Storm Across Europe is 1989 grand strategy game developed by famous Strategic Simulations, Inc.. The game is simulating World War 2 (one of the first grand strategy computer games to cover this conflict) from the perspective of Nazi Germany (with option to switch two computer players, Allies and Soviet Union, to be played by human). Few scenarios were available to choose the starting point - default was Autumn 1939 when Germans have invaded Poland.
Each year of the conflict was split into four turns that represented the seasons and at the beginning of each turn player was planning strategic moves of the army, navy and airforce, setting up the production for upcoming months and the research priorities. Unfortunately there was no option of diplomacy - the scenarios assumed that there is already war between all the players.
With simple graphics and simplified management options the game seemed uninteresting, but just like in most cases of classic games the power of Storm Across Europe was in the details. Even though the map of Europe was split into quite large parts the game was covering many aspects of World War 2, f.e. each of the areas has its own industry points and raw materials points that were needed to keep the war production and weapon research. Also each of the area had its garrison forces that kept the local population of occupied countries under control and if garrison was strong enough there were no partisans forces behind our lines.
Land forces were represented on army level with each of the armies using infantry, tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and air support. The outcome of the battles was simple info on losses on both sides and decision if the offensive was successful or not. At the same time it was possible to attach paratrooper units to the armies, which alone were able to be dropped behind enemy lines to support ground offensive. With limited resources for Nazi player it was important to choose wisely the targets - blitzkrieg on France gave the access to the industry and raw materials of that country (all it took is to take over Paris), while invading Yugoslav took less forces, but the gain was considerably lower. Also while playing against two opponents it was difficult to spread the forces on two long fronts (keeping units in Normandy to prevent invasion and at the same time pushing Soviets at the east).
Airforce part of the game was particularly simple, yet very interesting. We have only two types of planes - fighters and bombers - but we can place the airfields anywhere, f.e. split the forces between France, eastern front and African front. Fighters could be used to hunt (defend own airspace or have skirmishes with enemy fighters) or escort bombers in their missions. Bombers could be used to attack enemy industry (to slow down his production) or enemy airbases (to destroy his airforce before it can attack). Of course anti-aircraft defence was important to cover all the key areas of the country. There were two weapons to be researched in the airforce - rockets and atomic bombs.
Navy had least details, yet there were five types of ships - fleets (heavy warships), escorts (destroyers), naval transports (merchant ships to transport loads between ports), amphibious transports (to surprise enemy with landing forces) and submarines (to sink enemy merchants and warships). Submarines and fleets were designated to specific areas to hunt the enemy forces, rest of the ships were transfered between ports and helped to transport the units.
All of the above had little details, yet it was perfect mixture to keep the players happy for long time - surrounded by enemies, with limited resources it was hard to deal with every detail of the growing area that was invaded. Also the Axis countries were joining the war, although their armies were rather poor, so with the German forces you had to deal with Allied airforce in the west, Soviet ground forces in the east and try to gain area in the Northern Africa.
Classic game that was example to later titles such as Clash of Steel and the Hearts of Iron games. Like many other games in 1980s and early 1990 the simple graphics were deceiving at first glance, but it was a brilliant game.
Storm Across Europe