GMT games published in 2013 a strategic level game on the European Theater of WW2 called Unconditional Surrender (USE). It was well received and I managed to trade for a copy before it sold out. As the game is well regarded, it now brings a pretty penny on the secondary market.
USE was designed by Sal Vasta, one of the guys associated with the development of the various editions of Totaler Krieg. I thought USE and TK would share a lot of ideas, but they really don't. USE seems to be rather unique in the world of WW2 ETO games in that it is, well, unique.
The mechanics of the game are fairly simple, although it being such a large game, it does feel like it is more complex. But once you get the hang of the movement and combat routines, it flows along pretty well. The unit density is low. There is no stacking. Each unit represents an army level size unit. Air units are fewer than in other games of this scale. An interesting twist on the air unit is that they are reusable until they accumulate 6 sorties. Depending on the combat results, multiple sorties can be accumulated in a missions, but it is normally a single sortie.
The ground units have no numbers of them, other than a unit designation. Each mobile unit get 10 movement points per activation. Leg units get 8. This can be halved if a unit is in low supply. Similarly, the units do not have combat factors. So on the surface, it would appear that all armies are created equal. However, the heart of the combat system is the support assets that each side can bring to bear for a combat. German units get an attack bonus for being German. Armor units get a bonus. Air support and artillery can also be used to add to the die roll modifiers. So combat is an attacker die roll plus DRM versus a defender die roll plus DRM. Units can move as far as they want to until they encounter an enemy unit with a zone of control, at which time they must either stop or attack.
Attacking is either on the move (only one unit at a time as units activate individually) or as a declared assault. Attacking on the move, if successful, can be followed with more movement and more such attacks. Multiple units can be marked for a declared assault but one marked, they are no longer allowed to move. There are advantages to using both tactics, depending on the situation one is trying to overcome.
Another key consideration is supply. Supply lines are fairly short. Units are only allowed one intervening hex between their location and a communication route (roads or railroads marked on the map). Coupled with the fact that the zones of control are somewhat sticky, supply line management is a key factor in the game. Zones of control not countered with a friendly unit can block supply.
My experience with the game thus far has been one small scenario and this was a separate mini-game included in the latest issues of C3I, GMT's house magazine. This scenario was Eastern Front Case Blue. I solo'd about 2/3 of it last night and I must say that I can see what all the hype is about. This game is well thought out and after a few references to the rules, I was pretty much flying solo.
The game design has pretty much everything you would expect in a game on this topic and at this scale. There is diplomacy (chit draws that allow or deny certain activities). There is strategic warfare, but not on a scale like in other similar games. This is basically a chit system that determines the number of factories might be affected by a side. It has economics, although this is a very simple system. It is based on the number of factories in the home country, less strategic warfare effects. This is unlike other games where the home economy grows through conquest. There are random events, which really aren't random but are more conditional events (if this then that). This adds some chrome to the basic system.
It is my impression that the game was designed with pretty much all of the predecessors in mind. There are a few things that resemble Third Reich, Hitler's War and Totaler Krieg, but Vasta has created a system that is really something new and fresh.
I will have to play through the 1939 start scenario to get the real feel of the game, but this could very well be the best WW2 ETO game I have played. Even after my very limited exposure thus far, it is certainly in the discussion.