Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge

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Command Ops:
Battles from the Bulge
Panther Games BFTB boxart.png
Developer(s) Panther Games Pty Ltd
Publisher(s) Matrix Games
Designer(s) David O'Connor
Programmer(s) Paul Scobell (UI)
David O'Connor (AI)
Miquel Ramirez (AI)
Engine Command Ops
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) 26 May 2010 (worldwide)
Genre(s) Computer Wargame
Mode(s) Single player
Multiplayer
Distribution Digital Download
CD-ROM
DVD

Command Ops: Battle from the Bulge (commonly abbreviated BFTB) is a strategic command level computer wargame developed and by Panther Games in Australia and published by Matrix Games in 2010. The game is set around the historical WWII Western Front German offensive and Allied counter-offensive of 1944-45 launched through the Ardennes mountain region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg.

Historical Synopsis[edit]

During the bitter cold of winter just before Christmas, 1944, Nazi Germany launched their last major Western Front offensive of the Second World War, Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine"). The goal was to break the Allied line and push to Antwerp, Belgium. This would cut off the Allied forces to the north and force the Allied commanders to consider peace terms, allowing Nazi Germany to concentrate on the war on the Eastern Front with the Soviet Union.

The offensive caught the Allied forces by surprise as they too were developing and in the stages of implementing their own offensive plans to break the German line. The Allies had to re-evaluate and re-deploy their armies from the north shoulder to counter the offensive without air-support initially as poor weather conditions grounded the air force until conditions improved a few days later. Once the Allied air force was operational the Allied counter-offensive overwhelmed the German supply-lines, crippling the offensive and ensuring a German retreat.

Game-play[edit]

Command Ops: Battle from the Bulge is an operational Command level wargame played through a pausable real-time game engine that puts the player in the shoes of a Corps, Division and Brigade commander as you examine your intelligence and operational information, make your plans and deliver your orders to your subordinates.

The game stretches over twenty seven scenarios and maps that cover events and battles from the original German offensive right through to the Allied counter-offensive. The game allows for endless re-playability with a number of changeable scenario options including multiple random reinforcement schedules.

Players have the choice to micromanage their units or utilise the game's AI to macro-manage their armies as the game's AI can manage subordinate commanders and handle micromanagement for you. This sophistication enables you more time to strategies and assess your situation and to formulate the best plans going forward to achieve your objectives and claim ultimate victory over your enemy. However, if micromanagement is your thing you can still issue orders to individual battalions (units). Units have a number of can be adjustable parameters, including aggressiveness, rates of fire, loss tolerance, frontage and depth, as well as eight different adjustable formations, from road column to arrowhead attack.

The menu of commands a player has at their disposal is simple enough for a player to get right into the action: move, fire, bombard, seize bridge crossings and so on. Set the objective and the waypoints, and then sit back and watch the action as your plans are put through their paces. The AI will assemble and move troops according to historical (and sensible) doctrine for both the Allies and the Germans.[1]

Game functionality such as timing controls for coordinated tasks; realistic orders delay; automated bridge building; multiple re-supply priority settings; order of battle display; adjustable automated units and a whole lot more provides the player with an arsenal of tools and information to defeat your enemy on the battlefield, either the computer AI in single player mode or your mate in multiplayer head to head.

Reception[edit]

BFTB has received favourable reviews from online and print media publications as well as a number of awards:

Out of Eight (15 June 2010) 8/8 - Historical strategy fans should be playing this title for a long time thanks to its realism, detail, AI, and editing possibilities.[2]

Eurogamer.dk (3 June 2010) 9/10 - [Translated from Danish] ...a competent and flawless release that makes an already excellent war game even better.[3]

Cyberstratège (29 June 2010) 8/10 - [translated from French] ...it manages to be extremely innovative and has no real competition in its field with its innovative design choices.[4]

Gamers Hall (9 June 2010) 88% (Silver Award) - [Translated from German] "From The Bulge" is an intricate and comprehensive strategy... and a clear recommendation for hardcore gamers.[5]

PC Gamer (10 August 2010) 84% - Serious military strategy games don’t come any better than this.[6]

PC4WAR magazine (August - September 2010, N°45 edition) 9.5/10 - [translated from French] ... Battles from the Bulge is the best wargame on the actual market![7]

Armchair General (27 September 2010) 97% - Many games have the various elements Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge has such as, detailed unit features, timed objectives, issuing orders in a queue to upper echelon entities. However, Panther Games integrates them in such a way that this game sets the standard for all World War II tactical games[8]

Awards[edit]

2010 - Wargame of the Year Gold - Usenet’s War-Historical newsgroup[9]
2010 - Silver Award - Gamers Hall, Germany (gamershall.de)[10]
2010 - Best 20th Century Computer Game finalist - Charles S. Roberts Awards[11]

Expansions[edit]

Command Ops: Highway to the Reich[edit]

On 26 January 2012, Panther Games released the first official expansion pack for BFTB. Command Ops: Highway to the Reich consists of thirteen scenarios and content covered in the original two Airborne Assault titles Panther Games released (RDOA & HTTR), with these scenarios being upgraded to take advantage of the new Command Ops engine. This expansion pack covers all the major engagements along Hell's Highway during the Market Garden Campaign in the Netherlands, September 1944.

Command Ops: Highway to the Reich has had a number of positive reviews and awards including:

7idgaming.de (9 February 2012) 87% - [Translated from German] An intense epic strategy game that, with its gameplay and artificial intelligence is still without equal[12]

2012 - Wargame of the Year Silver - Usenet’s War-Historical newsgroup[13]

Command Ops: Conquest of the Aegean[edit]

On 22 April 2013, Panther Games revealed on their forum that they will be splitting the development of their new planned expansion pack for BFTB that will cover Conquest of the Aegean into two scenario packs coving the two theatres of war for the region.[14]

Pack one will consist of twenty scenarios and will cover Greece

  • Battle of the Pindos Bases
  • Blunting the Spear
  • Charge of the Centaurs
  • Cutting the Line
  • Elasson Rearguard
  • First Clash at Veve
  • First Clean Break
  • Foothills of the Gods
  • Gamble and Scramble
  • Intro 1 - Bridges to Lamia
  • Intro 2 - Setback and Rebound
  • Parachutes over Corinth
  • Pindos Historical Campaign
  • Pulling Tight the Noose
  • Spartans at the Pass
  • Springing the Trap
  • Stemming the Tide
  • Take the Pass
  • Tanks at Platamon
  • Tempe Gorge Crisis

Pack two will consist of fifteen scenarios and will cover the Mediterranean

  • Battle for the Maltese Cross
  • Clash of Armour
  • Folgore at Maleme
  • Iraklion Airfield Falls
  • Iraklion Historical Campaign
  • Kiwis Fight Back
  • Maleme Historical Campaign
  • Ray of Hope
  • Rethymnon Historical Campaign
  • Rethymnon Roadblock
  • Storm Over Iraklion
  • Trial By Combat
  • Leros
  • Cyprus
  • Battleaxe/Brevity

On 20 June 2013, the second expansion pack was officially released worldwide for digital download and boxed editions. Command Ops: Battles for Greece features nineteen historical and what-if scenarios coving the major battles of the early Italian invasion of Greece and the German invasion, Operation Marita, in 1941.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peck, Michael (10 August 2010) "Battle smarts: Top-notch AI puts command sim ahead of the pack". Defencenews.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  2. ^ Allan, James, 15 June 10, "Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge Review". Out of Eight. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  3. ^ Wiinholt, Martin, 3 June 2010, "Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge Review". Eurogamer.dk. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  4. ^ 29 June 2010, "Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge Review". Cyberstratege. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  5. ^ Spartan, 9 June 2010, "Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge". Gamershall.de. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  6. ^ Stone, Tim, 29 June 2010, "Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  7. ^ Ouimet, Michel, Aug-Sep 2010, pp.18-23, "Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge - L’angoisse du commandant". PC4WAR. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  8. ^ Cobb, Jim, 27 Sept 10, "Wargame of the Year 2010 – results". Armchair General. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  9. ^ Sterckx, Eddy, 17 Jan 11, "Wargame of the Year 2010 - results". Usenet’s War-Historical newsgroup. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  10. ^ Spartan, 9 June 2010, "Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge". Gamershall.de. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  11. ^ Best 20th Century Computer Game "CSR 2010". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  12. ^ Vasquez, 9 Feb 12, "Panther Games: Command Ops - Highway to the Reich REVIEW". 7idgaming. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  13. ^ Sterckx, Eddy, 17 Jan 13, "Wargame of the Year 2012 - results". Usenet’s War-Historical newsgroup. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  14. ^ Ajuna (David O'Connor), 22 April 13, "COTA to be split into two data packs". Matrix Games Forum. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  15. ^ Press Release, 20 June 13 "Command Ops Storms Greece!". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 

External links[edit]