Making the Transition to A World
At War ...
Sixteen people participated in games of the newly released
A World at War, printed and published by GMT just in time
for the convention. A World at War enhances and completes
the game system previously published as Advanced Third Reich
(A3R), and Empire of the Rising Sun, by Avalon Hill. In
addition to those playing A World at War, four others
played the original A3R and RS games.
1 Eric Thobaben and Paul Stoecker (Axis) vs. Bruce Harper
and Vic Hogen (Allies). The Western Allied strategy in this game
was to avoid Sea Lion, and channel the Germans and Japanese into
the historical avenues of attack. The German attack on Poland
was costly, with 21 BRPs of losses. The initial German assault
on Russia was weakened by the Russian subversion of Rumania.
A forward defense helped hold the Germans at bay. Germany pressed
Russia in 1941 and 1942, but Germany was suddenly forced on the
defensive in Spring 1943 when the Allies landed in France. Meanhwile,
Japan managed to sink a carrier and several battleships at Pearl,
while damaging a few more. However, they did less well in New
Guinea, failing to capture Port Moresby. The U.S. counter offensive
in the Pacific began in 1942, with the Philippines falling in
Winter 1943. Eric focused his German research on Jets, and had
six to meet the Allied bombers in 1944. Unfortunately for him,
the Allies focused on rockets and the atomic bomb. So, although
the bombers did negligible damage, Germany was still forced to
surrender in Fall 1944 by an A-bomb attack on Berlin, delivered
by rockets. Japan succumbed on the same turn to an invasion of
Tokyo, along with a few firestorms.
Match 2 Jason Moore and Ernie Faust (Axis) vs. Dave
Hanson, Graham Kays and Jerry Smolens (Allies). This match featured
an early attack (Summer 1940) on the Soviet Union, while holding
the Allies at bay on Rhine. The objective was to conquer Russia
either before, or shortly after, U.S. entry, knocking them permanently
out of the war. Jason's plan worked well, in spite of valiant
efforts by the Allies to open an effective second front, drain
Axis BRPs with bombing, and keep the Russian army intact as long
as possible. Ernie, as the Japanese player, dutifully attacked
Russia as well, although this did not bode well for his overall
position in the Pacific. Germany accepted a Russian surrender
at -5 in Winter 1942, after securing the oil fields, and was
still able to knock out France afterward. The game did not get
past 1943, but an Axis victory seemed likely. However, playing
the game out would have been interesting, as the Allies had been
very successful in researching the atomic bomb. Whether the Allies
could have used it to achieve victory against Germany remains
an open question.
Match 3 Jim Sparks and Mike Crowe (Axis) vs. Jon Hogen
(Allies). Jim and I played against Jon playing solo (a very difficult
task, but one he pulled off). As the Japanese player, I wanted
to try an early attack with Japan, which I initiated in Fall
1940. My objective was to take India, and then to take China,
with a combination of attrition and bombing (both survived).
A strong defense was planned in New Guinea, which fell easily
to the early attack. Meanwhile, Jim pursued an aggressive strategy
in the Mediterranean, while planning the invasion of Russia in
Summer 1941. Jon decided to empty Manchuria to defend Russia,
since I had previously moved the air and armor south to help
in Burma and India. Jim's attack into Russia was weakened by
his commitment of air to the Med, and by his failure to fully
activate Rumania. He effectively bounced off the Russians, and
found himself on the defensive starting in 1942. Meanwhile, to
attempt to punish Jon for emptying Manchuria, I declared war
with Japan in 1941. Jon ignored this and focused on taking Germany
down as quickly as possible, attacking aggressively with Russia.
Jim held out gamely, but a conquest of Germany sometime in 1944
seemed inevitable. Because of Jon's focus on the Atlantic, Japan
did well, but seemed likely to fall on or before Fall 1945. This
game ended in late 1943, when Jim decided to go home early.
Match 4 Paul Milne and Kevin Milne (Axis) vs. Joe Brophy
and Rob Carl (Allies). Because Paul and Kevin did not have a
lot of experience playing the Pacific, this match focused only
on the Atlantic theater. The Milnes, were a father/son team making
their first appearance in the event. The game featured an invasion
of Russia, which was defended strongly by Rob Carl, returning
to A World at War after a hiatus from playtesting. Paul
and Kevin made a typical advance into Russia, followed by a retreat,
but did so at very low cost, and built up an impressive German
base, having over 800 BRPs during the 1944 year start sequence.
The Milnes had to leave early, so the game was not played to
Herbert Gratz of Austria surveys
the front in a multi-day game of Advanced Third Reich.
Vic Hogen was awarded Best Allied Play, Pacific Theater, and
the First Place Plaque, for Best Overall Play. Jon Hogen was
awared Best Allied Play, European Theater, and given second place.
Jason Moore was awarded Best Axis Play, European Theater, and
given third place. Mike Crowe was awared best Axis Play, Pacific
Theater, and given fourth place.