Two plucky underdogs enter the fight.
Genre: Strategy, Simulation
Developer: Veitikka Studios
Publisher: Slitherine Ltd.
Release date: 9 May, 2019
The first of the (at the time of writing) two DLCs for Armored Brigade adds two new nations, Yugoslavia and Italy, and a new map, set at the Italian/Yugoslavian border. If you’ve played Armored Brigade you know what to expect here, this DLC does not revolutionize the game, it just adds more stuff, that functions similarly to what’s in the base game. That’s not to say that this is just retreading old ground though. The two new nations do feel different to play compared to any of the nations that were available in the base game, and the new map has some regions that are quite different to the ones that were already available.
The two new nations, Italy and Yugoslavia are interesting twists on the established formula. Both rely heavily on outdated equipment, with both vehicles and guns that belongs in museums, not on the battlefield. Yet somehow, they make it work.
Yugoslavia probably has the most eclectic mix of equipment of any nation, possibly with the exception of Finland, using World war 2 equipment from both the western Allies and the Soviet Union. Where else can you see an M18 Hellcat and a T34 fight side by side? Fighting alongside these outdated vehicles, you also have cheap infantry that can swarm the enemy, similarly to the Polish. While Yugoslavia does not have the best equipment, or the most well-trained troops, they do have a bit of everything, and can put up a very balanced force, that has the mobility to take ground, and the manpower and staying power to hold it. Just don’t except their tanks to be able to win a duel with the more advanced vehicles of the US or USSR at a long range.
Whereas Yugoslavia feels like a well-balanced force that can take the fight to the enemy, Italy feels more defensive-oriented. With a few exceptions, their vehicles are, much like those in Yugoslavia, a bit outdated, although they do at least not rely on WW2-era tanks (the same can’t be said for their guns though, with the MG42 being a common weapon to find in their infantry squads). Adding to their defensive playstyle is a lack of fast-moving, armored tank hunters, and some surprisingly solid dismounted infantry. Italy lacks the punching power to take out heavily armored vehicles at a long range, but wandering into their territory is dangerous.
The new map is a bit of a weird one. A large part in the south is taken up by water, which makes it impossible to fight on (unless they add boats and ships in the future. Please make this happen!), and in the north, on the Yugoslavian side, you’ve got mountainous terrain that’s so hard to navigate that you can’t generate fights there, as there’s no way to move across it. This means that a good chunk of it is impossible to use. The map is still large enough, and has enough varied terrain that you can create some great battles though, with the hilly terrain on the Yugoslavian side contrasting nicely with the more flat and densely populated areas on the Italian side.
Armored Brigade was an amazing game, and adding more stuff to it is never a bad thing. This DLC won’t change your mind about the game if you don’t already liked it, all the same mechanics are still in place, and playing the game with these new factions is not radically different from playing any of the ones that were in the base game. But they’re different enough to still make this a worthwhile purchase for anyone who wants more Armored Brigade.
In my description above, I talked a lot about the outdated equipment these two nations have, and while that is a drawback, somehow I still found both Italy and Yugoslavia to be surprisingly strong nations, capable of going toe to toe with the US and USSR. In fact, somehow I was doing better with these nations than the big two. Maybe it was because these have such clear weaknesses, which made it more obvious how they should be played? It’s hard to tell, but these did not strike me as underpowered, even if they look weak at first glance.