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Have You Played... Unity Of Command?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Proving that sometimes the simplest games are the most effect, Unity of Command distilled the wargamer’s love of hexes and history to create and Eastern front game that is all about the cold number of war. Strange, then, that it should be one of the most emotive and compelling strategy games out there.

Released by tiny 2×2 Games back in 2011, the game instantly captured the attention of the strategically minded. This is a turn-based front-holding exercise, with the greatest attention paid to supply lines and territory that we can remember in a game of this simplicity. And it’s beguilingly easy to play, with just a few variables for each unit, and an outcome indicator which will tell you what to expect if you try, for example, to fight an German tank column with horses.

What’s perhaps most fascinating about this game is that it is so difficult to master. The short campaigns available for it demand constant replay, and that works because it’s so quick: just a few short turns per game to make your moves and win the day. In bold opposition to the strategy games which make their mark with arduous hours of planning and management, this is more like a puzzle game you’d play just to fill up and empty lunchtime. Once you’re engaged, however, it becomes hard to stop thinking about… if I’d just held the line at Kalingrad.

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Jim Rossignol

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