World War 2 Time of Wrath (ToW) is a grand strategy game set in World War 2 Europe. I believe this is Wastelands studios first WW2 game, which was latter followed by Time of Fury and Strategic war in Europe (SWE). With the latter just being released about a week ago on steam that is what many users (and this review) will be comparing the game to
Players have two choices in the type of game they play. Full campaigns and operational scenarios. The full campaigns take place on a map that is 265 x 180 hexes in size and have an end date of December 1948. The included campaigns are
Grand Campaign Sep 1 1939 (450 turns)
Fall Gelb May 10 1940 (420 turns)
Barbarossa Jun 22 1941 (360 turns)
Gotterdammerung Apr 1944 (226 turns)
There are two operational scenarios that include
Fall Weiss 10 turns on a map size of 62 x 46
Overlord June 6 1945 25 turns with a map size of 51 x 24
There is also a 30 turn tutorial that starts Sep 1 1939. It is not instructional training per say but every little action the player takes is explained to them. In other words it does not tell you to hit this button or select this unit, but when you do such things you see what they do. I suggest you skip it and go straight to the 76 page manual which can be found in the games install folder
The game also support PBEM, and hot seat for people interested in playing with friends
Once the campaign is selected players can choose what country/countries they control. In addition to selecting countries players can set the difficulty of each country (Human and AI) in the form of altering the production points it receives.
Players are greeted with a map with playing pieces representing the units. players can alter the look of both with a wide range of choices; old school paper maps, square unit counters with NATO symbols. There is little doubt players can find something they like.
The map is one area where ToW is different that Strategic War Europe (SWE). In SWE the low countries are combined into one little area of 9 hexes; and the France; German/Italian borders are also 9 hexes combined. . In ToW the French border is over 30 hexes and each of the low countries (Luxemburg Belgium and Netherlands) are present.
Game turns represent 1 week.
Land units include infantry, motorized, Armor and Airborne. They can be bought as either divisions or corps (Airborne come only as divisions). Each country also has a pool of commanders that can be assigned to units (both air and land). Commanders turn the unit they are assigned to into an HQ and gives it an efficiency bonus. Units that do not have commanders but are within three hexes of an HQ also get a bonus.
Air units come in divisions, army and strategic bombers. Divisions and armies can be used for air supremacy, ground/fleet attacks and air recon. Strategic bombers attack cities and are automatically used to send supplies to troops cut off
Navy units are not bought by the ship but by group; for example a carrier battle group. Navel action is a little different from ground and air units
a. Fleets are moved from harbor to see zones (there are no hexes at sea)
b. Fleets can be assigned as regular or raider. Raiders fleets enter a sea zone and split up looking for enemy convey. Regular fleets enter a zone and stay together looking for enemy fleets
c. Fleets can also be assigned to engage; if this option is selected they will attack enemy fleets.
d. During the end turn the computer will randomly see if enemy fleets in the sea zones find each other. If so a short 5 round battle takes place.
e. Sea units can shore bombard the coast
Fast movement: Players can buy strategic, sea and amphibious transport points. Strategic points allow units to move over longer distances in a single turn (NOTE unlike SWE units do not need to start on a railroad hex). Sea points are used to transport a unit from one friendly harbor to another and amphibious points allows units to transport by sea and land on an enemy beach
Research: works the same way as it does in SWE. Players can research, artillery (infantry), tanks, aircraft , subs, warships and nuclear bombs. Nuclear bombs are only one level (you either have them or you don't) and once you do you gain a bomb every few turns which can be dropped by one of your strategic bombers.
All the others come in five levels (some countries start at higher levels than others) and each level needs 100 points to reach. Players spend production points to increase research effort in the area of their choice. Any area can have up to three investments (represented by light bulbs), the first one cost 200, but the price for future ones goes down as the research gets closer to the 100 mark. For example if you buy all three investments upfront it will cost you 600 (3 * 200); but if you buy the initial 200 and wait a few turns the next investment might only cost 170. I seen it go as low as 30 when it was 87 out of the 100 needed. Of course once 100 is reached that level is unlocked and all the light bulbs go out and the player must start investing again
Nukes work slightly differently, there is only one level that needs 800 point and the initial investment is 1000 production points.
As new levels unlock better units can be bought at an increased price. For example if you have 4 levels of infantry unlocked you can buy them at any of those four levels.
Each country has a diplomacy score (rating) which represents its political influence. Players can use their countries diplomats to do such things as: convince a future allies to join the war faster; delay a future enemy from declaring war and even try to overthrow a future enemies government.
Time of Wrath is a solid fun strategic game that allows people to control one or more European powers during world war 2. Some may be asking; with Strategic War in Europe just released last week did they really need to release Time of Wrath now? I am not going to lie to you and say they are radically different and if you have one you need the other. At their core both games are very similar, but target to different markets.
Strategic war in Europe is a quick simple to play game that can be completed in a few play seasons. The addition of steam achievements also gives the game a more casual feel
Time of Wrath with its bigger maps, smaller unit sizes gives the player a few more tactical options. The increased size of enemy counties means players must be more careful where they commit troops; since it will take much more time to move from one front to the other. There are no steam achievements, and the developers did not include the real unit photos in the info panel (Like SWE).
So while owners of SWE can hold off picking this one up, I would recommend people who do not own SWE to head straight to this. Sure it is missing some bells and whistles (achievements, unit photos) but those of us who enjoy this type of game do not play for those kind of things.