World in Flames Deluxe Collectors Edition by Australian Design group Review Part One   So, this game is like a ...

World in Flames Deluxe Collectors Edition by Australian Design Group World in Flames Deluxe Collectors Edition by Australian Design Group

World in Flames Deluxe Collectors Edition by Australian Design Group

World in Flames Deluxe Collectors Edition by Australian Design Group


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Review Part One






  So, this game is like a kid getting a life-sized chocolate rabbit for Easter. We are going to have to gnaw on this critter for a while. This beast comes with 1600 counters for the basic game! We do not have as many of these monster games as we once did. It seems like we do not have the time or the space anymore for them. This is the  end all and be all of games, especially with all of the add-ons, about the entire Second World War. This not only throws in the kitchen sink, but also adds in the plumbing and the bathroom sink to boot. A word of warning, this is not for the newbie. If a newbie were to just see the contents of the box they would run away screaming to their Risk box. This is grognard territory. Hoary old and gray grognard territory. Sorry, but that is what most of us are :). We will have to go back in time a bit to underscore exactly what you get within this fifteen pound game box:

1) Four Large (574mm x 830mm) full-color hard-mounted maps of the world
2)One (297mm x 420mm) full-color hard-mounted map of the Americas
3) One (297mm x 420mm) full-color hard-mounted turn record chart
4) One (297mm x 420mm) full-color hard-mounted Task Force display
5) 4800 (12.7mm x 12.7mm) full-color counters of all of the armies, navies, and air forces of World War II (Including Planes in Flames, Ships in Flames (Including Cruisers in Flames, Convoys in Flames, and Carrie Planes in Flames), Divisions in Flames, and Territories in Flames).
6) Full-color rule book
7) Full-color campaign book
8) Five x A3 full-color games charts
9) Two ten-sided die





 This is a link to my unboxing:



  Now we have to get a few things out of the way. I am not someone who sets up a board game and analyzes every move or combination to figure out the best strategies to win within the system or rules. I try to play historically, as much as I can, any game that I am playing. The other point is that my gaming habit is almost always driven by my reading, and I am a voracious reader. So, I might have an ancients game on the table one week and a World War II naval game the next. I know there are more than a few World In Flames aficionados that have analyzed every move and have had the game up for years on end. My apologies to these people right off the bat. I could never equal your knowledge of the game. I am just not put together that way. World in Flames is one of those games that some people do get caught up in and have sometimes built there lives around. So with that out of the way what are the scenarios you can play in World in Flames? Here is the list:

 There are five one-map campaigns ranging from:

Victory in the West: May/June 1940 - Jan/Feb 1941, to
Battle of the Titans: The Russian Campaign: May/Jun 1941 -
 May/Jun 1945     

 There are four two-map campaigns ranging from:
  
Fascist Tide: War in Europe Sep/Oct 1939 - May/Jun 1945
Rising Sun: Tojo's War: Jul/Aug 1937 - Jul/Aug 1945

 There are six four-map campaigns ranging from:

Missed the Bus: The end of the beginning: Jul/Aug 1940 - Jul/Aug
  1945
Decline and Fall: Allied Ascendancy : May/Jun 1944 - Jul/Aug
  1945
If you have the add-ons Days of Decision, America in Flames, and
  Patton in Flames there are a few more scenarios to add to the mix:



 It has been about six years since I played World in Flames and that was the fourth edition. So, we are going to take baby steps and start with the one-map campaign Victory in the West. Germany is already at war with France and the Commonwealth. To get down to gaming we have to envision the situation the Allies and Germany are in. The Maginot Line covers almost all of the border of France and Germany. Historically the Western Allies sent the bulk of their better forces into the Low Countries when Germany attacked them. This resulted in Manstein's famous 'sickle cut' that chopped the Allied forces in half. No one in their right mind is going to play that gambit in a wargame, unless they are forced to by the rules. This game starts before the invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands and also gives both sides freedom of setting up their counters/units where they want (mostly). What usually happens in most games that replay this campaign is pretty much a hoplite shoving match or a repeat of World War I on the Northeastern French border. This is pretty much the introduction scenario. It really only deals with land and air units, with very little naval units or rules (for my second part of the review I will play the campaign for Guadalcanal).




 So we have to start by setting up the map and units. The map is the one piece that has Western Europe on it. The units, well that is a bit of a different story. Because the game pretty much gives a player the chance to set up his units anyway and where he wants, it is  more involved than most games. Most games have hex wxyz printed on the unit so you know where they were set up historically. This game separates the units of a country by the year. What this means is there might be too many units for a given year for say Germany in this scenario. The scenario calls for two armored units, but there are actually four in the counter mix. There are also two that are being built and will be available later in the year for Germany. Now, this seems simple. Unfortunately the units have different strengths and movement numbers listed on them. You actually have to read both the rulebook and Campaign and Players Guide to find out how to deal with this situation. Then you will see that in this case the owning player simply draws them out of a cup chit style. I assume that the missing other units are actually defending on the Soviet border. I would have liked the setup to say, and think it would be easier, that x, say forty-five, infantry strength steps are needed in Western Germany for this scenario. Although in this instance it might lead to cherry picking by the owning player, because said units have different movement speeds. So I do think that setup could have been handled differently, and possibly easier. As of now, you check the Campaign and Players guide for the scenario and then cross-check the list for setup in the back of said book. You will have to remember to check that against anything about setup in the actual rulebook. Let's go back to the actual scenario. Now because the scenario is very dependent victory point wise on Paris, there is not much incentive to defend the Low Countries. Paris is worth three victory points whilst Amsterdam, Brussels, and Antwerp are worth five total. This is compensated by the following cities being worth one victory point each Lille, Lyon, Marseilles, and Metz. So if the Western Allies player can keep the Germans at the French border in the North, he will have seven to five victory points to start with. It is only tilted more to the Allies' non-intervention because the Western Allied player receives points for delaying the game to the Jul/Aug turn to the tune of this amount per turn: Jul/Aug - one victory point, Sep/Oct - three victory points, Nov/Dec - six victory points, Jan/Feb 1941 - ten victory points. You do also get points for destroyed HQs and armored and mechanized units. Thus you can see that the German player has his work cut out for him. It is possible that Barbarossa would have to be postponed or forgotten about if the casualties in Northern Europe are too high for the Germans. In retrospect I think this helps the Allies a lot in the bigger campaigns. Sacrificing French manhood to bleed the Germans more than France was willing at the time would be the opportune strategy for the Western allies player in the longer games. Now there is one rule that I really like that is important here. That is, units of different countries even if they are allied cannot stack together. There is also another rule that does help the German side of the equation. The Commonwealth Lord Gort can only command two units in France. So the scenario description does recommend that you put your Commonwealth units into Belgium. This allows you to have two units in both Belgium and France with the caveat if your Commonwealth units are pushed back into France, any units above two will have to be eliminated. Realistically the French nation had lost so much blood in World War I, it was inherently not ready for another blood bath on its Northern border. I think that a house rule could be added that if France loses x amount of units something happens. Perhaps the loss of another unit picked by the French player to represent morale loss?



 So what are the main points we are taking from this game and scenario? The scenario is tough for both sides. Setup, Setup, Setup is the biggest rule of thumb on both sides of the border. The Germans not only have to get to Paris, they have to get there fast. This is 1940 and the Luftwaffe is as strong as it ever was. You have a whole Air Force that is built to destroy and hamper enemy ground units; use it. The Allied player has to stop them at the border of France and fight for every hex to the teeth. The game complexity for this scenario and the other one map ones I have set up and played or set up and looked at is about the same. They are no harder or more intricate than others in the same ilk of game. I think there is the rub. I have not played a real monster game in a while. I am probably making the rules and setup seem harder than they really are. The scope of the game means that the rules etc. have to have the same sort of scope. By design, World in Flames is meant to make you think and possibly pull your hair out, if you have any left. The rules are long and the Campaign and Players Guide at times is somewhat arcane, at least to me. This is one of the games that I recommend that you get a cup of coffee or three, and set aside a few hours to read through the rules before you even think about cutting a counter out. This is not a knock on the game; we have longed for this game, and dreamed about this game for exactly this reason. Tune in to the same bat time and same bat channel for my third part of the World in Flames Deluxe Collectors Edition review.


Harry's setup of Victory in The West

  The above is from the Vassal mod for World In Flames that is on Australian Design Group's website. Here is the link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y93vgnnoxxdltin/WiF%20CE%20Fall%20of%20France%20Vassal%20scenario.zip?dl=0


Robert


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