Unity of Command is an campaign/operational-level Turn-Based Strategy PC wargame by Croatian developer 2x2 Games. It is a hex-based wargame similar to more traditional grognardy titles like Panzer Campaigns, but it eschews the huge numbers of units to control and complex user interfaces. This makes it an amazingly accessible wargame with easy-to-understand gameplay mechanics which still manages to capture key operational-level principles including planning, cutting and safeguarding flows of fuel and ammunition, terrain use, and working around adverse weather conditions without drowning the player in excessive detail.
The base game was released in 2011 and is set in the Soviet Ukraine and Caucasus from mid-summer 1942 until the Rasputitsa (lit. 'season of mud') of Spring 1943, including Fall Blau and Operation Uranus. The 2012 DLC Red Turn covers almost all of the successful Soviet offensive operations from summer 1943 to the Berlin Offensive. The 2013 DLC Black Turn covers Germany's failed Barbarossa and Taifun offensives of summer-winter 1941.
A sequel, Unity of Command 2 was released on November 12th, 2019. It uses uses a 3D engine, and focuses on the Allied forces during the Western Front and Northern Africa campaigns.
Unity of Command provides examples of:
- Artificial Brilliance: For well-coded scenarios including all the official ones. However, the A.I. is totally incapable of offensive operations or 'changing its mind' about which measures to take due to the nature of the coding system.
- Color-Coded Armies: The Germans (and their allies) are grey and the Soviets are red.
- Combat Pragmatist: Trying to punch your way through the thick of enemy resistance will cost you valuable time and deplete your troop strength. Instead, the game encourages you to bypass stronger enemy units and go for their supply line instead. Being cut off and encircled will cripple even the strongest unit, depriving it of the ability to attack and weakening it with each passing turn to the point where it can be destroyed by relatively weak units.
- Death from Above: Air power makes its appearance in the game, but it's used more for suppression than for outright destroying units.
- Digitized Sprites: Instead of NATO-style counters like in other wargames, Unity of Command uses a stylized bust to represent a unit.
- Easy Logistics: Averted. Supply lines are a very important part of the game. Mobile forces at the end of their tethers will find themselves extremely vulnerable to counterattacking forces. Actions which result in the disruption of your supply lines can bring your offensive to a halt. This is particularly noticeable in multiplayer, in which astute players can prove themselves considerably craftier than the AI in their disruption of supply.
- Geo Effects: Units in cities and dug-in are very difficult to root out. River crossings without a bridge considerably slows down the tempo of your forces.
- Lightning Bruiser: Armoured, mechanised and cavalry divisions typically move faster than their infantry counterparts while packing a much heavier punch. Due to the way the game works, they're best used forge ahead, encircle the enemy's frontline units and cut them off from supplies after the slower but more numerous infantry divisions have blown a hole in the enemy line.
- Nintendo Hard: Played straight in some of the German scenarios where you are clearly outnumbered, on the offensive, and have to capture three strategic points on the other side of the map.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted with the original campaigns; you could play both as the Germans and Soviets. Red Turn and Black Turn are only playable for the Soviets and Germans respectively.
- No Swastikas: Played straight.
- Quantity vs. Quality: In early-war scenarios, particularly in the Black Turn campaign, Soviet units generally outnumber their German counterparts but have very little individual combat power and are easily swept aside by the panzer divisions, representing the poor training, leadership and morale of the Red Army at the beginning of the war. The balance shifts over time, and the end-game Soviets avert this with a vengeance, being able to stand toe-to-toe to the best the Germans have to offer while also outnumbering them.
- Support Power: The player can request air strikes, logistical upgrades, and bridge manipulation (construction, demolition, repair).
- Timed Mission: Every scenario and campaign battle has a turn limit determined by the hard limits of your forces' fuel, food, and ammunition stockpiles and the strategic context of each particular operation. You have to get the best use of your forces on every turn, as misuse might cost you an unacceptable delay in the capturing of a strategic point. You can get better victories if you capture the strategic points at a prescribed time (e.g. four turns before the end of the twelve turn/one month scenario).
- Weather of War: Weather can affect the game by limiting the effectiveness of air attacks, restrict the ability for normal units to dig in, and limit movement.
- We Have Reserves: Yes, you do, but not unlimited reserves. Knowing how and when to spend them is a key part of the harder German scenarios and the Soviet campaigns.