Order of Battle: World War II

On recent days I have been spending some time playing Order of Battle: World War II, so I decided to depart from the usual blog format of posting about code and post about games for a chance.

Order of Battle is strategy game, where you control forces on a hex map and fight for control of victory hexes. The usual suspects (Britain, Germany, USSR, USA, Japan) are included, but what really got me into playing is that there’s campaign for Finnish forces. Campaign starts at the start of Winter War and continues until end of war of Lapland. While Finland has been featured in wargames before, games about Winter War are rather rare. Campaign isn’t super long, which I find a good thing. Nothing more tedious than having to play through a very long game that has started to repeat itself ages ago.

Campaign is build around a core group of units that follow you from battle to battle. They gain experience which makes them stronger in attack and more resilient in defence. Keeping them alive and gaining experience will make your battles easier. In addition to core units, there’s often some auxiliary units that don’t follow you to next scenario. These bring some flavour in the battles (torpedo boats for example), without cluttering your actual core unit list.

Playing scenario set in the summer ’44 onslaught feels desperate. No matter what kind of delaying tactic I try to do, onslaught doesn’t seem to stop or even slow down. I recently read book Yksi rykmentti, sata tarinaa that has collection of stories told by veterans of 1st Jaeger Regiment. Remembering these stories while sacrificing pixel unit in order to let other pixel units to withdraw is very sombering. Games are often meant to be fun to play, but it’s worth keeping the story behind the game in mind.

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I like how game isn’t too complicated, while still offering enough tools for achieving your goals. Ski troops are fast, while heavy infantry has mortar at their disposal. Engineers can be used to lay mine fields and AT-guns are especially good when they’re supporting a defending infantry unit. Finnish campaign seem to revolve mostly around various infantry units with some odd tank or artillery unit thrown in the mix. Notable exception so far has been defence of Sommers, where player is given control of bunch of torpedo boats and few larger ships while defending the island.

Sometimes there are special events during battles. These might be arrival of auxiliary forces, reclaiming some equipment like tanks or artillery from enemy or getting new commanders. Commanders can be attached to units to give slight boost to everyone around them. Little things like these add quite a bit flavour to the game.

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All in all, I enjoy playing Order of Battle. Like I earlier wrote, I have only played part of the Winter War campaign. While the base game is free, it allows only playing beginning of each campaign and then you need to purchase a DLC if you want to continue further. This gives curious player chance to try out game before committing any money in purchasing it.

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