Unity of Command is a really good game—among the best wargames of all time, in our view—but it's been quite awhile since it came out. The good news for grognards is that a sequel is in the works, and developer Tomislav Uzelac has begun talking about what he's got cooking in the debut development diary on the Unity of Command blog.
Uzelac acknowledged that it's a bit unusual to begin writing a development diary for a game that hasn't even been properly announced, but he doesn't seem too bothered by the idea of doing things out of order. And the concepts he discusses are fairly abstract, and relate as much to planned changes to imperfect Unity of Command systems as they do to any dramatic new directions the sequel might take. In particular, he examines how the abstraction of combat in Unity of Command can lead to the appearance of "excessive bloodiness" in on the battlefield.
"In quite a few scenarios, it is possible to wipe the enemy off the map completely," he wrote. "You may, for example, get the wrong impression that Barbarossa was a series of complete wipeouts, and that Germans from time to time just stopped, for no particular reason other than to let the Soviets put up yet another defensive line in front of them."
To counter this, the sequel will enable players to reconstitute units under some circumstances, and the Combat Result Table will be tweaked to allow for more retreats and less outright losses. The "repulsed attack" rule from Unity of Command 1.1 will be dropped, while a new "deliberate attack" mechanic will simulate long-term attacks on entrenched positions.
"I feel that between reconstituting steps and the CRT being tuned more toward unit survival, we ll be able to achieve a realistically messy endgame situation on the battlefield (as opposed to frequent wipeouts)," he wrote. "A possible problem with retreats being more likely is that, sometimes, you really really want a unit to hold its ground. To make that possible, there will be a no retreat mechanic, which is conceptually similar to what the NKVD specialists currently do, except there s a limited number of uses."
Uzelac also made a brief mention of the need to make changes in victory conditions to motivate defenders to preserve their forces during a game's final turns, but said that's a topic for another post. There's no mention yet of when the currently untitled project is being aimed for, but we'll be keeping tabs on it. Literally. I have a tab open right now.