The 20-Year Playtest Continues
Bruce Harper, the designer who started
the never ending playtest.
GM Paul Milne and Vic Hogen in midgame
so this must be Thursday.
Other events mark their tables with
the name of the game; this one announce the turn.
Don Stanley of Saskatchewan and Ashley
Johnson battle on in the week-long struggle.
World War II Evolution Never Ending ...
Five full games recreated WW2 this year. In the first game,
the European Axis coupled a conventional attack strategy along
with an aggressive German Naval building program (four additional
large battleships). Opportunity and Allied miscues allowed the
conquest of Spain, Gibraltar and Egypt. This was paired with
a low tension Japanese pre-war strategy, and aggressive Pacific
island conquests once war broke out. The Allies were always offbalance,
and the Axis won a combined four-turn decisive victory.
the second game, a joint German and Japanese attack on Russia
resulted in a high level Russian surrender and a very decisive
Axis Victory. A Japanese attack on Russia is always extremely
difficult to successfully execute for Japan, as the reduced forces
available must capture the Indonesian oil, and fend off the US
at the same time.
The third game produced the only Allied victory, which was
by a single turn. The game itself developed conventionally, but
produced one of the most unusual Pearl Harbor attacks of all
time. The Allies had moved the two Atlantic carriers to the Pacific
before the war, making a total of five CVs there. The Allies
were unlucky, and three of them were caught and destroyed during
the Pearl Harbor raid. But luck runs both ways, and against all
odds the remaining two carriers found the Japanese strike force,
and sank two of its carriers. Veteran players could not remember
ever seeing such a result.
In the fourth game, the Axis again coupled a large naval build
strategy, along with a very aggressive attack on Russia (this
time without a Japanese attack). Eventually Russia surrendered,
and again the Axis won a very decisive victory.
The fifth game was one of the most memorable in convention
history. It started normally, but the Allies first roll for atomic
research was the lowest possible. The Allies decided to abandon
nuclear weapon development, and spend their research money on
more promising projects. What the Allies didn't know was that
Germany was developing atomic weapons. This is very unusual,
and extremely hard to accomplish. The economic commitment to
develop "the Bomb" is huge, and Germany must fight
without many of the units and weapon systems that it usually
has. However, this time it worked, and a nuclear warhead was
delivered in the US by an advanced submarine, and detonated at
the end of 1944. By rule, if the US gets nuked and doesn't have
an Atomic program of its own, it stops fighting in that theater,
and its forces are frozen in place. This allowed the Germans
to concentrate on the Russians. Despite this, and in another
surprise, the Russians were able to keep successfully attacking
the strengthened German Army, and conquered Germany in Fall 1945
(only one turn late). The Pacific war ended in a draw, giving
the Axis a one-turn victory.
WAW is constantly evolving, and this year, prior to
the convention, the naval rules were substantially revamped.
The goals of these rules revisions were to encourage more naval
combat (especially carrier air battles), rules simplification
and faster naval battle playing time. It had taken playtesting
most of the previous year to get the changes right, but they
The rules changes identified after this years' games were
minimal, and included an adjustment to Russian mobilizations,
the end to free Red Chinese offensives (Russia will now have
to pay for them), and some clarification to the new naval rules
in the areas of interceptions of returning naval units, and air
attacks on submarine patrols.
It should be noted that a new companion game, "Gathering
Storm", was also play tested this year. Gathering
Storm is a much shorter game that deals with the prewar years,
and allows for non-historical economic, military and naval development,
diplomacy, and aggression. When fully developed, Gathering
Storm will be played just before WAW. This will allow
for different pre-war strategies and scenarios for the start
of WW2, rather than the historical basis that is currently used.
Gathering Storm can also be played as a standalone game.