a pretty good score from Tom Chick, who's a tough reviewer (and definitely a wargamer, although he also plays/reviews lots of genres).

I'm reviewing the game for Computer Games Magazine (because of a shipping problem, I only just got my review copy). I've played one full game ('39) as the Allies, and got whupped by the AI (including France getting taken out more-or-less historically). I made several mistakes early on (it really is a good idea to read the manual), and had some very bad luck with technology research. It did take the AI a very long time to decide to invade England.

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Was this based on the beta version or the revised Gold version?
I believe it was based on Gold version 1.0, and the current Demo is at v1.01 (which includes the minor changes listed).

As Scott has mentioned, sounds like Tom is a tough reviewer and thorough wargamer, and for me that's not a problem, there's always room for improvement. ;)

Hubert

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Silvercloud:

I played Civ II on deity. The compressed game length was a tough one. Yes, that AI was very tough.

I just couldn't get into Civ III though. But I did notice that the AI was better. Too cumbersome overall though. I don't have 12 hours to play a single game.

See Ya

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It did take the AI a very long time to decide to invade England.
I take this as a confirmed sighting that the Axis AI will actually execute a Sealion invasion at some point. That's good news! Now I'm *really* looking forward to finding out what other surprises Hubert has hidden in the game. :cool:
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I have a couple problems with the reviewer of SC at Gamespot. If this person actually plays wargames then I believe his giving the game a rating of 7.2 is not correct. If you read Gamespots idea of a low 7 rated game, then rating SC at this level states it is equal to the average game on the storeshelf? This is a mistatement as SC is not found on the store shelf and SC should stand above most other wargames simply for the reason that Battlefront and Fury stand behind thier product like no other companies I am aware of, and allow the customers to have input into the design , discuss developments with us, supply us with a demo to try, and then charge less for the final products than other comparable products!

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I disagree with Tom Chick's analysis of the blitzkreig, since I rarely have any difficulty, at any setting, of blowing a hole in the thin blue line and occasionally trapping hapless Armies along the north coast. And as we all have seen, in Russia the blitzkreig-tactics can work to great advantage.

Perhaps it will be different in PBEM, but probably not, since the force that can be brought to bear on the French forward line is just a bit too potent.

I do agree about North Afrika -- we are almost forced into a far-side invasion in order to isolate Alexandria, which is ahistorical.

And here is the last part of his last sentence:

"... Strategic Command is an interesting study in what the war would have been like if the enemy generals hadn't known what they were doing."

This is gratuitious, simplistic, and an almost clever remark, which tells me that -- in this instance he is more interested in scoring smack-points, than in being a thoughtful, professional reviewer.

Hubert has been gracious as usual, and you can usually learn more from knowledgable criticism than an indifferent praise, but I would take this one with a grain of salt ;)

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I agree with most of the review, even in its criticism, though I nevertheless would have given a much higher score. (Maybe he did forget to factor in the sheer fun SC provides?)

- I agree with the North Africa issue.

- Contrary to IE, I also agree with the Blitzkrieg issue in France/Benelux (though I concede that I know of no game on that scale which really did succeed in modelling that campaign).

- I agree with the criticism with respect to diplomacy, but in a different way. In fact, Hubert convinced me long ago that it was the right thing not to implement diplomatical points which can be used to pressure countries because the temptation to cheat is too strong ("What? I expended all of my points on Spain and they didn't join? That's not fair! Let's reload and try again!").

BUT there was one more thing to the diplomatic feature in e.g. COS, which is sorely missing now. In COS, countries which were leaning to you by more than 50%, lend part of their resource to your cause without going to war openly on your side. In SC, neutral countries are perfectly neutral. But in reality, there were many "neutrals" supporting one side or the other. E.g. Sweden fully supported the Axis with resources. They even produced parts for the V2. I have to say that the reason for the invasion of Norway was NOT to get hold of the Norwegian resources, but to secure the shipping for the *Swedish* ore (in the seasons where the sea was frozen, they had to ship further West, which endangered the convoys). Vichy was only nominally a neutral. They had secret treaties with the Axis which make that perfectly clear. They only did not openly join the war on the Axis side to not give the Allies an excuse for attacking their colonies away.

Because of the strict neutrality of the neutrals in SC, we get some strange results. E.g. Sweden does not support the Axis with MPPs. Instead the Axis player has to conquer them to get the ore! And, of course, he will then try to do that. Making Sweden militarily strong does not remedy the situation. There should be *benefits* for the Axis which motivate them to leave Sweden alone, not fear of a strong Sweden.

MY SUGGESTION: What I would like to see are some special rules covering the most important "neutral" axis supporters.

E.g. we could have a rule giving Germany half the Sweedish MPPs when Sweden is alive, neutral AND there are no allied ships in the baltic. When allied ships enter the baltic seas, the shipping route is severed, and no MPPs from Sweden go to Germany this turn. If Germany declares war to Sweden, no MPPs go to Germany from Sweden, as long as Sweden is alive. If Sweden surrenders to Germany, the Axis gets all MPPs as usual. (Of course, it goes without saying that if Sweden should be attacked and conquered by Russia, the "convoy" MPPs for Germany have to be lost, too.) Similarily, we could have a 'reparation' rule for Vichy.

Straha

[ July 23, 2002, 02:25 PM: Message edited by: Straha ]

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As originally posted by Straha:

I have to say that the reason for the invasion of Norway was NOT to get hold of the Norwegian resources, but to secure the shipping for the *Swedish* ore

IIRC, the Germans were also greatly interested in Norway's cache of "heavy water" to be used in their fledgling Atomic Energy program. As you say, I will have to look it up to be sure on that, but perhaps someone else has this information at their fingertips?

Excellent analysis on the other points -- you should write reviews for these so-called expert gaming sites. smile.gif

I agree 100% on the Sweden issue -- there has to be a reason NOT to attack them -- I do it in every game that I play and cannot think of a compelling reason not to. ;)

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Currently, the main incentive to not attack Vichy and Sweden are that such an attack can bring both the USSR and US into the war earlier. This is of course difficult to gauge and appreciate the full effects of in the one year demo, but in general delaying other major allied incomes to the war effort can be beneficial to long term Axis plans. Attacking Vichy France and Sweden are still options but have to be weighed against this negative.

The idea of having part of Axis income to come from either Sweden or Vichy France as resource or reparation income is a good one, (and something for me to consider in future versions for sure) but in the end the net effect will be the same as it stands now for this game. What I mean by this is that if I add this type of income to the current Axis coffers, it would certainly throw the balance out a bit and in order for me to adjust this, part of the current Axis income would have to be taken out from elsewhere, i.e. less initial resources or adjustment to plundering amounts, or adjustment to unit costs etc. to maintain the same overall balance.

Hope this helps,

Hubert

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OK, OK, I take back all my lingering doubts about the AI's aggressiveness. Just played a round as the Allies on max settings and pretty much fell back to defend Paris and didn't go on any navy hunting adventures. After France surrendered, Germany proceeded to attack Vichy France, Spain, and then Gibralter and Portugal. I invaded Morocco with my Manchester corps and moved my air from Malta across Algeria to cover Gibralter. Didn't see any action in the Atlantic or North Sea, but the Italians were moving their entire fleet toward Gibralter as the demo ended. It was looking grim. Hubert, keep on doing what you're doing! smile.gif

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Immer - you're thinking of Norsk Hydro "heavy water" plant at Vermork.

It's a really fascinating story about how the British dropped in some commandos to sabotage the plant and how these guys escaped on skis all the way to Sweden while being intensively hunted. A really interesting episode that has not really gotten the attention of historians that maybe it deserves. Hmmmmmmm... have I just inadvertently stumbled out of my writer's/creative block?

Anyhow, I have always thought an Axis benefit for not attacking Vichy in the full game would be the fact that you essentially are protecting the West flank of the med with a "neutral" Morocco and Algeria. If the Allies invade, then they have put a decent amount of resources per turn into your hands and given you a base in Syria to use for mischief-making in the middle east.

To Gamespot: please let me have some of whatever you are smoking; SC's AI is a QUANTUM improvement over any WWII simulation ever made. The AI is a huge PLUS for the game, not a minus. Not to be a gratuitous heinie-kisser, but I am incredibly impressed with what HC/BB have done with this aspect. It is not perfect, but when you consider how difficult something as inherently-complex as WWII grand strategy was for HUMANS (i.e. Hitler, who did just about everything wrong post-5/40), you have to admire what the SC computer can do.

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Originally posted by Bill Macon:

Any comments from the playtesters to refute the reviewer's opinion?

I have to agree with Scott Udell, the AI is one of the features that I find to be a strong point with this game. Whatever "fuzzy logic" means I don't know, but I do know I have lost a great many units that I left unprotected or insufficiently supplied because of it. The AI repeatedly punishes me for my mistakes. :confused:

No AI is perfect, and I'm not saying that this one is, but I have played a LOT of wargames, and this AI is one of the best I have come against. I can't disagree with what Tom Chick says in his Gamespot review, after all it is solely one man's opinion and one can't refute another person's perception, but I was truly surprised to see him being so hard on the AI. I have found that the AI adapts well to counter my strategies, and is quite audacious on attack, (I have been on the wrong end of my fair share of Operation Overlord). Personally I find the AI strong enough to give me a good run for victory, and certainly strong enough to make me come back for more.

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