The 20-Year Playtest Continues ...
The early years get underway in the
ballroom before shifting to Lampeter on Tuesday evening.
Magnetized units allow the giant games
to be portable which was truly fortunate this year given the
need to transfer between sites.
Greg Wilson confers with designer
Bruce Harper over their framed map.
Trays of magetic counter reinforcements
await their turn for entry into the game.
If one takes the term "unique" literally, it is
safe to say that this is indeed a unique event. Unlike conventional
tournaments, World At War takes the form of an ongoing
playtest of an incredibly detailed game taking a week to play
that has been underway for over 20 years. The participants meet
at the end of the week to vote who "won" and decide
on the rule changes for next year! If that is not unique enough
for you, the participants come equipped with fully magnetized
versions of the game which came in extremely handy during the
need to change locations due to the unavailability of Lampeter
Hall during the auction.
A World at War attracted its largest field ever. This
allowed for eight full campaign games, also the most ever, breaking
last year's record by two full games. Although new players are
not unusual, this year all attending were veterans of at least
one previous event. The table markers indicating time frame and
turn for each game, introduced last year, were used again, allowing
spectators to easily tell at a glance how each game compared
to historical results. Two games involved failed invasions of
England that were later followed by invasions of Russia. One
game featured an Axis conquest of Spain and Turkey, followed
by a 1942 invasion of Russia. And in one game, the Allies managed
to invade France in 1942, and stay ashore. Of the eight games,
two were one-point Axis victories (which means one theater tied,
while the Axis won by one turn in the other theater); one was
a draw; two were Allied victories; and three were Axis victories
ranging from four to eight points. Nuclear research varied. In
most games the Allies researched the bomb; in one game the Germans
did, but never had a chance to use it. The number of bombs available
in 1945 varied, from one in Spring 1945 to five in Fall 1945.
The new rules in Russia appear to work as intended. Russia
now receives more BRPs in 1941, but fewer in 1942. This gives
the Axis more staying power in 1942 and resulted in more fighting.
The new rules for weakening Italy also worked as intended, and
Italy is now easier to take down. The modifications to submarine
warfare also worked well, and there did not appear to be any
games where the Battle of the Atlantic was badly out of balance.
In most games, the rules granting resistance points for holding
Pacific island groups promoted fighting, but in a couple it did
not. The rule granting a resistance point for controlling Chunking
seemed a bit too friendly to Japan, as once taken, there is little
the Allies can do to take it back. The new rule granting +1 air
defense and +1 NDRM to four factor carriers (CVBs), made these
ships more popular. In several games, both sides (Japan and the
US) built them.
The primary area of the game that was deemed worthy of change
at this time is naval combat. One game featured a Pacific theater
in which NO naval combat occurred! In another game, exactly one
naval battle was fought, but not until Summer 1945, and then
only one round. This was attributed to several factors, including
oil (Japan tends to be rather conservative because of it), the
power of land-based air (LBA), and the threat of interception
of activities in overwhelming force. New rules allowing more
latitude to small forces, modifications to the rules for LBA,
and changes to the oil rules, have been proposed and will be
play tested. The resistance point awarded to Japan for controlling
Chunking has been changed. A point is now awarded if the Chinese
resistance level is -3 or less.
One of our players, Elihu Feustal, took the time to do something
we have never done before - use a video camera to interview each
of the players at three different points in the game, providing
a visual and oral history of each match. These are available
on You Tube, at the links below. We have already heard from several
folks that are planning to come to the tournament after watching
Game 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMQrtTsmRok
Game 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYc6HXdHMVM
Game 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-vv1MRHVzs
Game 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnOhpIIvvfQ
Game 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L69nuYTVEpk
Game 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXRqMKnj_Mw
Game 7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tb9EV3-LKo
Game 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uu8yMsKqlo
Stacking with an attitude and a magnetic
personality. If you ever gave up wargames due to fiddly piece
density issues, this game is your worst nightmare.
Taking a page from B17, the WAW guys
have started a prize table and gone them one better - meeting
not only to discuss the results but vote on the winner!