It’s been established already that I am not good at video games. And while I’m not a genius at boardgames, I do tend to fair better. Some of my favorite types of boardgames are those that involve strategy and thought. Don’t get me wrong, I also like the ‘just for fun’ games like Martian Dice and Fluxx but I’m drawn to games requiring a good bit of strategy. So when I was asked to review a game that looked and played a lot like a strategy board game I have called Memoir ’44, I jumped at the chance.
The game is called Wars and Battles and is available on both iOS and Android. It’s put out by Kermorio on iOS and Battle Factory SAS on Android, and it’s a fairly accessible and moderately complex, turn-based strategy battle simulation game.
The basics of the game are this; you take turns using what is called Activation Points (AP) to move your troops, tanks, ships, and other mechanized infantry around the battlefield ‘liberating’ cities and towns and generally waging war, either against an AI or other players. It really is that simple to play.
As you level up you gain access to more and more units, and go from the common soldier to a general while dealing with over 20 types of terrain ranging from forests to mountains and everything in between. The app launched in 2014 with Battle of Normandy, and The October War 1973 released in June. More battles and conflicts are already in the pipeline.
Let me start by saying this; this is good game. it plays well and the AI, while not being overly smart, isn’t altogether stupid either. It will throw you for a loop and make you rethink your strategy from time to time. And it hits hard. There were several times during my gameplay that I had taken a town only to have it taken back by clever AI tactics. That isn’t to say it will always do that, it also made a few questionable decisions which let me easily place troops in an area that I was suppose control with little to no resistance.
The visuals on the game are outstanding. The overhead 2D view looks very much like playing a tabletop game with chits, only better because there are HUDs with information and effects when you blow stuff up. I didn’t play in the 3D view a lot but it looked good as well, the models were very well done and it reminded me of a simplified miniatures game, which I’m okay with. And speaking of HUDs, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the UI interface is quite well thought out. Once you get comfortable with the workings it’s actually helpful.
The negative for me was that the game really had nothing new. I’ve played a lot of games like this on my tablet and on the tabletop and while it probably did come the closest to representing that tabletop feel, it really didn’t have anything new, but there is an obvious love of the genre
That said, the biggest draw is that it isn’t just a single game that you have to play over and over but rather a series of games that you can play over and over. The replayability (assuming all the slots they are planning actually get filled) will grow exponentially.
I might check it out again as the new campaigns are released since they are being done as completely new wars/battles rather than building off the existing ones. For example, one of the upcoming campaigns will feature the Korean War. Considering the fact they have an actual historian on the design team, you can bet it will be as realistic as possible with an open-ended game like this.
In the ratings below you will notice that I only gave the concept a 6.0. The reason is because there have been a plethora of games like this in the past couple years. Many of which I have or have played. It’s not a knock against Wars and Battles itself but rather a reflection of the signal-to-noise ratio of the genre right now.
If you are into these types of wargames or are interested but haven’t played one before, then Wars and Battles is a good pickup.