I’m currently taking baby steps into Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa (DC:B).
You’d have thought, given my background with VR Designs previous games, that I would have slipped easily into DC:B. But I have to stress that this evolution of the DC engine has taken a truly epic step towards realising a large scale operational wargame, built on the actual decisions of the people and their personalities within the chain of command!
DC:B isn’t an aesthetic UI polish up, or a feature tweaking do-over. It adds a totally new layer of command, at the grand strategic end, involving high level decision making, and massaging of commanding officer egos to your will. You not only have to assess the situation, make the decisions and exact the chit shuffling combat, you have to bend, placate and pervert the will of your commanding staff!
As the lead commander for Germany you have to not only navigate through the whimsical diversity of your fellow officers, but you have to supplicate the Fuhrer himself! If you take on commanding Mother Russia herself then you get to be an ever increasing paranoid Stalin, with your own anxiety constantly working against you. The asymmetrical setup should give fans of the Eastern Front plenty of interesting situations to play through, with different styles of play (and considerations) on both sides.
DC:B also uses limited activations, and a more abstracted “boardgame” level of air operations. With a keen emphasis on upholding proper supply chains with limited reach. Activated commanders get context sensitive decks of cards to play sparingly to alter your offensive or defensive operations.
Truly, the DC engine has ascended mere chit shufflers. Embracing qualities only found in Grand Strategy games, or complex boardgames.
My plan is to do an AAR or two using DC:B, but I want to make sure I understand the higher level of play first. However, I couldn’t keep quiet about this release, because it simply takes the game to the next level of wargaming, and takes yet another step towards Bruce Geryk’s “Touching History” goal.
Simply reading the communications and decisions in the first pre-turn phase, has the player bristling with the sheer history of the situation and the decisions ahead.
I was taken aback by the way the official trailer for the game, visually explains the process using officer communications and decisions leading to their relevant force movement on the map. Worth a watch to get a sense of the scope of the game, and how it differs from previous incarnations that rely a lot on pure unit movement, chit by chit.