Revolution Under Siege

This is a strategy game for hardcore fans of the genre, and only hardcore fans of the genre.

By Buckley, Posted 16 Apr 2011
The Russian Civil War took place from 1917-1923, spanning the battle between the Soviet Red Army and the anti-Bolshevik White Army that followed the collapse of the Russian government. This is the setting that the old-school turn-based board game-style Revolution Under Siege operates in; it is a historical trip through a war that has been largely untapped in the world of gaming. But there are more than a few roadblocks keeping the fun factor out of this title.
This game is complex. Unless you are already a hardcore turn-based historical war strategist, there is a giant learning curve here. Expect to spend a good amount of time on a set of three tutorials that cover the most basic aspects of the interface and gameplay. But even as you could easily spend at least two hours on these tutorials alone, they don't cover enough. The tutorials themselves admit at certain points that you will have to read the manual to learn about aspects that they won't cover.

RUS Screen 1

After some baptism-by-fire learning in-game, you'll piece together that Revolution Under Siege offers only loose resource management and puts all of its micromanaging eggs into the combat unit basket. But the moment that you realize that you're not actually required to micromanage every aspect of the game is also met with your first sigh of relief. You'll have more than your hands full while managing the myriad of combat units: infantry, cavalry, artillery, armored trains, supply wagons, boats, airplanes, and more. Each one of these units has a unique movement rate, offensive power, defensive power, morale, strength, and what feels like endless other variables. They each also need to be in certain areas under appropriate chains of command and meeting particular supply requirements.
Your job is to manage every last one of these attributes. In order to make sure that infantry soldiers and other combat units are working to their potential, you will need to assign divisional commanders to their regiments. From there, you'll need to assign generals to command corps of the divisions. And after that, you'll be choosing a general to lead the armies of the corps of the divisions. There is further micromanaging within as far as the size of groups that each particular general is capable of commanding, and how much experience he has or what bonuses he provides to his soldiers.
Once you've covered that, then you'll be worrying about military control of regions to make sure that units and supplies can pass through. And then there are the aspects of civilian loyalty and national morale. There's really too many aspects here to list. As mentioned earlier, a large amount of them aren't even covered by the lengthy tutorials. Regardless, all of these need to be taken into account in order to meet the victory conditions of a secenario. Sound daunting? It is. You're guaranteed more than a few deer-in-headlights moments while trying to make sense of it all.

RUS Screen 2

While the presentation of the game will tickle the nostalgia of some hardcore fans of the genre, it's not particularly pretty. The world is decidedly flat and plain-looking. The combat units are identified by cards on the map in their particular locations. Many of the interface buttons are too small to identify a discernable image on them, so you'll be relying on mouse-over tooltips until you learn to match button locations with functions. Yet even with the absence of complex 3D rendering, zooming out of the map and scrolling will result in slow and choppy performance.
The setting is accompanied by a pleasing soundtrack comprised of old recordings of mostly a capella Russian music performed by large choirs. It adds great authenticity to the experience of operating within such a prominent time in Russian history. A small gripe with this would be the less-than-stellar shuffle function that governs the musical playlist. It is not uncommon to hear the same song twice, or even three times in a row. However, sound does not play a particularly important role in this game, so feel free to crank whatever tunes you choose if you don't fancy the included ones.

RUS Screen 3

There is a decent amount of playable content included with the title. There are seven different scenarios, and each can be be played from different roles with different victory conditions. Each can also be quite lengthy, as turns will often require much tooling and strategizing before continuing forward. It is also moddable, and encourages community participation on their official website.
Revolution Under Siege will overwhelm you with meticulous details during many of your initial playthroughs. A lot of thought went into it, but it doesn't necessarily result in an enjoyable experience. There are moments of exciting triumph to be found, but the amount of what feels like work that is put in to get there doesn't always feel worthwhile. While it has a lot of what true hardcore fans of the genre yearn for, it cannot be recommended to anyone else. To put it simply, if a glance at a screenshot of this game doesn't get your blood moving, it is probably a good idea to look elsewhere.
Matt Buckley, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Kalypso Media
Developer(s): AGEOD
Genres: Turn-Based Strategy
Themes: Strategy
Release Date: 2010-11-23

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