There’s A Unity of Command Sequel In The Works

Unity of Command is the wargame that non-wargamers should play. At least in my eyes – Tim Stone has his doubts, and he knows more than I. It’s a difficult game, but not because of an overabundance of numbers or an obtuse interface like many of its kin. It’s unforgiving AI and the need for clever battlefield tactics that will see your men falter and die in its campaign, and which will keep you coming back for more. Like wot Kieron thought.

Gadzooks! Now it seems there’s to be a sequel.

It’s not been announced, exactly. The developer blog post that mentions it says that it’s not ready for “a proper media announcement just yet.” But I’m a renegade investigative journalist, me. I hang out in car parks to have secret meetings, and while I’m waiting check RSS feeds on my phone. That’s why I get the hottest scoops, such as this one from November 14th, which I saw while reading a week old Flare Path over the weekend and thought, “Cor, that deserves a post of its own.”

The biggest, most obvious thing: Unity of Command 2 or Unity of Command Too or whatever it’s called will have a 3D engine, built from scratch by the dev team. Here’s the only teaser image released, which is said to be a long way from done. “Don’t get too invested in the graphic”, says the post, though I’m glad to see it’s still got head-and-shoulders men staring terrifyingly across the landscape, like helmet-wearing Titans.

The post also says, more interestingly:

We are adding significantly to the game’s repertoire of mechanics, while hopefully not overcooking it. This will enable us to represent things like amphibious landings, para drops, intelligence effects, some naval action etc. The new system should be more versatile, so we could represent much more of WWII in it, and not just the maneuver-rich campaigns on the Eastern Front.

The campaign system is very much in flux right now. It’s possibly the weakest part of the original game, so I feel like we need to offer something awesome this time around. There’s no shortage of ideas, it’s more of a question of “which concept is right” for the game. I’ll be sure to post about campaign/metagame issues a lot in these progress updates.

Can such a tightly designed wargame add more mechanics without toppling over? That appears at least to be on the development team’s mind as well. Apparently they’ll be blogging their progress monthly over at the game’s site, though it’ll all be graphics stuff for a while to come.

28 Comments

  1. padger says:

    I don’t know if being a wargamer or not matters, but this is straight up a classic game.

    • Guvornator says:

      I always wanted to pick this up (not least now it’s £3 on gog) but I’m never sure which of the 20th century’s greatest monsters I want to play. Help me, RPS!

      • padger says:

        That’s the joy of this game: you don’t have to decide! You can absolutely play as both.

        • Guvornator says:

          Hmm, the Russians who actually threw half my ancestors out of Russia, or the Germans who would have killed them instead. Choices, choices…

      • Volcanu says:

        Eh? Are you sure? I just looked on GOG and it didnt even seem to have it…and it’s £20+ on Steam….

        • Guvornator says:

          I might mean the Humble Store. TOO MANY SHOPFRONTS!

          • Volcanu says:

            Aha! Yes I just discovered it there, and snaffled it up, with it’s DLC, for a little over £7.

            Thanks for alerting me to the fact it was on sale somewhere, in any event!

  2. Philopoemen says:

    As an old school Grog, I agreed with Tim – bit light on for my tastes, But my missus loves it, and now I’m finding all my “war books:” (as she refers to them) all over the house as she takes a deeper interest in the subject matter,

    The graphics of wargames are a major stumbling block for the uninitiated, so anything that makes them more accessible is good in my book.

    • Aradalf says:

      Tim’s gripe with it as a suggestion for someone new to wargames is actually with its campaign structure and the difficulty of its missions. Many people who own it never manage to get to the later missions, because the earlier ones are so hard.

  3. GenBanks says:

    Unity of Command is an excellent game… maybe fancier graphics will attract a bigger player base?

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      “maybe fancier graphics will attract a bigger player base?”

      The ability to turn off turn limits would attract me.

  4. cptgone says:

    i like the game’s current look a lot. it’s very clear and has character. i’m not sure if going 3D is going to improve things.

    glad to hear about the sequel though :)

    • Gap Gen says:

      That one shot does make it look a bit like giant burrowing shoulder-deep through the terrain, but I appreciate it’s early days.

  5. farrier says:

    Now that I look at that screenshot, I really want the busts to be great hot air balloons looming over the countryside. I can’t unsee it.

    I hope they make it a bit more measured in its pace. Maybe being such a finely distilled wargame makes the “puzzly” nature of all wargames that much more apparent, but there’s got to be some way to mask that feeling a little better.

  6. Agnosticus says:

    I felt UoC (edit: single player) was a rather patchy experience. It always feels like a giant rush to the objective, as long as you could maneuver the tanks and apc’s past the enemies to get to the distant city in time everything is well and good. Foot soldiers didn’t seem to matter after the initial 1or 2 turns.

    TBH, I did only play the first 3 missions, but it didn’t seem to change all that much: a fast run against the clock (turns), not caring much about front lines as long as you’ve got the supply lines right. It feels rather like a puzzle than a strategy game to me. Does it change sometime during the game?

    BTW plz don’t try to compare this rush with “blitzkrieg”, because they didn’t rush forward with their vehicles only and leave their troops behind…

    Edit: I’ve forgotten to mention that the enemy is mostly way underpowered and the real threat is running out of turns, i.e. losing the mission.

    • wengart says:

      You realize this is an operational level game, right? So those vehicles are actually Panzer Divisions. They come with tanks and mechanized infantry.

      • Agnosticus says:

        Good point, but they wouldn’t rush through the gaps to get to a distant city anyway! They would encircle the enemy first, which is just not possible, if you want to win the campaign.

        • MartinWisse says:

          A bit of both, actually. The whole idea of Blitzkrieg is after all to break through the enemy’s frontlines with the strength of your combined arms (panzer + arty + aircraft + infantry), then use your highly mobile panzertruppen to disrupt the enemy’s rear and cease control before he can react, while the bypassed towns and armies are left to the poor foot soldiers.

          This works decentish in Unity of Command where the AI is very happy to exploit your failure to protect your panzers vor by cutting them off by anything able to do so, as well as go for your supply lines. You do get a feel for the mechanics of it as a game after several scenarios, true, but I personally felt it still challenging even though I “know” how the AI thinks.

    • Volcanu says:

      Actually it was frequently the case that the non-mechanized infantry formations couldnt keep pace with the armoured divisions and mechanized infantry ‘speartips’ -which were comparatively few in number. The vast majority of German divisions depended overwhelmingly on horses to provide logisitical support, move artillery pieces etc and (outside of the Panzer divisions) they were far behind the USSR in terms of mechanization in 1941.

    • 3Form says:

      I believe the premise of the whole game is the development of soviet “deep operations”, where units would operate miles behind the front lines for days or weeks on end, in order to render the front lines useless.

      But yes, it’s more of a puzzle game to be honest. Not that that’s a bad thing, I enjoy it as a puzzle game – I’m not quite so keen on “true” wargames.

    • sulman says:

      TBH, I did only play the first 3 missions, but it didn’t seem to change all that much: a fast run against the clock (turns), not caring much about front lines as long as you’ve got the supply lines right.

      I liked this about it. The added pressure is in many ways realistic; you’re supposed to be maintaining a lightning quick tempo, especially as the Germans. To slow down is to lose.

      It’s frustrating at times but it is one of those games you keep coming back to.

  7. TT says:

    UoC was one of the best things happening on the strategy genre in the last years. Great to see a sequel coming. Not so great they are wasting resources/ time on a 3D engine. Maybe they aren´t but I hate tilted hexes :(
    Good news on there effort to introduce a campaign system.

  8. jonfitt says:

    My vote is for “2 Unity 2 Command”.

    It’s one of the very few strategy games I’ve played where when it looks like you’ve got it in the bag, the AI will spot the one move you hadn’t accounted for and wreck things. I haven’t played any of the really heavy grog games though.

    • Philopoemen says:

      The traditional grog games tend to lack a reactive AI – they’re largely script based, which is the appeal for some people, ie “Could I have won this battle as the French, with the Germans using the same tactics”.

  9. briangw says:

    I hope they consider doing a Pacific version.

  10. BooleanBob says:

    BRING BACK KIERON

  11. bill says:

    I’ve been waiting for Unity of Command to appear on android before I pick it up.

    It will appear on android right? It looks like the kind of game that would.