Developer: Shenandoah Studio
Price: $9.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I used to spend a fair amount of my spare time doing part-time work for a board games internet retailer. While my primary interest in the hobby has always leaned more toward the so-called German or ‘designer’ board games, I marveled at the client base the owner had cultivated among wargamers. Week after week and month after month I would pack massive boxes filled with the latest Advanced Squad Leader rule addendums or map packs, not to mention a host of small press games that dealt with every possible battle from every possible war on every possible front. I was amazed at the tenacity of these players to play and collect such intricate, rule-driven and (to my mind at least) tedious games.

IMG_1965I say all of this to say that I have a great appreciation for wargamers, even if I am not one. It is not a lightweight hobby by any extent, but it has been interesting to see the migration of wargames (just like many popular traditional boardgames) to the iPad. Drive On Moscow is the latest attempt to recreate the wargame experience on the iPad, and it does so in such a way even casual gamers will get some enjoyment out of it. Believe me, that’s no small feat.

As the name implies, Drive On Moscow places players in Russia during World War Two, as the Axis powers pushed in and attempted to finally defeat and crush the Soviets in Moscow. Players choose either the Axis or Allies, a computer or human opponent (start with the computer; trust me on this one.), and then are presented with either a defense or attack scenario. Small square tokens represent units, and each round/day is broken up into a series of back-and-forth ‘Impulse’ moves – one Axis, followed by one Allies, and so on. It only takes a short while to figure out how to move and how to initiate combat. Don’t look for simple, quick combat resolutions, however. Remember: this ain’t Risk! Combat slowly wears units down, so gameplay is equally slow and strategy has to be carefully considered before executing each move.

IMG_1969Both the audio and the visuals really shine throughout Drive On Moscow. A game that could have been a dry technical affair is greatly enhanced by passionate Russian-inspired music, and even combat between tokens looks great with puffs of smoke emanating from units as they fire. It’s simply a great-looking game.

Those searching for a quick strategy gaming fix will invariably be disappointed, but Drive On Moscow rewards those with patience and perseverance – even those who are not wargamers. Consider it, then, a great entry point into the world of wargaming. Newbies and veterans alike will find something to like here.

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