Dull and abstract military strategy
This is the third instalment in the Universal Military Simulator
series and while it is an admirable attempt at introducing some new elements to the tried and tested military strategy genre, it is sadly a less than enjoyable gaming experience. The game is aimed at the true military strategist, with high levels of authenticity and with players participating in a variety of historical engagements including the Battle of Pharsalus, the Battle of Austerlitz and the Battle of Tannenberg from World War I. Games play out in real time and are fairly simple, with players issuing orders, moving troops and organising battle formations, but there are plenty of opportunities for deeper strategy as players are required to consider their environment as well as aspects like unit morale and fatigue. The four battles are very different in feel and require different approaches in order to emerge victorious, thanks to the units which are available (melee units only in the Roman campaign for example, while Austerlitz requires very careful manoeuvring). While this all sounds well and good on paper, in practice it all falls apart. The War College takes a highly abstract approach, with units represented by lines and with combat described via text, which makes things less than exciting, both in terms of visual appeal and actual gameplay. While battles do require high levels of strategy and which will thus appeal to hardcore military fans, this really is more of an educational tool than a game, as there is a lot of background material on the battles being fought. If more time had been spent on making the main game accessible, then this might have been a worthy experience, but as it is this is only really of interest to historians. If you're after a good historical strategy game, stick to Total War.