There are 17 maps available in the current build of Company of Heroes Online, the free-to-play version of one of our favourite strategy games. They range from brisk 2 player skirmishes to brain melting 8 player battles. These maps are mostly taken from the original game, and have played host to many memorable war stories. I've taken an in depth look at a few of my favourites, so you'll know what to expect when you boot up Company of Heroes Online for the first time.
The tranquil farmlands of Angoville are a good place for a short brutal fight. This map forces you to wage two different types of warfare in a fairly small space.
To the east a cluster of buildings surround two nearby victory points that play host to some close, bloody scraps. This is a style of warfare modern British armed forces call FISH and CHIPS. Fighting In Someone's House and Causing Havoc In People's Streets. It's tight, fast and, if you're not in a building holding a heavy machine gun, very bad for your health. The lack of dominant structures means that expensive snipers probably aren't worth the cost on Angoville, it's much more effective to get a heavy machine gunner squad into an advanced building early on to suppress enemy infantry as the try to get into position.
Then there's the western half of the map. Here lie the open rolling green fields of death, featureless but for a solitary victory point surrounded by nothing but bushes. In Company of Heroes, as indeed in real war, bushes don't stop bullets, so building cover is essential if you want your infantry to survive long enough to get run over by a tank. The Americans have the advantage in the wide open areas, their greater numbers in the early game allow them to flank encroaching Axis forces. Once the victory point is secured, sandbag walls can be set up in the surrounding area to create devastating crossfires across the fields.(opens in new tab)
There's one more thing to consider: fuel. It's the most rare and most essential resource in Company of Heroes Online, and it's worth dying for. Small amounts of Fuel will be provided by low yield points close to your base on most maps, the important points are the high yield ones, often located in very dangerous positions. On Angoville the player holding the wide open western side has an easier time defending the point itself, but the territory linking the point to base is more exposed. Cutting off the enemy's supply of fuel can be the key to victory, because without fuel you can't build tanks. If you have tanks and your opponent doesn't, you're at a huge advantage.
Achelous River, 2v2
This is one of my favourite maps, it's just so brilliantly contrived. Axis and Allies take up positions opposite each other on the wide northern and southern sections. Between them there lie three square islands connected by bridges, and all the bridges are broken. The question is, which bridge should be repaired first?
There are three victory points on this map, but there might as well only be one. The northern and southern points will likely stay capped for the duration of the fight, the real battle is for the control point that stands in the middle of the central island.(opens in new tab)
The temptation is to go straight for the central point, but this can backfire, as it opens up a corridor straight into your base. The eastern and western islands are key, because they present excellent flanking opportunities once the linking bridges are repaired. They also have gallons of sweet, tank sustaining fuel. The low yield fuel points on the central islands will change hands too often to make them reliable, but the flanking islands are easier to hold. Converting a building on one of these islands into a forward base will let you get troops into the central melee much faster.(opens in new tab)
The large buildings that dominate the central island mean it's FISH and CHIPS again in the middle. A couple of Engineer or Pioneer squads with flame-throwers can get into the central buildings and ruin everyone's day. There's also a large church nearby that's just begging to play home to a sniper. It's also worth noting that mortars can easily fire across the gaps between islands. If you don't hold the an area it's possible to sneak a spotter in and devastate infantry build-ups with a well placed barrage.