The contents of the box. The game comes with 12 scenarios but I am reliably informed that there is the facility for generating your own and with plenty of terrain options and troop types to choose from the potential replay value is huge. The base game covers German, American and Russian forces with others being available in the expansions out standalone games - Mediterranean and the Pacific. I am very excited about this and am looking forward to when my copy arrives (mercifully with the counters punched out!)
I have been a fan of low level tactical boardgames for many years although to be completely honest have only played a few. Memoir ‘44 and the various expansions most recently although I have also dabbled with Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal (good, but rather limited in scope), Heroes of Normandie (again good, but something about just did not feel right) and even a quickly aborted attempt at the rabbit hole that is Advanced Squad Leader. Back in the day I really enjoyed Squad Leader before it morphed into the advanced version although even then I felt that it had reached its complexity peak with the release of Cross of Iron - the first expansion that covered the Russian Front. The two following expansions, Crescendo of Doom and G.I. Anvil of Victory were obviously useful for the additional nations but made the system increasingly complex and unwieldy. I can remember also having lots of fun with the classic PanzerBlitz and PanzerLeader by Avalon Hill and not to be left the SPI game Panzer ‘44 was gamed pretty extensively.
Of the current crop of tactical WW2 games around the one that has really caught my eye is the Combat Commander series. The entry point is the game you see above which I have been fortunate enough to snag a copy of.
I have been following with interest Paul Liddle’s excellent blog Pauls Other Wargames in which he has played through a number games of Combat Commander (including the Resistance expansion which I would love to get!) and this has been both helpful and inspirational. Many thanks Paul for helping me with my decision - having said that my wallet may not be of the same opinion!
As a rule I am usually wary of card driven game mechanics - only because I am of the opinion that these need to be rather more detailed than some of the early Command and Colours types. For most of the Richard Borg’s games these days the use of two decks seems to be the way forward - Ancients, Napoleonics, AWI, the ‘45 and Samurai Battles, not to mention the various expansions for Memoir ‘44 - as these enable a ‘closer’ degree of involvement. I have to say that I much prefer this additional layer of complexity as it gives one the impression of a greater degree of control even if the cards still are not alighting as one would like!
Hand management in Combat Commander is key and each nationality has their own deck which builds in a degree of national flavour/doctrine. Note that I deliberately refrained from using the word characteristics….
I have never had a problem playing a card based system solo and indeed, Paul has done this very successfully during the games on his blog. The table footprint appears quite compact so will suit the man cave well. Paul uses a sheet of Perspex to keep the maps flat which is something I may well do although having the maps laminated (which I have done before) may be an option albeit perhaps not as convenient for storage etc.
My decision to acquire this game was basically driven by wanting to have a low level tactical game with sufficient ‘meat’ in terms of complexity that sat between Memoir ‘44 at the lower end and Advanced Squad Leader at the top. Only time and playing the game will tell if my decision was the right one.
Once again many thanks to Paul for his excellent battle reports and help.