The date is 6th June 1944, the location is the coast of Normandy. In CCS' latest strategy wargame, Overlord, you are the commander in charge of the Allied forces about to undertake one of the most historic battles in World War 2 - the invasion of Normandy.
One of the very first decisions you'll have to take is at what level to play the computer opponent. (Not that it matters at first because whether you choose level one, two or three the computer is likely to hammer you in your very first game). Next, the screen will clear and a map of Normandy will be displayed. This is the playing area and extends to the left and right to display major French cities and rivers. Also placed to the left and right to display types of terrain - an all important factor in the battle ahead. The computer is in command of all German forces - a small amount will be placed in a defensive role on the coastline, and by using the cursor keys you can scroll the screen in all directions to locate the rest. The German force consists of infantry and armoured units and at any point you can identify which is which - German reinforcements further inland cannot always be identified i.e. you know there are some on the way by a small German symbol, but you can't be sure what they are.
Deploying your troops is a simple process. You have access to different units of American, Canadian and British forces and one of the major decisions to be taken will be what to land, and on which beach to land it. Access to all beaches is possible at first, you don't have to follow history at all. Landing troops is simply a process of accessing a division, and then selecting one of 5 beaches by pressing a key from A to E.
Because you have such a wide range of divisions, you also have several airborne units at your disposal - they exist in the US 7th and British 2nd Army. Before any movement takes place, you'll have to decide where to land these units. It's a pretty liberal process provided they land somewhere close to an allied beach.
All action in Overlord takes place in 'turns'. The first turn is taken up by positioning of troops and airborne divisions and you cannot move as yet. Once the computer has had its go, control will be passed back to the player and all units will have landed on the beaches. At this point the battle really begins. Orders should now be sent to each of your units, a series of key presses will access each division in turn. You can now order them to move in a specific direction by setting a centre point and left and right flank points. This means that once movement takes place, all units in that specific division will head for the set centre point and follow the flank. Obviously, if you only have one division on the map, it will head solely for the centre point. If two are present they will split up and head one for each flank.
Such orders should be sent to each army that has landed. You will also have to tell the units whether to attack or defend if they meet any German forces whilst on the move. Attack will mean a thrust no matter what the size of the opposition; defend gives you the advantage because allowances are made for what sort of terrain is present; thirdly there's a discretion order where the unit will only attack if profitable.
At this point you can access details of units, the terrain present and can also scan the map for German forces. When in combat their morale acts as an indicator of the units' present strength i.e. If the morale of an attacking unit is lower than that of a defending unit, the attacking unit will come off worse.
The game continues in this manner until either all German units or Allied units are destroyed or until the Allies reach the righthand side of the map and are victorious. Reinforcements for the Allied forces can be landed provided beaches are still in Allied control and new beaches can be used if the player manages to capture the ground.
Overlord is a clever strategy game - the more thought the player puts into new movements, the more progress is made.
Author: Ken Wright
Reviewer: Jon Riglar
An atmospheric and entertaining game, fans of World War 2 scenarios will love it.