The 1980’s was a decade that was smack-dab in the middle of the Cold War. Able Archer 83 was a NATO exercise in Western Europe, simulating the conflict escalation up to DEFCON 1 and nuclear war. The Soviet Union presumed that those manoeuvers were a ruse for launching a surprise attack on the eastern bloc.
Therefore, the Soviets increased their readiness to the highest level, prepping the nuclear arsenal for their own pre-emptive attack. Fortunately, common sense prevailed, and the situation was de-escalated. Sound familiar? Let’s hope the current escalations between East and West de-escalates as well.
Developer Eugen Systems has made a number of games that simulate what would have happened if the Cold War had gone hot, such as Wargame: European Escalation, Wargame: AirLand Battle, and its latest effort, Warno. There was also World in Conflict, a little less serious but still excellent RTS that came a few years before the first Wargame.
Regiments, a real-time tactical wargame, is very similar to any of Eugen’s flagship titles. The publisher is a newly resurgent MicroProse, a label that rose from the ashes after a couple of decades of hibernation. But same as resurrected Nokia, this doesn’t seem like the MicroProse from the good old days.
Their recent portfolio is a mixed bag, with brilliant High Fleet followed by the so-so Carrier Command 2. And now this newer title feels like Wargame: AirLand battle. They may have to do better than this to become worthy of the legend associated with Eugen.
In Regiments, it’s 1989 and it’s war o’clock on the border between East and West Germany. Through several multi-stage operations, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the escalation from both sides of the conflict. From the initial skirmish to the major offensive maneuvers, you’ll rotate between NATO and Warsaw Pact HQ-s, directing the important tactical manoeuvers in the theatre of operations.
The keyword here is “tactical” since you’ll be commanding regimental-sized forces, at least in theory. Authentic OOB (order of battle) is modified to minimize micromanagement, so those “regiments” are, at most, reinforced battalions comprising several hundred personnel.
The units present in this game are structured similarly to Wehrmacht Kampfgruppen, if you are more familiar with WWII combat formations. Each consist of several elements: recce, armored, mechanized infantry, artillery, assault engineers, etc. You have limited opportunity to customize your forces before the battle.
In this game, the main regimental body is predetermined, but you can augment it by adding independent companies such as heavy tanks or command elements by investing in Operational Authority points. You can also use those to improve the deployment pool, enabling more forces in the field at any given time. Points are helpful in altering a few other attributes, such as lowering off-map artillery/close air support cooldowns; or purchasing increased engineering support, which is indispensable for placing pillboxes and obstacles in defensive missions.
In Regiments, once the battle is joined, you’ll notice that the game look stunningly similar to Eugen’s Wargames. It’s pretty impressive that the developer managed to clone Wargame’s look and feel using Unity instead of Eugen’s proprietary IRISZOOM engine.
The most significant difference, gameplay-wise, is that you can’t control individual vehicles here. The smallest tactical unit is the platoon; in the case of, say, mechanized infantry, it’s 2-4 vehicles with 20+ soldiers.
Besides simplifying micromanagement, it presents you with a tactical choice after you suffer casualties. Maneuvering units, calling for off-map support, getting points for destroying the enemy, and other systems work identically, so if you have previous experience with the Wargame series, you’ll benefit from instant familiarity.
Inhabiting the objectives on the map enables you to accumulate OP points. You’ll be using those between phases to patch up the force, upgrade reinforcing companies, or further enhance operational capabilities.
In the end, Regiments is a decent war game that is slower paced than Eugen’s titles, which allows you to take your time and strategize more. This is one of the things it does better. Therefore, if those gamers who are desperately searching for any new wargame dealing with the start of WWIII in Europe, Regiments might satisfy their hunger for a while, but without multiplayer, it may not be enough to bite into.
Regiments is available on PC (Steam).
So, get those gaming PCs ready for action!
Score: 7 out of 10.
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