The 22-Year Playtest Continues
Ashley Johnson studies his Order of
Peter Brickwood logs in his progress.
Counters anyone? Would you believe
Randy Scheers, Greg Wilson, Bruce
Harper and Tor Abrahamson
World War II Evolution Never Ending ...
A World at War (WAW) had six full games recreating
World War II at the convention this year. For the first time,
two games began with starting positions that resulted from playing
the as yet to be published Gathering Storm game, which
is a prequel to A World at War. Publication for Gathering
Storm is anticipated some time in 2014. Gathering Storm
covers the pre-war period from 1935 to 1939+, and allows for
ahistorical economic, military and naval development, diplomacy
first game, which arose from Gathering Storm, began in
Spring 1939, six months ahead of the historical schedule. France
fell in 1939, and the Soviet Union was invaded in Summer 1940.
Meanwhile, Italy, which began at war with the Western Allies
over Albania, was in a permanent defensive mode. Russia was "stabbed
in the back" by Japan in Summer 1941, and eventually surrendered,
although at a great cost to Japan in the Pacific. Not to be deterred,
the Western Allies were ashore in Europe in 1942, and eventually
pressed forward, with help from a resurgent Russia, to take out
Germany historically, in Summer 1945. However, Germany did set
off an atomic bomb, delivered by an advanced submarine, in New
York harbor. In retaliation, the Allies delivered bombs to both
Berlin and Tokyo the same turn, ending the game.
In the second game, which also arose from Gathering Storm,
the game began in Summer 1939. This game also featured a painfully
slow conquest of France followed by a failed invasion of Russia.
This was chalked up to since-corrected imbalances in Gathering
Storm. The Axis found themselves a year behind schedule.
To keep the game interesting for all parties, the players decided
to call a truce in Europe for a year. The final result was adjudicated
as a tie in both theaters.
In the third game, the first of the "classic" (non-Gathering
Storm) games, an unusual contest developed when Germany decided
to postpone the invasion of Russia until 1942, while the Allies
responded by moving significant Russian forces to Siberia, to
tie down the maximum number of Japanese troops, limiting their
conquests. The Allies failed to exploit their advantages in the
Pacific, however, and Japan managed to achieve most of its conquests
and even held out long enough to achieve an adjudicated one turn
victory. Meanwhile, a larger than normal German fleet turned
back a Spring 1943 invasion of France, and held on for an adjudicated
two-turn victory in Europe.
The fourth game proceeded in a more historical fashion, with
a traditional invasion of Russia in Summer 1941, and a Japanese
attack in the Pacific in Winter 1941. Although the Battle of
the Atlantic was quickly won by the Allies, Germany invaded Russia
in possession of all of Rumania and all of Finland. In 1942,
the German summer offensive drove the Russians back beyond Moscow.
Both Moscow and Leningrad fell, but the Russians managed to stay
just above water without offering to surrender, thanks to a successful
1942 invasion of France. Meanwhile in the Pacific, the Allies,
delaying U.S. entry in Europe, added a British 3-4 infantry to
the defense of Singapore. While Japan took care of Singapore,
the Allies solidified their hold on Port Moresby and most of
the Solomon Islands. The game in Europe ended in Summer 1945
as a tie, after an unsuccessful attempt to deliver an atomic
bomb on Berlin in Spring. In the Pacific, the Allies forced a
Japanese surrender, with the help of a few atomic bombs, in Summer
1945, for a one turn victory.
In the fifth game, the Axis also followed a fairly conventional
path, with an emphasis on an attempt to conquer Russia. The best
chance for this was in Winter 1942. However, the Russian player
made a gutsy 1:1 attack on Rostov and won it, putting surrender
off the table. Russia was sufficiently wounded, though, to result
in a three-turn victory for the Axis in Europe. This was almost
balanced by a very successful Allied campaign in the Pacific,
resulting in a two-turn Allied victory in that theater.
In the sixth game, two players made their debut at the convention.
The Axis were doing well in both Europe and the Pacific, but
both games were far from finishing. No adjudication was made.
This year the second printing of A World at War began
shortly before the convention. Those with pre-orders, who wanted
to receive their copies, could do so. Several did, and had the
pleasure of using the newly printed, and completely current,
rules and components.
Don Stanley and Jim Sparks
Thomas Stanley sure is a little
gamer for such a big game.