Strategic Command World War I: Walkthrough & Guide

General concepts and a basic walkthrough for both sides.

 

Suggested Settings for First Game

For the purposes of this guide I will assume these settings are made with everything else being left on default.

Fog of War: I never play with fog of war enabled. Maybe a controversial choice but I find it annoying, especially for naval war. Plus having to recon every turn is a pain. In any case having it disabled makes things much easier to understand at least for your first game.

Soft Built Limits: Each nation has a cap for each type of unit based on historical factors. Example, Germany has a higher limit on artillery units than Bulgaria. A “soft build limit” lets you build past these caps with increasing cost. If soft build is off then you’re stuck with the caps. I like being able to tailor production to my preferences so I leave soft build on.

Victory Events: This is purely a personal preference but I turn off the victory events. By default when you accomplish scenario objectives the game instantly ends. I like the option of continuing to curb-stomp the enemy so I turn these off. On the settings page click “advanced”, then “scripts”, scroll down to “victory” on the left, disable everything.

General Priorities

This game does a great job of simulating the limitations of WWI offensives. Huge, sweeping attacks will not work until the very late game when your have successfully exhausted enemy reserves. Always think in terms of attrition. Destroying enemy units while preserving yours is more important than taking territory. Territorial gains will come naturally as you kill. Everything comes down to how many MPP you’re spending versus how many you’re forcing your opponent to spend.

The best strategy is to build stable fronts, hold while researching the right technologies, and then start grinding the enemy down with artillery support.

As a side note, air units are worthless. I suppose if you play with fog of war on you need to recon but I find that annoying so play with FOW off and suggest you do the same. Don’t bother with airships or bombers, only build a few fighters to stop enemy air attacks on your troops.

Priority 1: Stabilize the front
Your first goal for any given front is to make sure you have a continuous line of entrenched infantry corps with enough reserve corps to rotate out damaged units. Ideally make it as straight as possible so you have few units exposed to three enemy hexes. Position reserves near any units that are exposed to three enemies. These are where the line is most likely to break. Withdraw any units exposed to four or more. In the early game you’ll receive many free corps via “mobilization events”. Each nation will have to build several more.

Priority 2: Research
Once the front is secure you’ll need to research to reduce the costs of holding your line (losses and therefore reinforcement) and the right artillery techs to allow attacks. Max out research with MPP left over after fronts are secured. I suggest this priority.

A: Trench Warfare: this will save you a bundle on reinforcement and make enemy attacks meaningless for quite a while. It’s also cheap and fast to research. Spending on this should be maxed out for all nations at all times.

B: Artillery Weapons: The most important offensive tech. It’s absolutely pointless to attack entrenched enemies until you have at least one level researched. Artillery need least one upgrade to reduce enemy entrenchment with each shelling. Keep maxed until you get the first upgrade then spend what you can.

C: Gas/Shell Production: Directly increases the effectiveness of artillery. By default each artillery unit gets one shell per turn. Each level of this tech increases that by 1. So the first level doubles the amount of shelling you can do. Doesn’t necessarily have to be maxed but spend what you can.

D: Industrial Technology: Increases the MPP generated per turn. It’s enough to make a huge difference

D.1: Anti-Submarine Warfare: I put this as a “sub” level because this is only a high priority for the UK. German U-Boats will come after your convoys and you’ll need upgraded destroyers to beat them. Everyone else can ignore entirely or do so with low priority.

E: Logistics: The important thing this does is allow artillery to hold one more shell at max. Any shells generated above the max storage limit are wasted. Important as shell production increases.

F: Production Technology: Reduces build costs. Obviously nice but makes less of an impact than industrial tech.

H: Optional/Nice to Have: Once your front is secure and you’re on the offensive it’s good to throw some extra points into these… Anti-Submarine Warfare (for everyone other than UK), Infantry Weapons, Infantry Warfare, Command and Control, Fighter Development. IMO everything else is unnecessary.

Priority 3: Limited Diplomacy
With entrenched infantry holding the enemy off at minimal cost and research buzzing along it’s time for some spending on diplomacy. I advocate for only small expenditure. Most nations entering the war are pretty strongly scripted in their behavior. Example, Italy will join the allies. Ottomans will join Central. USA will join Allies late in the game. Several smaller nations (Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal) will join based on how the war is going. Truly neutral nations like Sweden, Persia, Spain, etc will take a *massive* investment to bring in. It takes forever and it’s not worth it.

The spending that makes sense is that which will repay itself and give extra. IMO this is only the case with the countries you can trade with (Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden). You can see who is sending resources using War Maps –> Convoy Map.

Netherlands (Germany only): 65/turn
Sweden (either side): 30/turn
Norway (either side): 18/turn
Denmark (either side): 10/turn

In total this is a huge number. As the Allies, plow some money into making Netherlands lean slightly Allied so they stop sending Germany money. Then work on Norway/Denmark as they start at 0% so any movement ends their trade. Then do Sweden. These three will then send money to the UK which is a nice bonus. As Central play defensively. Netherlands and Sweden are safe unless you see that the Allies are spending. Shore up Denmark and Norway so the Allies can’t cut off trade.

Priority 4: ATTACK
Finally it’s time to crush the enemy. This will be a gradual process. Victory comes from sustainably killing more than the enemy can replace.

The primary tool you will need is artillery with at least one upgrade point. Position your art such that it can hit enemies exposed to three of your corps. Then bombard at least until the enemy has zero entrenchment and then attack with corps. It’s as simple as that. You should be killing 5:1 in no time.

Remember that taking land in itself doesn’t accomplish anything. If your units are damaged or have low readiness do not advance them into the hex the enemy just retreated from. Your guys will be sitting ducks with zero entrenchment facing rested enemies.

You’ll probably only take a hex or two each turn at first. Gradually things will speed up as your tech improves and you build more art. Don’t be afraid to pay through the nose for more artillery units. The amount of artillery you’re able to build will be the limiting factor in the advance.

Keep pressing. At some point the enemy won’t have enough units to maintain a continuous front. This is when the collapse comes. Typically by the time this happens their national morale is so low that they’ll surrender quickly.

Allies General Strategy

Allies Overview:
Playing as the Allies is a much easier game than playing as Central. Time is on your side. The Central Powers appear to be in a much better position than they are at game start. You outproduce your enemies and the disparity will grow as more countries join you. The Allies also receive many more free units via mobilization events.

Strategically there’s no equivalent to the CP rush to beat up on France then run over and beat Russia. As the Allies you just stabilize your fronts, research the rights techs, then overwhelm the Central Powers from all sides.

Typically the Western Front will be where the war is won. Russia and Italy can go on the offensive but usually France + UK will be able to get rolling with good artillery support faster, meaning that Germany will collapse in the west first and surrender.

As far as convoys you should max out convoys from UK to Russia. Don’t bother sending resources to Serbia.

Naval Strategy:
At sea you have superiority in both the North Sea (versus Germany) and the Mediterranean (against Austria and Ottomans). Put a few destroyers within range of the German navy and try to lure them out so you can crush them. If they come, great, you can kill them. If not it doesn’t matter. They’ll just harmlessly sit in port. Same strategy for your Mediterranean fleet versus Austria and Ottomans. The Med will be especially easy once Italy enters the war with their fleet.

The only problem at sea will be Germans subs going after UK convoys. Rush ASW tech for UK and build a few extra destroyers as needed.

Don’t worry about maintaining the blockade against Germany. The amount of NM damage is minuscule.

Fronts from an Allied Perspective

Western Front:
At start Germany will overrun most of Belgium and possibly a piece of Northern France. Don’t worry too much about it there’s not much you can do. Rush French corps north and don’t be afraid to pay for rail to Bolougne, Verdun, and Ypres. Keep a line of corps/detachments in the south to keep Germans from penetrating there as well. You’ll receive many free corps as France mobilizes so don’t panic. Even a mediocre player can stop Germany about where they were stopped historically.

Once you have a continuous line of corps facing Germany with some reserves just hold the line while you research artillery with France and the UK. When you have upgraded artillery you can start grinding the Germans down. Clear out Belgium then advance into Germany. This will probably be where you win the war as Germany will collapse quickly as you take their western cities.

Eastern Front:
Make a quick thrust into Austrian Galicia to take Tarnopol, the Galician oilfields, and possibly Lemberg. These represent like 15% of Austria’s total production so you’ll be happy to grabbed these. You should be able to overrun the few Austrian units there. Once this is done just dig in.

Build a continuous line of corps and entrench from the Baltic to the Romanian border. Germany will periodically kill some of your units but don’t worry. Once you establish a reasonable line the Germans can take a piece of land here or there or even a few towns. It doesn’t matter. Russia just needs to survive while France/UK destroy Germany. You shouldn’t have to give up much territory.

Later in the game Russia can usually go on the offensive. With secure fronts and research buzzing you can build a few artillery and retake whatever you lost and then attack in East Prussia (German area north of Poland) to even out the front.

Serbian Front:
Dig in and wait out the war. Only attack if you’re presented with something like a 3:1 opportunity after the Austrians rail in an unprepared unit. Don’t try to take ground. Make sure to max out trench warfare for Serbia. If Bulgaria joins the war Serbia might be knocked out of the war. It doesn’t matter that much. Serbia’s entire role is to divert CP forces from other fronts.

Later in the game Greece will join which will allow you to deploy UK artillery to this front. It can be a worthwhile investment as long as it doesn’t divert resources which would be used on the Western Front.

Italian Front:
Italy will join you in mid 1915. They are in no position to do much of anything at first. The CP are good about garrisoning the border plus the narrow fronts between mountain tiles are hard to attack through.

Be patient. Build a stable front with all infantry corps, research artillery, then advance on Trieste. Once you take this you can break out and possibly take Vienna. This combined with Russian pressure can knock Austria out of the war.

Caucuses Front:
Dig in along the border and sit. You;’l receive several free units when the Ottomans join Central. Send a few more detachments/corps as needed. Remember that the front with Germany/Austria is the priority for Russia. Ottomans are harmless.

Egyptian Front:
Dig in along the canal and wait. Make sure to position your HQ to boost supply for your front line. The Ottomans rarely build artillery so this should be an easy front to hold. If you want you can send an artillery later in the war and make some offensive progress.

Mesopotamia:
Pointless front with nothing meaningful to gain. Just leave the free units you get and wait out the war.

Central Powers General Strategy

Central Powers Overview:
The Central Powers is definitely a harder game than the Allies. The Allies have more production than CP and will recruit Italy and eventually the US to increase the disparity even further. The advantage CP has is their very centrality. They can focus all offensive resources on one opponent at a time.

The obvious question is who to attack first. I advocate for a limited version of the Schlieffen plan (Belgium + Northern France) and simultaneous attack on Serbian Belgrade, followed by destruction of Russia and Serbia. Once Russia’s out pivot back and finish off France.

Why not attack Russia right at the start? The fact is you come in late in Germany’s planning. At the start of the game Germany is already 90% deployed for the historical Schlieffen attack on Belgium and France. France has it’s nothern border undefended. This represents a rare opportunity to rapidly conquer resources defended only by small numbers of unentrenched enemies. It’s a valuable enough opportunity that I violate my own rules and advocate for an attack without sufficient artillery support. Another point is that the Allies will eventually attack Germany through Belgium anyway. So it makes sense to grab a position of strength before the 2-3 year stalemate in the west.

As far as resource distribution max out convoys from Germany to Austria. Once you crush Serbia you can send resources from Austria to Ottomans which is more of a judgement call.

Naval Strategy:
At sea keep the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) near German North Sea ports at start. Put out some destroyers as bait and engage any ships the Royal Navy (UK) sends at you. You should be able to whittle them down and eventually achieve superiority. This will be a slow game. UK will send ships onsey-twosey. Always bring damaged ships back to port and repair. You won’t need to build any more ships as long as you maintain your starting boats and the free ones you get.

Don’t send u-boats out to attack convoys early on. They’re much better as a first wave to attack enemy dreadnoughts. Don’t worry about the blockade either. NM damage is minimal and will be more than made up for by boosts from victories on the continent.

Once it’s clear that you have more naval power than the UK move your navy to the English Channel and block the French ports. Voila, UK can’t reinforce France anymore. You can also shift u-boats to convoy attack duty.

The Austrian navy is useless. Just leave it in port unless the Allies send isolated ships into the Adriatic which you can overwhelm. Generally speaking all the Austrian navy can do is get destroyed and cost morale points.

Fronts from a Central Powers Perspective

The Western Front
As mentioned in the CP strategy intro, I suggest an immediate attack in the west. Deploy all German forces on the Belgian frontier. Put cavalry in front. Declare war on Belgium immediately.

In the initial attack focus on pushing troops through the gap north of France’s main defenders. Lead the charge with cavalry.

The full Schlieffen plan (taking Paris and knocking France out of the war) will not work in 1914. At least I have never been able to make it work. What you can do easily is establish a line that runs from somewhere around Boulogne, just north of Verdun, then down your original border to Switzerland. This means that the Allies lose the resources of Belgium and northern France while you gain them. This is extremely important because you’re going to face a stalemate here for the next few years so this money adds up.

Once things stabilize and you’re facing a continuous front of entrenched infantry you should leave line of your own with a few reserve corps and HQ’s and operate everyone else to the Eastern Front for the slog against Russia.

When Russia surrenders operate everyone back and annihilate the French. It will be late in the war so you should only attack with full artillery support. Only attack enemies when their entrenchment is zero, their readiness is low, and you can hit them with several corps. This will be a slow process. Just keep at it and take NM objectives. France will surrender fairly soon after you take Paris.

The Eastern Front
This is the other big one. It’s this front that will make a new player panic at the start of the game. Don’t worry, Russia can’t get an attack together for several turns anywhere other than Galicia (NE Austria-Hungary).

For the Germans take your starting corps/detachments and stick them in your border towns. Some in East Prussia, at least Gumbinen, will be overrun but that doesn’t matter. After killing Belgium/N France you’ll have plenty of guys to ship East to retake whatever you lose and more.

Austria is a little trickier. Russia will immediately attack the Galician oilfields and make a go at Lemberg. It’s vital that you hold this area. Lemberg + Galician oil is 10% of Austrian production. Plus if you lose Lemberg Romania will eventually join the Allies which causes a massive headache.
Austria’s starting forces plus those which will be mobilized are enough to hold the area. You can also ship some Germans in. Just make sure to have entrenched corps holding Galician Oilfields, Lemberg, and Prezemzyl.

Once you have Germans brought over from France and some artillery the the best place to attack is Poland. Advance slowly, blasting with artillery before attacks. Keep killing and killing. It’ll take until 1916/1917 but Russia will surrender as you advance. You’ll see Russian NM dissipate from month to month.

DO NOT agree to the Lenin/Bolshevik event. It slightly speeds up Russian surrender but introduces periodic national morale-damaging events for both Germany and Austria. There’s no reason to make yourself race against the clock when you still have to beat France. For this event to fire you have to already be winning against Russia so it doesn’t do much for you. Say no to the events and force the Russians to surrender through continued murder.

The Serbian Front
The best early move is to take Belgrade to permanently weaken Serbia before the ensuing stalemate. When the deployment event fires choose to send troops to the Serbian front. You can also move four corps over next to Belgrade and take on turn 2. I’ve never been able to take on turn 1.

Once Belgrade is taken establish a line of entrenched corps facing Belgrade. You can rail in detachments to guard Sarajevo, Catarro, and in general the western area. Take the extra corps and rail to defend Galicia from the Russians. Serbia then becomes purely defensive for awhile.

Once the war on the Eastern Front is progressing nicely I usually take a few artillery and corps and conquer Serbia. It should be a sideshow, don’t let it drain too many resources. Bulgaria will join as you take more towns from Serbia.

Montenegro is also with the Allies. Albania and Greece will join them. Go ahead and destroy all three after plowing through the Serbs.

The Caucasian Front
As with all Ottoman fronts this should be a purely defensive theater. There’s no rail connection that leads here plus mountains make the supply situation horrible. From turn 1, even before the Ottomans join the war in late 1914, start marching Ottoman troops toward this front. Because there’s no rail it’ll take several turns. You’ll be glad you have these guys at the border when Ottos join the war.

Keep HQ’s in Erzerum and Van. Entrench your guys and wait out the war.

The Egyptian Front
When Ottomans join the war rail corps down to Gaza and the desert tiles to the south. Make sure your guys are on DESERT, not DUNE tiles. Dune does not allow any entrenchment.

Don’t try to advance. Ottos don’t have artillery and won’t for quite some time. The supply situation favors you, make the Brits sit in the dunes, unentrenched, with terrible supply. Just leave your guys parked and defend.

The Brits might eventually deploy an artillery here and improve their supply situation. This means they’ll be able to destroy your units and advance. If this happens then invest in an artillery of your own and go on a slow offensive.

Mesopotamia
Defend. Use your starting units and hold as far south as you can. It helps to make an extra corp or two to walk down as well, but only do so after the Caucuses and Egyptian fronts are completely secure.

The Italian Front
Italy will join the Allies in mid 1915 unless you agree to give them Austrian territory. I suggest refusing. The Austrian NM damage from giving up the territory is extreme. Austrian soldiers essentially become useless and they’ll need Germans to defend everything. The Italian Front is perfect defensive terrain anyway, very easy to hold.

From early 1915 start moving what you can to this front. You’ll need corps for the open terrain in the East (near Klagenfurt and Trieste) and for Trento. Use existing cavalry or detachments for the rest. You’ll get three free detachments in early 1915 in this area.

This should be another defensive front for the CP. It’s pretty easy to hold given how narrow the non-mountainous areas are. Just dig in and sit.

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