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Combat Commander
Board Games 1944
Not a particularly fun or realistic consim
Rating 
 
2.0
Although this game is maybe the most elaborate and innovative war game in recent years, it has issues.

The game is frustrating because sometimes (or when you're unlucky; all the time) your squads can neither shoot nor fire. Some people argue that this is realistic, - I don't have any combat experience to dis-/prove this point, but from my understanding an elite unit accompanied by a competent leader should be able to move when there's no enemy unit in sight. The same goes for a MG in a prepared defensive position which should be able to fire at advancing units when manned by an attentive crew and when the gun is neither jammed, unloaded nor otherwise restricted in its functionality.

Defensive positions are almost impenetrable. As opposed to other games, satchel charges, panzerfaust rockets and even artillery strikes leave houses or pillboxes unscratched. This is obviously taken from CC:E's influence game Up Front, however in Up Front it is possible to flank every position. Furthermore preparing units for close combat against defenders in these fortifications is a pain in the arse, because you need a good set of "Advance", "Fire" and "Movement" cards, which is very hard to build. And don't get me started on melee combat.

Furthermore you only lose units through bad luck. You can have a unit fired at by an enemy flame-thrower and this is no problem when you have a "Recover"-card at hand.

The system is also very gamey. Firing at units without any chance of success, just to use up cards and "advance in time", is a plausible tactic, as is blatantly ignoring one's objective to move units past the enemy.

The many possible random events spice up the game, but some are just illogical in some situations.

The game is a really neat design, but it fails to simulate combat in WWII, when compared to Squad Leader for example. Compared to this old shoe, it's also only slightly more fun. Another war might really fit better, I thought about WWI trench warfare, but this in not relevant to this comment.

This rating is very subjective and displays the disappointment I had missing this game's supposed greatness.

I might want to try Combat Commander: Pacific though, if it contains some rule changes or a different composition of the card decks.
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