Best WW2 Strategy Game?

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#1 Posted by Fire_Zealot (102 posts) -

Hi Guys,

I'm looking for a good WW2 "grand strategy" game to play on my PC. My one requirement is that it has online play of some sort -- I want to be able to play it with my cousin. I've never tried this stuff out, but I'm guessing Play-by-email is what we'd do, as we're in seperate time zones.

Now, I though it'd be easy to pick, but I've found a flood of choices. Gary Grigsby's War in the East, Commander - Europe at War Gold, and Hearts of Iron II & III all look good. I am slightly iffy on War in the East due to its scale, but if its highly suggested I'll go for it.

Since I'm unsure, I'm going to give you some background on what type of games I've played. Recently, I've played TONS of Axis and Allies with my cousin. We started with Axis and Allies Europe, then Anniversary Edition and now the 1940 Europe and Japan editions. With each step up, we'd always wished for a bigger, more detailed map with more complex rules. We thought it'd be cool to display German armor superiority or have uboats the enemy couldn't see. While we love playing Axis and Allies, the fact that its a board game ruins some of the fun. My cousin knows where all my uboats are, its hard to produce natural maps all the time (Kursk salient can be hard to make), and we know the exact compositions of enemy troops. Most of our issues would be solved if we jumped into a computer game version of this.

So, which games do you suggest? Gary Grigsby's game was the first to catch my interest, but I'm a bit worried about the learning curve. There is a huge jump from Axis and Allies (even 1940) to THAT complex of a game. In addition, not having the other fronts was disapointing. We dont care much about the Pacific War, but it'd be nice to have all of Europe...

I'm open to any and all questions and suggestions. Price is not a major issue, nor is PC performance. (we're both running modern, high-end PCs)

#2 Posted by bogaty (4750 posts) -

I'd say skip War in the East for now. The leap from AA to this or War in the Pacific is vast.

You might want to have a look at Advanced Tactics: WWII

or WWII: Time of Wrath.

These are both fairly accessable operational level WWII games that let you command the "big picture".

YOu might also want to have a look at BBC Battlefield Academy from Sliterine Studios. It's a tactical level game that's very easy to learn and quick to play. The cartoony art ****might be a bit of a turn off, but the game's a lot of fun in multiplayer.

#3 Posted by zaku101 (4377 posts) -

It's easily Company of heroes. It might be from 2006 but it's still the best looking RTS game ever made.

#4 Posted by Wasdie (50365 posts) -

It's easily Company of heroes. It might be from 2006 but it's still the best looking RTS game ever made.

zaku101

I think he's looking for something much more true to WWII.

I would check out the Theatre of War and the Men of War series.

#5 Posted by Crimsader (11672 posts) -
Company of Heroes is great, but it covers only the war in Normandy and nothing else. It's rather fun to play than educative.
#6 Posted by AFBrat77 (24157 posts) -

Older game (1997) but:

and you can get it on Gog.com to run seamlessly on todays systems.

#7 Posted by Barbariser (6761 posts) -

It's easily Company of heroes. It might be from 2006 but it's still the best looking RTS game ever made.

zaku101

He's most certainly looking for a game with a more... "in-depth" focus.

#8 Posted by Fire_Zealot (102 posts) -

Yeah, Company of Heroes is totally a differant ball game. Dont get me wrong, I love the game when you have the Blitzkrieg Mod installed, but its still commanding individual units and squads. I'm looking for a "big picture" game, a la Axis and Allies or Risk.

I took a look at battlefield academy and I found the scale too small for my liking (as well as the cartoony graphics). Company of Heroes is already perfect for my tactical needs. (I tried Men at War but found it was too much micromanagement, especially with infantry). I'm looking for something with a much larger scale.

I looked at the other 2 games, and to be honest, couldn't see the differance. I agree, War in the East is probably too complex for me at the moment. The thing is, Advanced Tactics, WW2 Time of Wrath, Commander-Europe and to a lesser degree Heart of Iron III all seem very similar. Even the reviews of the games are similar!

Currently I'm leaning towards Heart of Iron III because of the improved engine, recognition of HoI II and that its the most recent game, but I'm still not sure. Why do you suggest Advanted Tactics or WW2 Time of Wrath over the other games?

#9 Posted by bogaty (4750 posts) -

Well, the thing with HOI is that it's continuous time, so it doesn't lend itself to PBEM. It does have multiplayer, but it sucks.

WW2: Time of Wrath might be your best bet. You could also have a look at Gary Grigsby's World at War: A World Divided. It's got a similar map to AA but it offers up more depth. Personally, I didn't care for it as it focussed too much on economics and industry. My preference is for tactical level wargames. I'm more into lines of sight than lines of supply.

#10 Posted by PernicioEnigma (5394 posts) -
You could try Men of War. The game is quite realistic and it has a really nice editor which makes it easy to set up your own scenarios.
#11 Posted by shakmaster13 (7138 posts) -
Hearts of Iron 3 is a very good game, although it is also VERY COMPLEX without a very helpful tutorial so you will probably feel lost in the game for a bit. It's a grand strategy game, so you won't really be seeing combat as much as managing many aspects of your nation as well as its armies. Company of Heroes is probably the best RTS game set in WW2. Men of War is also pretty good although it has pretty brutal ai and there will probably be some bugs. Out of the above mentioned games I enjoyed Hearts of Iron 3 the most (don't get hearts of iron 2, although it runs on practically any computer the UI is just horrid compared to the third game).
#12 Posted by MadCat46 (1494 posts) -

Hearts of Iron 3 is a good game, covers all of the WW2 with a heavy focus on military tactics. Some micromanaging to it and takes a while to grasp but is a good game, especially if you throw a good mod on top of it though it's MP is iffy at best. Theater of War 2 and it's expansions are more about the tactical battles rather then the strategic so not a grand-strategy game but very good in terms of accuracy and realism. There's a couple of solid turn-based strategy games as well. Making History 2 has some AI problems but it's getting patched up on a fairly frequent basis. War in the Pacific: Admirals Edition is pretty good through it only focuses on the Pacific theater, same with Storm Over the Pacific. Demos are floating around the net for those three games so you can get an idea if they're for you.


This is a good site to start for grand strategy games.

#13 Posted by Fire_Zealot (102 posts) -

Again, for clarification, I'm looking for a more broad strategy game, not tactical one. So games like Company of Heroes, Men at War or World in Conflict need not apply. I like them, but its not what I want now. I'm looking more for a game like this: http://www.critical-hits.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/Axis%20&%20Allies%2001.JPG

Currently, I've reduced my list to about 2-3 choices.

They are:

Gary Grigsby's World at War

Hearts of Iron II Arsenal of Democracy

Heart of Iron III

The 2 leaders are World at War and Arsenal of Democracy. I was asking some wargamers on another forum and they said that HoI III is rather complicated and buggy, and that the HoI II Arsenal of Democracy is better for multiplayer and simpler to learn.

My big question is on the HoI and WaW multiplayer systems. How do play-by-email and standard multiplayer work for these games? I assume in PBEM you do your turn, the game sends an email with a file showing the status, then your opponent plays etc. But how would standard multiplayer work? These games are too long to just play in 1 sitting!

I'm asking because my cousin and I live in 2 time zones with a 10 hour difference. Now, if we BOTH have to be on the PC at the same time, we could play, but we could only do so on weekends. A more ideal set-up would be something that could be played separately or appart. I.E I do my turn at 10PM, then it sends it to him and I go sleep. While I'm sleeping, he does his turn and sends it to me etc. Ideally, if we're both on at the same time (say my night and his morning on a weekend) we can play with a standard turn-by-turn basis. Is this possible? Do you need clarification? My guess is that this is PBEM, but I'm not sure.

#14 Posted by NeuroToxino (313 posts) -

Doesn't get better than Company of heroes.

#15 Posted by Wasdie (50365 posts) -

Then you want Hearts of Iron 3. It has the biggest scope of WWII you'll ever find. If you like boardgames but want something more detailed and a bit more video game like (realtime instead of turn based), then Hearts of Iron is calling your name.

#16 Posted by shakmaster13 (7138 posts) -

Again, for clarification, I'm looking for a more broad strategy game, not tactical one. So games like Company of Heroes, Men at War or World in Conflict need not apply. I like them, but its not what I want now. I'm looking more for a game like this: http://www.critical-hits.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/Axis%20&%20Allies%2001.JPG

Currently, I've reduced my list to about 2-3 choices.

They are:

Gary Grigsby's World at War

Hearts of Iron II Arsenal of Democracy

Heart of Iron III

The 2 leaders are World at War and Arsenal of Democracy. I was asking some wargamers on another forum and they said that HoI III is rather complicated and buggy, and that the HoI II Arsenal of Democracy is better for multiplayer and simpler to learn.

My big question is on the HoI and WaW multiplayer systems. How do play-by-email and standard multiplayer work for these games? I assume in PBEM you do your turn, the game sends an email with a file showing the status, then your opponent plays etc. But how would standard multiplayer work? These games are too long to just play in 1 sitting!

I'm asking because my cousin and I live in 2 time zones with a 10 hour difference. Now, if we BOTH have to be on the PC at the same time, we could play, but we could only do so on weekends. A more ideal set-up would be something that could be played separately or appart. I.E I do my turn at 10PM, then it sends it to him and I go sleep. While I'm sleeping, he does his turn and sends it to me etc. Ideally, if we're both on at the same time (say my night and his morning on a weekend) we can play with a standard turn-by-turn basis. Is this possible? Do you need clarification? My guess is that this is PBEM, but I'm not sure.

Fire_Zealot
The thing is I have both HoI 2+both expansions and HoI 3+Semper Fi, and after playing HoI 3 I can't go back to HoI 2. The UI is just horrible, and you are limited to very low resolutions so it's hard rather time consuming trying to move around the map. The Semper Fi expansion also fixed a lot of the bugs that came with HoI 3.. The multiplayer for the HoI games is either non-existent or horrible. It's not a turn based game and since it's real time I don't know if you could do what you intend to do because I never really tried the multiplayer since the single player was great for me.
#17 Posted by taterfrickintot (2851 posts) -

company of hereos. i love the game.

#18 Posted by MadCat46 (1494 posts) -
[QUOTE="shakmaster13"] The thing is I have both HoI 2+both expansions and HoI 3+Semper Fi, and after playing HoI 3 I can't go back to HoI 2. The UI is just horrible, and you are limited to very low resolutions so it's hard rather time consuming trying to move around the map. The Semper Fi expansion also fixed a lot of the bugs that came with HoI 3.. The multiplayer for the HoI games is either non-existent or horrible. It's not a turn based game and since it's real time I don't know if you could do what you intend to do because I never really tried the multiplayer since the single player was great for me.

Same for me, AoD is nice and all but Hearts of Iron 3 is superior to it in quite a few ways, and with the newest beta patch there really aren't a whole lot of bugs. In terms of complexity, AoD isn't that much further down the chain then HoI3. HoI3 is much more complex and detailed in terms of the military aspect where as AoD adds a level of complexity to every other aspect of the game; economy, politics, espionage, diplomacy, etc. So both are equally complex games, it just differs on where that complexity lies. As far as MP goes, I've never tries HoI3 outside of LAN so no clue how that would work for you, but it does have a MP component and it does work so you'd have to experience that for yourself. There is a save function though so you don't have to play the whole game through one sitting. Overall though, I've played all three of those games and Heart's of Iron 3 + Semper Fi is the better choice. It may be the more difficult game to fully grasp but it's difficulty it centered in one area (Military) so if you practice and learn that the rest of the game should be fairly easy to understand. And if you need help the Paradox forums are pretty good at giving people advice.
#19 Posted by heywazzap (2 posts) -
This is actually an FPS but the realism is so amazing, it requires great teamwork and strategy to succeed. "Darkest Hour: Europe 1944", a mod for Red Orchestra: Ostfront which is $10 on steam, will blow you away. The game is so intense and amazing. When I said it requires teamwork, I meant it. For example: When in a tank, you need a driver, a gunner, and a machinegunner to function as effectively as possible. Another example would be running ammo to your teamates and suppressing as they move up towards the objective. You need to work in a group to attack or defend against the enemy and have good teamwork. 70 people per game, and yes you can land on Normandy's beaches. GET THIS GAME! Also, If you decide to get thise game and you enjoy it, check out 29th.org. They make the game as realistic and amazingly fun as possible.
#20 Posted by Lach0121 (9930 posts) -

Maybe RUSE is what you would like.