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Cover art of Company of Heroes 2

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Company of Heroes is a Real Time Strategy game set on the Western Front of World War II. It was created by Relic Entertainment, the developers of the Dawn of War series. Relic's next generation engine, dubbed Essence, was introduced with this game, succeeding the aging Impossible Creatures Engine used by Dawn of War.

The campaign follows both Able Company (Infantry/Armored) and Fox Company (Airborne) through a linear series of fifteen missions, from D-Day to the closing of the Falaise Pocket. The TV series Band Of Brothers has been a major inspiration for the game, even the title comes from a line in the last episode (And the last line in the book).

The gameplay builds heavily on Dawn of War's formula (so much so that many consider it the WWII version), focusing on map control and infantry combat. New elements include a third resource, munitions, that is spent on using special abilities (such as throwing a grenade or calling in an airstrike), instead of the more common Mana Meter. The map is still filled with capturable strategic points, that now control the sector around them. This territory counts as "home terrain" for the owner of the point, which affects several game mechanics. To gain resources, players must capture strategic sectors then ensure a contiguous chain of sectors that leads back to their headquarters.

Players can choose one of three specializations for their army, giving them a set of unique units and abilities to unlock with experience points.

Relic released a stand-alone expansion called Opposing Fronts in September 2007. It features two new armies (The British Commonwealth and the "Panzer Elite"), each with their own campaign, focusing on the Liberation of Caen by the 2nd Army and Kampfgruppe Lehr's defense during Operation Market Garden respectively.

A second expansion, Tales of Valor, mixes up the formula. Rather than adding new sides, the expansion adds new play variations for campaign and multiplayer, all based on controlling one or a few powerful units instead of an army of weaker ones. It is described in its own section below. The campaigns are Tiger Ace, which covers a fictionalized version of the battle of Villers-Bocage, Causeway, where the 82nd Airborne attempts to secure the La Fiere Causeway, and Falaise Pocket, where you delay the Allies from closing the Pocket for as long as possible.

A sequel named Company of Heroes 2 was released in 2013. Set on the Eastern Front in 1941, the player takes command of the mighty Soviet Red Army as Nazi Germany launches Operation Barbarossa, a full scale invasion of the Soviet Union. The game uses the Essence 3.0 engine, touted as having increased graphical fidelity and new environmental destruction. Further details can be found here.

Tropes used in Company of Heroes include:
  • A Commander Is You: At the start of every skirmish or multiplayer match, the player must choose one of three doctrines that give them access to new map abilities, upgrades and units, the choice of which adds new elements to the faction.
    • America: Jack of All Trades, has units that are highly flexible and can perform a variety of roles. Has elements of Economist, since they can build a supply yard to reduce unit upkeep.
    • Wehrmacht: Elitist Faction, has stronger but more expensive units that are specialized in specific roles, but can't do much outside their intended roles.
      • Defensive Doctrine: a combination of Unit Specialist and Technical focusing on defense. It can easily repel any enemy assault on their base, at least until the enemy gets vehicles that can stand up to machine gun fire, but doesn't offer as much later on in the game.
      • Terror Doctrine: a mix of Brute Force and Technical, focusing on buffing units with abilities, as well as calling in powerful artillery strikes. It is probably best known for its ability to call in a King Tiger, the strongest unit in the game, which can be extremely deadly if supported correctly.
      • Blitzkrieg Doctrine: a combination of Brute Force and Guerilla, depending on how it's used. Many abilities are focused on going on the offense, and it can call in a Tiger (weaker compared to the King Tiger, but it is better at killing infantry and moves more quickly). The Guerilla part comes from its ability to call in Stormtroopers, which are more expensive versions of Grenadiers that can be deployed from any unoccupied building in friendly territory and can hide from enemy units.
    • British: Unit Specialist, focusing on defense. Only officers can gain veterancy, but any XP earned by troops near them goes to the officer. In return, the officer confers various effects to the troops within his area of effect. All of their main buildings can pack up and become mobile. While they have the fewest buildings of all the factions - meaning they have to spend the least resources on them - it also makes their bases easier to destroy if an opposing player can reach them. They have lots of powerful defensive emplacements and if they are allowed sufficient time to build up defenses, it can become almost impossible to uproot them. However, they are limited by a lack of armored vehicles and mobility.
      • Royal Canadian Artillery Support: Technical, focusing on calling in artillery strikes and improving their standard artillery units. It also gives the British their only mobile artillery unit. Longest ranged artillery of all factions; don't let them get line of sight on anything important.
      • Royal Commandos Support: Guerrilla and Technical, giving the British access to deadly commando teams and ultra-light tanks that can be deployed by gliders, as well as abilities that reveal the map.
      • Royal Engineers Support: Unit Specialist, focusing on vehicles, which can call in unique variants of the Churchill tank for different situations.
    • Panzer Elite: Poorly named, as they field the fewest actual tanks of any faction. Unit Specialist and Technical, focusing on lighter vehicles with a large variety of different abilities, and have very good mobility. Best used on the offensive, as they have almost no defensive emplacements.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: There is a fairly restrictive population cap that increases with the amount of territory the player controls. In addition, some units can only be fielded one or two at a time and some only once per game.
    • The Panzer Elite can bring one of these, the King Tiger, Back from the Dead. You will probably find yourself trying to do some slightly weird and inverted Truth in Television: in the actual war, Axis forces were ordered to destroy their own King Tigers to prevent them from being captured. You, as an Allied player, will be trying to destroy the hulks (assuming you manage to kill the bloody thing in the first place) to prevent them from being returned to service.
      • It is, however, true that a goodly portion (around 80%) of nominally "destroyed" Shermans were back in service within the space of a few weeks. If anything, the Bergetiger (which really should have been a Bergepanther as there was only ever one Bergetiger ever found and it wasn't even a recovery vehicle like the Bergepanthers were) concept should have been used for an Allied unit, rather than an Axis one.
      • Represented to an extent as the "Allied War Machine" power, which replaces any vehicles lost in a certain span of time free of charge.
    • It's not really arbitrary, the game tries to have some semblance of realism, and a real life military task force would only have so many resources. Historically speaking, having more soldiers in your force than you had resources for (Russia's problem in World War 1 and to a certain extent, fuel wise anyway, Germany's problem later on in World War 2) is very, very baaaad.
  • A-Team Firing: American Engineers and Wehrmacht Pioneers have pitiful accuracy with their submachine guns from long range (0.10), which goes up to 0.20 at medium range and 0.30 at close range (by comparison, basic rifles are 0.35 are long range, 0.55 at medium range, and 0.75 at close range). Moving multiplies their accuracy by 0.15! - leading to you watching your Engineers pursuing and attacking an infantry squad running away and yelling at them to actually hit something even if they are practically at spitting distance to their target.
    • It's not all bad, though: thanks to their submachine guns, Engineers and Pioneers are much better at suppressing enemy infantry while your rifle squads circle around to flank them.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The King Tiger: a massive tank with a gun that pretty much destroys everything. Unfortunately, it is so slow, that the only way to get something killed by it is to stand there and take shots. Particularly vulnerable to American Rangers, Paratroopers and Riflemen with Sticky Bombs (close in with Riflemen, toss Sticky Bomb, run and repeat). It also comes incredibly late in the game (its pretty much the last thing you can unlock when using the Terror Doctrine), and can only be used once per match (which means: once gone, its gone for good).
    • The fastest way to kill a King Tiger (a One-Hit Kill that has a good chance of destroying the wreck as well, in fact) is to rig up bridges with explosives, then detonating the explosives as the tank crosses the bridge. Smarter players will avoid bridges like the plague of course, though this may force them through other, also less favorable terrain, such as the "Open"-type anti-cover, which increases damage taken by all units and significantly hinders their mobility. Also, it's worth remembering that mines have a very good chance of inflicting Critical damage, which can damage a tank's tracks or engine, further reducing mobility, if not practically immobilizing the vehicle.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Penal battalions, which consist of erring regular troops, cowards, deserters, traitors, "independent thinkers", and hardened criminals. These units are often sent to perform extremely dangerous and suicidal tasks such as charging enemy positions en masse.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Infantry without orders take cover when engaging enemy forces. This is one of the shining points of the game, but is balanced out by...
    • Artificial Stupidity: The AI opponents are dumb. Not humongously dumb, but... dumb. They don't know how to get through barriers if you put them up, except on a very broken level of "shoot the sandbags that are in your way until they die" (which will never happen). A broken bridge with tank traps behind it is an impassable barrier for them. If there is only one way to get to your base, and the other ways been blocked off or destroyed, they will take that way every single time instead of trying to repair the bridges or crush the obstacles and move across them. This allows you to very easily funnel their forces into one area, allowing you to stay static for an entire game. If they get a unit that can be called in from off map, such as Stormtroopers, they will almost never bother with base-produced units and focus entirely on the off-map units, even if this results in massive failure on their part (Matches in which the AI did nothing but produce Stormtroopers have been known to occur). The AI doesn't understand how the territory system works, and will often capture points that are far ahead of their own lines and completely useless to them. Oh, and it also cheats. Check below.
    • Back to Artificial Brilliance: the AI is actually smart enough to pull off proper hit-and-run attacks: small groups of soldiers will move in, destroy a single target, and retreat from the inevitable counterattack. As you're marshaling your forces to follow them and wipe them out, another group will attack on the other side of the map. Rinse and repeat if you're not good about figuring out how to stop it. Even worse, if you do follow that first group of soldiers and you're not particularly mindful of your surroundings, you will end up being ambushed and forced to retreat.
  • Badass Boast: "Who believes in the boogeyman?"
  • Bilingual Bonus: The German soldiers in the campaign speak subtitled German. However, the subtitles aren't an exact translation of what they say. Also, there's a difference between the Germans in the single-player campaign and those in Multiplayer/Skirmish: The Campaign Germans speak accent-free German like native speakers, while the Germans you can play in Multiplayer/Skirmish speak English with a very pronounced German accent with German words mixed in.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Victory often comes at the cost of an 80% casualty rate.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: In the French version, the AT-button in the gameplay menu is translated as Anti-Tank.
    • And in the very beginning of the British campaign, where several soldiers invent fibs about Major Blackmore gunning down a whole squad of Germans, before bayoneting the remains, "while he didn't even loose his pipe [his trademark pipe that he always has in his mouth]". In the German version, it was translated as "Dudelsack (bagpipe)" rather than "Pfeife (pipe)". On the other hand, at least it wasn't mistaken for a "Trillerpfeife (whistle)".
  • Boring but Practical: The 57mm M1 and Pak 38 medium anti-tank guns. They are vulnerable, clumsy, ungainly, and could get carted off by the enemy to boot. That doesn't matter, because they will save your bacon against enemy armor.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Units' weapons require reloading, but never run out of ammunition to reload with. It gets... awkward... when that works for weapons which were captured from the enemy.
  • Butt Monkey: Duffy, an unseen member of a British infantry squad who constantly pisses off his squadmates. For example, when a squad captures a fuel point, one will immediately and forcibly remind Duffy to extinguish his ciga-fucking-rette. If you click on a squad while it's raining, one will rudely ask Duffy if he is in need of a rubber ducky. These are just the nice examples.
  • The Captain: Captain MacKay of Able Company.
  • Car Fu: Heavier vehicles (e.g., not motorbikes or Jeeps) can run over infantry, although it doesn't happen often, because most infantrymen will fling themselves out of the way. The exception is when they're suppressed by heavy fire (or by the Churchill's Tank Shock ability), then a smart player will hit the Retreat button.
    • The Sherman's mine flail gibs infantry on contact when activated, making it a sometimes effective infantry killer, though the .50 cal machinegun usually does a good enough job.
  • Clown Car Base: An infinite number of men can stream out of that tiny barracks tent or halftrack, as long as you have enough Manpower.
  • Cold Sniper: Every single one of them.

American Sniper: "I am a rock. I am a stone."
American Sniper: "One shot, one kill."
American Sniper: "Heart or head, either way, Gerry's dead."
American Sniper: "Who believes in the boogeyman?"

  • Conservation of Ninjitsu: MG-42 teams actually get bonuses to accuracy and suppression when fighting larger groups of infantry. Inversely, Jeeps lose accuracy when fighting larger numbers.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception: Snipers become briefly visible after firing a shot. Tanks that have them in their line of sight will begin to traverse the turret towards them, then return to their original position when the sniper turns invisible again. They will never attempt to search for the sniper.
  • Cosmetic Award: Each campaign mission has a bonus objective that is rewarded with a purely cosmetic medal appearing in a sub-menu. Getting some of these are the hardest parts of the game.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Averted. Heavy weapons like Panzershrecks and AT guns can kill infantry, but since they deal very little splash damage, they need a direct hit, which is a rare occurrence.
    • Basic infantry can be upgraded with limited building capabilities, allowing them to fill in for Engineers. Most units can be upgraded with special equipment after purchase. Tanks have machine guns, Engineers (basic worker units) have guns (and can be upgraded with flamethrowers), and any infantry unit can change to a special infantry unit just by picking up a discarded special or heavy weapon, up to and including rocket artillery platforms. The necessary soldiers split off from the squad and can then be replaced by fresh reinforcements.
    • Most heavy weapon teams in fact, come with three people: two to operate the weapon, and one guy with a rifle, both to act as a replacement if one of the other two bites it, and to shoot back at enemies while the heavy weapon is setting/packing up.
    • However, this trope is played straight with the Sherman Crocodile, which cannot fire its main gun, despite Real Life examples being able to do so and being depicted graphically as having both a flamethrower and a cannon in the turret.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played With. Tanks can have parts damaged as they lose HP, but otherwise will keep fighting to the last Hit Point. Members of infantry squads have individual Hit Points, meaning a nearly destroyed squad can still have all its members while another has lost most of them. The individual squad members don't get penalized from being damaged. It epically happens for AT Gun crews if they drop to one crew member. Since they'd logically and realistically be incapable of moving around the gun by themselves, the game instantly kills them. It's very noticeable when using a sniper.
  • Cutscene: In-engine scenes at the beginning and end of missions, animated 2D art with narration between them, like Relic's earlier Homeworld series.
  • Damage Is Fire
  • Despair Event Horizon: Implied with Wolfgang, if his brother Aldrich dies. However, the Panzer Elite campaign ends then, so nothing really comes out of it.
  • Destructive Savior: When you get to sling around artillery in cities, this trope comes into full effect. The "quick" way of clearing Cherbourg will live up to the narrator's comments after the mission about essentially destroying the town to take it. That being said, when taken into consideration with the deformable terrain, it's hard not to try bombing the German positions literally flat with the offshore batteries if you've accrued enough Munitions.
  • Did Not Do the Research: The game has historical inaccuracies and some unrealistic aspects that generally qualify as Acceptable Breaks From Reality, but the Wehrmacht's Knight's Cross Holder squad is certainly unrealistic - Nazi Germany certainly did not put those awarded their second highest military honour in three-man squads with StG 44 assault rifles.
    • There are many many inconsistencies. Most of these aren't an example of Did Not Do the Research, but simply for gameplay reasons, or because it's cool. For example, the Knight's Cross Holders mentioned above, 3 elite men who are practically bulletproof, wearing full dress uniforms and carrying cutting edge weapons technology, and are able to take on multiple riflemen squads without receiving so much as a scratch. It may not be realistic, but damn, that's Badass.
  • Disconnected by Death: At the end of Operation Windsor in the British campaign, a Royal Scots Engineer calls 3rd Battalion to tell them Hill 112 is under attack. He stops talking and the scene cuts to the engineer slumped over facing the camera, framed in shadow, with his radio in front of him as 3rd Battalion asks for him to respond. For extra deadness points, the engineer gets shot a few more times, with the bullets piercing through his radio as well.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Moving hurts accuracy, and a number of units cannot fire unless stopped (and may have to set-up while stopped before they can fire). The penalty is particularly harsh to the American Engineers and German Pioneers.
  • Dummied Out: This.
  • The Engineer: All the engineers in the game are at least Support Engineers, and all can be Combat Engineers. The American Engineers and the German Pioneers are initially ineffective in combat, but can be equipped with a flamethrower, making them big threats to any infantry they can get close enough to. The British Infantry Section can build a number of structures and are your mainline infantry, and the British Sappers - made for making powerful defences and repairing - are only slightly less effective in combat and can even be more cost-efficient, as outlined by Violent Glaswegian lower on the page. All Panzer Elite infantry can construct structures and repair.
  • Everything Fades: Played With. Destroyed vehicles leave wrecks that can either be used for cover or salvaged for resources. Dead soldiers fade, while wounded soldiers linger on the battlefield for the medics to pick up.
  • Faction Calculus: USA (Subversive) vs. Wehrmacht (Powerhouse).
  • Fridge Logic: The Munitions resource for grenades, artillery fire missions and the like kinda makes sense instead of mana, until you realize your troops never run out of ammo for their main weapons and you can later get artillery in the game that uses cooldowns to limit their ability to fire instead of requiring munitions.
    • The Munitions cost for an American frag grenade is only 1/8th of a Howitzer barrage they can also get. As one can see, it doesn't really add up.
    • Some of the Munitions abilities (like the Riflemen squad's Suppressive Fire and the Recon Section's Sniper Shot) have the units firing the exact same ammunition they use in regular fighting.
    • Upgrading to flamethrowers increases the rate at which engineers get suppressed. Now upgrading flamethrowers add big flammable tanks to the backs of the unit...
  • Game Mod: Most notably the Eastern Front modification, which adds Reds with Rockets.
  • Garrisonable Structures: Some of which can be upgraded into actual field bases that can produce and reinforce infantry units. Beware flamethrowers and high explosives.
  • Glass Cannon: The Panzer Elite's Marder III certainly counts. It packs a vehicle-killing BFG and is practically an anti-tank sniper. On the other hand, it dies very, very easily: although it is frontally immune to small-arms fire, it can be killed relatively easily by flanking it with submachinegun-toting infantry, making it the only armored vehicle vulnerable to them. In Tales of Valor, the Geschützwagen comes close.
  • Guilt Based Gaming: "We've lost a unit. They're all dead."
    • Which is only one example of many (rather brutal) messages of units dying. Sometimes, the units will make reports to you over their field radios as they are all killed. Such distress calls can range from Cessation Of Communications (in that case, your aide-de-camp will inform you that due to the lack of signs of life, the entire squad is presumed dead), over Lost in Transmission, to an Apocalyptic Log. It is pretty damn depressing to lose units that way, hearing as some attempt to stay calm and formal as they make their report as they are shot and killed, while others beg for rescue as they die.
  • Hero Unit: The American and Wehrmacht Snipers, the Wehrmacht Officer, and the British Lieutenants, Captain and Command Tanks follow certain traits of this trope. The Snipers are expensive and are one man in a game that uses squads; have long-ranged, accurate and powerful attacks against infantry; a larger amount of health then most other single infantry units, a powerful "Camouflage" stealth ability; and can be more then worth their cost if controlled well, used for scouting, and retreated when outmatched - though they are ineffective against vehicles and won't exactly curbstomp other infantry. The Officer can be used to speed up a building's production rate, has other useful abilities, is a single soldier and has more health too, but is an inefficient combatant. The Lieutenants and Command Tanks provide powerful passive buffs to infantry and tanks, respectively, that are close enough to them. The Lieutenant can take more sniper shots then other infantry - but both are otherwise unimpressive in combat (Command Tanks only have a dummy main gun and a machine gun). The Captain is similar to the Lieutenant, but provides different buffs, and in an entire sector. All of these British units are expensive compared to other choices and are worthless against vehicles. They are also the only British units that can get better as they fight, unlike the Panzer Elite and Americans.
  • Hollywood Healing: Wounded soldiers become perfectly healthy the second the number of the basic infantry squad of their faction of them are together in a medic station. They forget all any special training and become basic riflemen, however.
  • Homing Boulders: Whether a projectile hits or misses is determined beforehand. This being WWII, it usually isn't noticeable, but it can result in the slower projectiles, like those fired by Panzershrecks, curving midflight to hit a moving enemy, sometimes even changing altitude.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The King Tiger, which takes forever to get access to, requires you to select the Wehrmacht Terror Doctrine and can only be called in once per game. It will also destroy everything in sight and has enough armor strapped on to it to withstand more direct hits from 17 pounder guns than almost any other Axis unit.
    • Also, before anyone tries to correct the above comments, the Jagdpanther is not a tank. It is a tank destroyer, although it wouldn't be inaccurate to apply all the above remarks to the Jagdpanther.
    • The original Tiger Ace, which was replaced by the King Tiger on the release of Opposing Fronts, was basically as good as a Vet 3 Tiger without having to pay for the veterancy upgrades, and even though you only got one at a time, it could be replaced if lost. Not only that, but both versions of the Tiger I tank in the game are surprisingly fast. Having the Tiger Ace replaced by the King Tiger was arguably a downgrade.
    • You know why they replaced the Tiger Ace with the King Tiger other than to keep pace with the Jagdpanther that the Panzer Elite had? Simple, the mere sight of the thing is almost enough to drive the ill-prepared and inexperienced to surrender.
    • I see your Tigers, King Tigers, and Jagdpanthers, and raise you the American Pershing. It may not individually keep up with the German armor, but they're cheaper, and with proper support, they can still outfight all of the above.
  • It's Raining Men: The American Airborne. They can drop anywhere, reinforce anywhere, and are generally worth the price premium over run of the mill infantry, especially since "where" is often more important than "how many". Also comes with anti-tank upgrade.
    • Also, the British Royal Commandos drop from the skies in friggin' kamikazeing gliders. There are few things as joyful as landing one of those babies in an unexpected place right behind a bunker or some Pioneers...
      • The Commandos can also drop baby tanks via glider! The Light Tank Mk VII (A17) aka "Tetrarch", to be precise. They're nowhere near a match for other tanks, but still quite punchy by themselves, and finding a trigger-happy Tetrarch or two backed up by Paras or Commandos in your back yard is an extremely unpleasant surprise indeed.
    • Landing one so it crushes your opponent's carefully laid overlapping MG-42 fire-lanes then charging with the veterans of 1 Para to mop up the remains?
  • "Join the Army," They Said: Not really an example of the trope itself, but the American Engineer does say the name directly and provides the page quote.
  • Kill It with Fire: Engineers/Pioneers with flamethrowers, and flamethrower tanks. Burn 'em out of their holes!
  • Land Mine Goes Click: Played With. Land mines don't, but Booby Traps do.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Most tanks tend to lean towards this trope, but probably the 2 best examples are the Tiger and the M26 Pershing. Both can move around rather quickly, can wreak havoc on infantry and tanks alike and can still take a beating.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: M4 Sherman + Crab mine flail + German infantry = Limbs flying across the battlefield.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Sherman Calliope fires a semi-discriminate spread of artillery rockets. A lot of them. The spread template gets bigger the farther it shoots, so firing on the enemy base from across the map won't destroy any buildings, but it is absolutely devastating to any exposed units. And you can have two of them!
  • Mauve Shirt: The Invasion of Normandy campaign's opening cutscene introduces you to a boat of American soldiers about to land on Omaha Beach. A sergeant gives their orders and reassures the other men in the boat. They land and eventually all get killed trying to reach the safe(ish) dirt mound in front of the German-entrenched cliffs. Then, the game cuts to another boat and the cinematic graphics change to the in-game graphics, showing you the first soldiers you'll be commanding for the campaign.
  • More Dakka: Suppression weapons in general rely on having a high rate of fire, but they don't do a lot of damage to their targets if they're behind any kind of cover. Anti-infantry upgrades for infantry squads usually give more of this than what they had before, though the Browning Automatic Rifle upgrade for American Rifleman squads are especially worth mentioning, since it gives the squad the ability to temporarily quickly suppress and pin enemy infantry, essentially making it a mobile machine gun team for the duration. The Panzer Elite can also choose whether veterancy bonuses will increase their defense or offense--a Flak 36 with three offensive upgrades is something to fear.
  • New Meat: Referenced to with some of the "squad remanned to full strength" lines.

"Hey, new guy! Don't fuck up!"
"Yeah, yeah, you'll do, fall in line..."
"Engineers! Welcome to France!"

  • No Campaign for the Wicked in Company of Heroes, but Opposing Fronts averts it.
    • Tales of Valor adds three new campaigns, including one where you control a Tiger I and its crew, using a new feature that lets you do the aiming. It also adds a Wehrmacht campaign in which you take command of German forces defending Trun in the Falaise Pocket.
  • No Recycling: Avoided. The German army, being tight on resources, can scavenge wrecks. There is also a repair vehicle that can "resurrect" them. If a heavy weapon's crew dies, it can be re-manned or even captured by the other side.
    • An amusing inversion of reality, in which the US Army was the one with the impressive ability to get vehicles back into action; part of the Sherman's success story was that within three days more than 75% of nominally "destroyed" Shermans were back in action.
    • Not entirely an inversion - the Germans (and every other army, for that matter) did indeed repair and put back in action tanks that would be considered "destroyed". It's just that to do so one has to be in possession of the battlefield to retrieve the tanks to repair, and the Germans were on the defensive at the time.
  • No Swastikas
  • Pinned Down: One of the major gameplay elements of infantry combat. See Standard Status Effect below.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Any squad may take a special or heavy weapon lying around on the battlefield and will use them without any problems, even when the weapon comes from an opposing faction and is particularly rare even for the faction that uses them.
  • Poirot Speak: German units talk like this when the player plays as them, but not when against them in the campaign.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep - There was never any occasion in Real Life where a Sherman was remotely capable of surviving a direct hit from a Tiger I/Tiger II/Jagdpanther/etc., frontal armor or otherwise, unless it was from way beyond its effective range. The same can pretty much be said about every tank or tank destroyer besides the Pershing in the American army. Yet, because that would cause the German tanks to be massively overpowered what with their turrets traversing many times faster than in real life (it could take over a full minute to turn a Tiger's gun), one can argue that we have an Acceptable Break From Reality.
    • The M4A3E4 'Jumbo', and various other late-war conversions could take an 88mm hit from relatively short range. However, like the Pershing, they were not present for the battles covered by the game.
  • PVP-Balanced: The game generally doesn't make many glaringly weird concessions in the name of balance, except for the Recon upgrade for the British Infantry Section unit. It gives a speed boost, removes the slow down when in enemy territory and even allows you to spend munitions for any member of the squad to make a single sniper shot... and yet the upgrade also reduces the damage and accuracy of the Recon Infantry Section, despite how they are all apparently capable of acting as marksmen.
  • Real Time with Pause: Practically required on the higher difficulty settings, especially in missions where a whole lot of stuff is going in every corner of the map.
  • Recycled in Space: Inverted. Many of the game mechanics are borrowed from or refined versions of those featured in Dawn of War, a game set in space. So, it's Recycled IN WORLD WAR II!
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Averted, the British Captain is armed with a Webley revolver, but his accuracy and damage with it is rather low.
    • In fact, the revolver-wielding British Captain will actually lose 1 on 1 to the Luger-wielding German Officer.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Partially justified for the Commonwealth from Opposing Fronts, as their buildings are actually vehicle-based command posts that can relocate as necessary. The Americans, slightly less so, as their buildings are adequately made and mostly consist of tarps and sandbags. Wehrmacht and Panzer Elite buildings, on the other hand, are concrete bunkers.
  • RPG Elements: You gain XP as you play the game and you spend it to unlock special units and abilities. The Americans and the Panzer Elite also have their troops gain XP, and become more deadly when leveled up. The Commonwealth only has their officers gain XP.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Only the largest maps in the game, the eight player ones, ever go out of "rifle range". In real life, they don't put mortars close enough for the enemy to fire on... The close-range howitzers are somewhat justified as they are supposed to be at your main base... but that would mean the field is too small. You can change the angle you view the game on, if you do this to make the perspective more in line with what the troops SHOULD be seeing, you'll notice how silly it is that running a few meters away from someone makes them stop firing their weapons. Indeed, the ranges on tanks are so pathetically small that circle strafing is a usable tactic.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Shooting medics is highly desirable. Your opponent gets recycled soldiers for free if you don't...
    • The medics in this game don't work the same way as in most games, in that they don't magically heal your guys and restore their hitpoints. But yes, you want to shoot them all the same. Don't worry about the Geneva Convention, it doesn't cover super medics like these guys, and your opponent will probably be doing it anyway.
  • Shout-Out: The opening cutscene to the Invasion of Normandy campaign is clearly one to the opening battle in Saving Private Ryan, complete with shots of being behind the shoulders of a German machinegun team in a bunker cutting down the Americans.
  • Standard Status Effects: The only really important one is "Suppressed", which results from being shot at too much or big explosions. When under this effect, infantry drop to the ground and crawl slowly. Some special abilities allow a unit to break it and either charge or retreat. "Pinned" is the same but more, and they all freeze completely, and can't even shoot back. Best to retreat them once this happens.
    • The expansions offer up two more. British Bren-toting infantry can inflict the "Buttoned" condition on enemy vehicles, essentially forcing them to sit inactive as their vision slits are smashed by fast and accurate fire. The Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg Doctrine's Assault ability and the Americans' T17 armored car can both inflict the "Stunned" condition, the former against infantry and the latter against vehicles.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A lot, and why you should use as much artillery as you possibly can.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Averted, infantry which are attacked with some really scary stuff will be quickly destroyed, Suppressed or Pinned - even taking enough basic rifle fire can suppress or pin them.
  • Support Power: Depending on which doctrine you choose, or what the campaign decides to give you. Anything from off-map artillery to paratrooper drops to close air support. Others may be granted specifically to your units or buildings.
  • Tactical Withdrawal - All infantry can be retreated back to base, regardless of circumstances, and gain a slight defense buff while retreating to cover for the fact that you can't control them. As reinforcing a squad is many times cheaper in terms of resources than calling in a new squad, and (with the exception of the Wehrmacht) veterancy bonuses are lost when the squad is lost, you will want to make sure that at least one soldier from your squad makes it back to HQ.
  • Take Cover: One of the first RTS games to do so, via the innovative "cover dots" that allow the player to preview troop placement and facing. Its practically mandatory to use this in infantry combat.
  • Tank Goodness: Yes. A very large and totally awesome tank unit is potentially available to every faction, while the Germans' are otherwise generally the best.
  • Technology Levels: it's not official, but all factions have roughly five "tiers". Tier one is usually basic infantry and a scout vehicle, tier two is support infantry and anti-tank, tier three breaks out the light armor, and at tier four the tanks start coming out. Tier five, which technically doesn't count, refers to the late-game superunits like Sherman Fireflies, Panther Battlegroups, and call-ins like Tigers and Pershings. Note that there's a lot of variation here: Wehrmacht anti-tank assets begin at Tier Two, while Americans don't get them until Tier Three. Note also that it's not mandatory and in fact not recommended to go through the tiers in order; it's common to see players jump ahead to Tier Three to get out their light armor for a fast attack, and then back-tech to Tier Two in order to get defensive units to hold the ground they've just taken.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Oh dear lord... this is mainly of the Not Playing Fair with Resources type of Cheating Bastardry. The normal AI doesn't cheat (much), but the Hard AI cheats heavily and the Expert AI cheats so heavily that a normal human in a straight up fight, without exploiting the AI's Artificial Stupidity, will never, ever win against them. They just have too many resources (around quadruple the player's for Expert A Is) and thus too many forces. It's still possible to beat an Expert AI with massive amounts of artillery spam and exploiting the AI's inability to cross destroyed and blocked off bridges. The only reason you would try is for bragging rights. It's really not worth the frustration.
    • The AI can also launch doctrine artillery and do overwatch barrages in areas where they absolutely do not have line of sight, a requirement for the two. At least for the player.
  • The Unseen: The various main and supporting characters when in normal gameplay. And Corporal Degnan.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Averted. The Germans generally act and talk like normal human beings and banter just like the American troops, except more jaded and snarky.
  • Units Not to Scale: Averted, all units and structures are scaled realistically. The production buildings are all a bit too small to realistically hold more than one or two squads worth of troops, but that's another trope entirely.
  • Whoring: Some unfortunate multiplayer strategies that work include making a bunch of Wehrmacht Pioneers (which can quickly overpower British enemies since they can standardly build machine gun teams) and attacking the enemy with Volksgrenadiers with a medic bunker nearby. As the Wehrmacht bunker are more durable than the Allies' medic stations, the enemy will be unable to destroy it before you get to tier 2, and combat will ensure you will lose Volksgrenadiers for your medic bunker to pick up, giving you free, better Grenadier squads before you get to tier 2. After getting to tier 2, just spend your time upgrading Panzerschrecks for the Grenadiers and infantry veterancy upgrades, and you'll hit critical mass eventually to then decisively sweep your enemies away.
  • U.S. Army Rangers: Can be used when playing an American Infantry Company.
  • Worthy Opponent: Hauptmann Shultz, the Tiger Ace in the Invasion of Normandy campaign.
  • Violent Glaswegian (Played with the British Sappers, whose accents are clearly Scottish - but they're Combat Engineers, less violent than standard infantry, right? Wrong. When compared to the Infantry Section, the Infantry Section costs much more (450 manpower) than the Sappers (320 manpower), has only 5 more Hit Points per member and an extra squad member, and they both have the same rifles which they are equally skilled at using; therefore, the Infantry Section gets 65 hitpoints at 90 manpower each while the Sappers get 60 hitpoints for 80 manpower each; for a 1/12 increase in health per member, the Infantry Section gets to cost 1/8 more per member. If they didn't have different upgrades, Sappers would probably be the troops to use for plain More Dakka.)
  • Villain Protagonist: Major General Voss and the two Berger brothers, the protagonists of the Panzer Elite campaign.
    • The Tiger Ace campaign in Tales of Valor is the origin story for Hauptmann Shultz, the Tiger Ace from the Invasion of Normanday campaign, and Major General Voss. It reveals that they were both part of the same Tigergruppe in the past, before Voss was promoted to his own command. The Tiger Ace campaign is the last time that Voss sees Shultz, and it mentions his death at the hands of Able Company during the original campaign.
  • War Is Hell: Subtly discussed by Aldrich and Wolfgang in the Panzer Elite campaign - Wolfgang is dismayed that they are now working with recruits who have never fired a rifle in their life while Aldrich attempts to lighten his spirits with words from their mother to "make Earth your heaven", to which Wolfgang responds that if this is heaven, they'd best stay away from hell.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Averted, as all units have basic abilities. However, some abilities are locked until the appropriate munitions are available. For example, riflemen squads can't throw grenades until you spend manpower and fuel to truck them to the front.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: You don't need to have people harvest them, but you'd better control as many points on the map if you want to win.
    • After all, you need to demonstrate that you own the battlefield before your superiors will commit any more resources to the fight.
  • Zerg Rush: A viable but notorious tactic. Known as "blobbing" in the multiplayer community.

"Operation" Tropes:

Tales of Valor brings in three new gameplay modes, including Stonewall, where up to four players must fight off hordes of AI controlled units from a defensive position, Assault, which is essentially Relic's take on the popular Defense of the Ancients scenario in Warcraft III, where each side has a massive fortified base with hordes of AI controlled creeps, with the players each taking control of a powerful "hero" character and attempt to assist the AI creeps in breaking through the enemy base and destroying a central building, and finally, Panzerkrieg (literally, "tank war"), in which two teams of up to three players each choose from a selection of three different tanks and then duke it out over a specially designed map, supported by plenty of expendable infantry, a plethora of off-map support and numerous special abilities available to the tanks themselves.

Panzerkrieg tropes:

  • Jack of All Stats: The M4 Sherman and the Panzer IV both serve as your "all-rounder" tank choices in Panzerkrieg (for the Allies and Axis respectively), having decent speed, a decent gun and decent armour, but nothing overly exciting.
  • Fragile Speedster: The M18 Hellcat tank destroyer and Hotchkiss light tank (Allied and Axis respectively). Both of these tanks are faster but flimsier than the other choices and are also Glass Cannons. The Hellcat can get powerful upgrades for its shells and also an ambush ability that allows it to fire one high damage shot, while the Hotchkiss has multiple upgrades for its gun and can be fitted with the "Walking Stuka", which is a quartet of frames on the tank's sides from which powerful rockets can be launched.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Churchill and Panther tanks (Allied and Axis respectively). Both are slow but powerful and well-armored. The Churchill has a short range and requires its abilities (purchased with XP from either getting killed or killing the enemy) to really come into its own, but is even tougher than the Panther, while the Panther is more or less completely lacking in support capability, and focuses on pure killing power.

Assault tropes:

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The "Officer" hero, who provides bonuses to both AI creeps and friendly heroes around him while also being a decent combatant himself.
  • Cold Sniper: The "Sniper" is practically identical to those in the normal game.
  • Combat Medic: The "Medic" packs a sub-machine gun and is anything but combat incapable.
  • The Engineer: The "Engineer" who, rather than building defenses as you might expect, is equipped with a powerful "Satchel Charge" which creates a huge explosion when it goes off. However, that's pretty much all the "Engineer" offers, as he's not that great in combat and is unnecessary for taking out enemy structures as the small-arms the heroes carry rip right through them, even though the Axis ones are made of concrete.
  • Fragile Speedster: The "Recon". Unlike the other heroes, which are individuals on foot, the "Recon" hero is actually two guys in a Jeep (Allied) or 2 guys in a motorcycle with a sidecar (Axis), with the second guy manning a machine gun. Needless to say, they're blazing fast and serve as a hard counter to the "Sniper".
  • Jack of All Stats: The "Commando", in theory, anyway. He's actually just a generally inferior version of the "Heavy Weapons Guy" below, having less health and a weaker attack, but being no faster, though he does have two versions of the "Sprint" ability.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The "Heavy Weapons Guy", despite packing a light machine gun and being tougher than any of the other heroes, is not any slower than them (except for the "Recon") and also has a "Sprint" ability, which increases his speed. This one veers very close to Game Breaker territory.

Stonewall tropes: