Combat Mission Fortress Italy brings wargamers to the "soft underbelly of Europe", a place that was anything but. A very often neglected theater of war, Fortress Italy starts with the Sicilian campaign from July through August 1943. Sicily was the first test for the newly reorganized and improved American forces as they battled against grizzled vets of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe as well as a wide array of Italian Army forces. The arid terrain offers a unique experience for WW2 Combat Mission fans.
Fortress Italy transports wargamers to start of the western Allies' campaign to take the fight directly to the home turf of the Axis powers. The combat forces include the full range of historically available American, Italian, and German forces that fought in Sicily. Some of the highlights are elite formations such as Italian Bersaglieri, American Rangers, and the German Herman Göring Division. In addition to the completely new Italian forces, both the American and German organizations differ significantly from those found in other Combat Mission games. Four challenging campaigns and 17 stand alone battles provide engaging combat for control of Sicily. To fight these battles you have at your disposal 38 vehicles and loads of other weapons, many unique to Fortress Italy.
Players are assigned detailed missions to accomplish based on a richly diverse set of Objectives. Missions can be played in either Real Time or our novel WeGo hybrid turn based mode introduced with the first Combat Mission game 20 years ago. WeGo allows each player to plan out 60 seconds of combat and then watch as both sides' commands are carried out simultaneously. The WeGo system also allows for re-watching turn action and playing against another player by email (PBEM) or "hotseat" on a single computer. RealTime and WeGo head to head play can also use TCP/IP on a LAN or over the Internet. Massive replayability comes from a unique Quick Battle system which allows players to purchase their own custom force and fight over the battlefield of their choice from a wide array of different maps. A powerful map and scenario Editor allows you to create battles or campaigns for yourself and others.
All units are portrayed one for one in 1:1 scale in high resolution polygon 3D models with articulated suspensions, animated hatches, and other features that make them feel real. Unlike other 3D tactical wargames, Combat Mission combines real world physics with a thoroughly researched portrayal of forces, right down to what the individual soldiers cary into battle. Advanced vehicle damage modeling allows for tracking of each sub-system, including the most realistic ballistics, armor and post-armor effects available in any game. Unlike other games that claim this level of realism, Combat Mission actually delivers it across the whole spectrum of warfare, including the interaction of weather, lighting, and terrain on how units and their weapons function.
Perhaps the most important feature of Combat Mission is its detailed and innovative portrayal of "soft factors". Experience, Morale, Leadership, and other elements operate at the individual soldier level and collectively transform how units behave. As important as these battlefield concerns are, most other games give them short shrift or don't bother covering them at all. In the real world having the best weapons means nothing if the soldiers crewing them are balled up in fear or are too distracted to see what's going on around them.
Weapon penetration values and armor protection are based on extremely detailed real life data and scientific algorithms that are specific to exactly what is seen in the game. There are no arbitrary values (hitpoints) or precalculated resolution tables (CRTs) that so often produce frustratingly inaccurate results. The advanced Tactical AI (TacAI) models the psychological state and inherent qualities of every soldier on the battlefield, allowing for genuine battlefield behavior from every soldier as if they were their own free thinking individual.
The simulation of independent soldiers is important in another regard because it allows Combat Mission to have what we call Relative Spotting. This is a system which ensures that each soldier has their own unique view of the battlefield, avoiding the "Borg" issue seen in many games where once one person has spotted an enemy, automatically everyone else has spotted it and can fire on it as well. Any wargamer worth his weight in gunpowder knows that Fog of War is one of the most important battlefield elements. An unprecedented simulation of Command and Control (C2) combines with Relative Spotting to realistically portray the flow of information and responsibility between soldiers as they share information with each other on what they can see on the battlefield.
All of these elements, and many more, seamlessly fit together to create the most realistic battlefield experience out there. The realism level isn't pushed in your face with lots of data and obscure references. Instead players experience all of this with the 3D graphical environment. Combat Mission's visceral game environment is what attracts players, the richness of the gameplay is what keeps them playing for years on end.