Cauldrons of War – Barbarossa Review

Cauldrons of War- Barbarossa is a turn-based strategic wargame set along WW2’s Eastern Front. It spans from June 1941 up to the Battle of Moscow, and allows you to play as either the Axis or the Soviet forces. It’s an attempt at offering a highly condensed, abstract version of the subject matter to differentiate it from other more in-depth wargames that offer more moving parts. 

This is no ‘monster’ game, like Gary Grigsby’s War in the East but neither is it in the ball-park of something like Steel Division 2, or even Hearts of Iron 4. It focuses on the top-level strategy of running a big operation like Barbarossa, and you get to make decisions that influence the campaign in its entirety.

All of the historical Army Group commands are represented and each of these has a number of order points that players must wisely spend these by clicking on the front lines, selecting participating ‘armies’ and then an action.

CoW was released on September 25th, 2020 but around a week before that we did a preview of the game when it was still in Steam Early Access. Our writer, Joe Fonseca, summarised as such:

You couldn’t describe Cauldrons as a AAA title. It was developed by a single individual and it shows. There are no true animations, there are some issues with fonts not appearing correctly, some spelling mistakes, and there are still bugs to work out. The game is regardless extremely playable. Thankfully, the developer is very active on discord and on the steam forums and is both releasing fixes and adding additional content at a rapid pace. I’m impressed with the scope of Cauldrons of War: Barbarossa and with the way it tries to wrangle with important moral and strategic decisions, and with a price tag of only $5.69 CAD, you owe it to yourself to support a unique, interesting, and strategically deep wargame.

Since the game was released barely a couple of weeks after our preview, we decided not to do another full article talking about the game. We will update this page if anything prescient emerges about the review build that differs from the preview version we played, but the main changes seemed to be last minute bug fixing and improvements.

So, if you’re looking for our ‘official’ review of Cauldrons of War – Barbarossa, Joe’s preview still stands as our official verdict.


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