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Jul 31, 2014I am surprised this game hasn't gotten more attention, even from hardcore war gamers. It might have something to do with the *very* stiffI am surprised this game hasn't gotten more attention, even from hardcore war gamers. It might have something to do with the *very* stiff price it had when it was first released four years ago (something like $90 IIRC).
It's a hardcore, super realistic, super complex World War II operational level (divisions and regiments) war game covering the German offensive through the Ardennes in December 1944. Expansions include the Greek campaign in '41 and Operation Market Garden.
This is a top-down, map and counters only game. Expect no fancy graphics or sound.
Also expect to read a lot to fully master it, although it's quite easy to get into the basics for such a complex game. It comes with several video tutorials where the designer of the game explains the basics to make things more pleasant for you. A small and friendly community will usually answer most of the questions you may have at the Matrix forums.
So what sets Command Ops apart from other war games? First of all, it's a game that makes few compromises on realism - this is particularly noticeable when it comes to planning and executing orders, because the game includes orders delay. Companies are fairly responsive units, especially when they are motorized, while battalions, regiments and divisions have more and more inertia, just as they have in the real world. Second, the game employs a real-time system that simulates the action on a minute-to-minute basis. There are no turns and no hexes. Third, you can give orders from any position in the command-chain. If you want you can give orders to each and every company, or you can let the regimental or divisional commander handle the job for you - or you can mix. You can also give orders with various degrees of detail. For example, you can give general "attack that village"-orders with a few clicks, or you you can give detailed orders specifying everything from formation and frontage, to aggressiveness and acceptable losses. You can also attach units from different points in the command hierarchy wherever you want. For example, if you have a regimental anti-tank company, you can assign that to one of your infantry battalion commanders to increase his capability against tanks, you can mix tanks with infantry to employ armor/infantry attacks and so on.
On the downside, Command Ops has been plagued with some troublesome issues from the start. If you're like me, and like to study everything that is going on at a low level, you will notice some very odd things quite often. Units seeming to retreat for no apparent reason; infantry companies dancing back and forth while they get hammered to extinction by artillery; units not defending inside the footprint you told them to, but instead 500 meters away; attacks stalling for no apparent reason. Also the game has been plagued by irritating formation bugs that will cause formations to lock up until you cancel their order and issue a new one - a big issue when we're talking about hours of orders delay.
Some of the mechanics in the game are very questionable. Artillery seems way too strong and can easily be exploited since you can point any artillery piece to shoot anywhere you want on the map within minutes. Where does spotting come in? Motorized units are awkwardly simulated. You cannot disembark them, which means they always get terrain penalties for being motorized and cannot enter foot-only terrain. And when they are supposed to be abstractly "on foot" and when they are supposed to be in their vehicles doesn't seem very clear to me. Much of the detail that has been put into the game seem to have very little practical influence on what you are doing.
There are a lot of other things I could have put my finger on, and there are also a lot more positive to say about this game. It IS a good war game, it is a UNIQUE war game and if you love realistic and complex games, you should definitely get it. Especially if you *hate* the kind of micromanagement that games like TOAW and 'War in the East' forces upon you, because Command Ops lets you micromanage however much you want, without compromising on complexity. Command ops is a really effortless game to play once you have learnt the mechanics.… Full Review »