Categories: strategy games
Brigade Commander was 1991 strategy game for Amiga computers, one of the first that was actually real-time strategy (RTS), which meant that while you are planning, giving orders, etc. those of your units that already have orders will execute them. But contrary to f.e. Command & Conquer in Brigade Commander the whole battlefield was covered with hexes, graphics were simple (even for 1991) which put off a lot of strategy buffs from looking into details of that game, which was a huge mistake.
First of all the game was simulating modern battlefield (there were scenarios describing World War III and Gulf War) and had few very interesting features, like mines and smoke screens. Of course there were mined in other games, but in Brigade Commander not only engineers units had the capability to create minefield, also artillery and vehicles. Similar story with smoke screens - most tanks were able to put up smoke screen and thus have chance to retreat under enemy fire - but also artillery units, rocket units, even helicopters or airplanes had that possibility (thus it was possible to give cover to units that could not put smoke screen themselves).
Engineer units had also their unique skills - to remove mines, clear the roads or build obstacles on the road so it would slow down the enemy. Every infantry unit had the option to embark on any vehicle that was capable of transporting other units (including helicopters, which gave the chance to drop them in completely different area and surprise enemy). And that was just a tip of the iceberg with Brigade Commander - yes the graphics were disappointing, sound was disappointing, but what was going on on strategy level was simply great.
There were defined scenarios and units to simulate modern battlefield, but the game had also great editor that gave the chance to create new maps, create new scenarios and... create new units. In the editor it was possible to simply define completely new units using all the parameters available in the game - f.e. maximum speed in travel, can this unit be transported or transport other units, can place mines or smoke, can it swim, how much time does it take to prepare for transport or to start fire, is it armored, maximal firing range, etc. With those parameters available it was possible to simply create any kind of unit not only from modern battlefield, but even from Vietnam War, World War 2 and even further back - your imagination was the limit.
Few of those parameters were very important during the battle, f.e. time needed to prepare to fire - you could have armored vehicles capable of firing anti-aircraft guns or missiles and thus defend from enemy airplanes and helicopters, but if the unit was travelling by the time enemy airforce showed up the unit must have stopped and prepare for fire. If the danger was gone it took some time to prepare for travel again. Most of the armored vehicles were capable of taking infantry on board, but only if they had enough space for whole platoon, same story with helicopters.
In most of the battles there were options to use the support units, f.e. airplanes, heavy artillery or rockets. They were placed outside the map, there were time limitations for them (how much time does it take for them do arrive to battlefield or begin the bombardement or how long breaks between each attack). Also, just like any other unit, they had the ammo limitations, so if you used them all at the beginning of the battle you had no support for the rest of it.
With all of those possibilities and the wide range of editor options it was a game to spend months playing battles - kind of Harpoon, but on land - not very impressive on first glance, but really kicked ass when you get to know the details.
Brigade Commander gameplay