This week one of my long sought after games finally arrived at my doorstep. A World At War is one of those monster war games that requires loads of time to play and a likeminded opponent to play it with. I am not sure what is rarer these days, the time or the person; and that person would be fellow a grognard. Not exactly someone you will find without a bit of searching.
But even knowing this I put myself on the GMT Games P500 list for a reprint of this 2003 title. That was five years ago.
Yes, I’ve been waiting that long for the number of pre-orders for this behemoth to reach five hundred, which it actually didn’t reach. I think GMT felt everyone had waited long enough and showed great mercy in setting up a print run with almost one hundred fewer orders than the minimum. I don’t know if it was sympathy or not, but regardless of the reason I am thrilled to finally have my copy.
A World At War has a line of progenitors that led to its current incarnation. The game is actually the ultimate revision of the original Rise and Decline of the Third Reich, a European theater World War II simulation published by Avalon Hill in 1974. The original Third Reich was one of my first war games and has always remained one of my favorite gaming memories. In 1992 Avalon Hill released the next stage in the games evolution with Advanced Third Reich, followed in 1995 by a sister game set in the Pacific theater, Empire of the Rising Sun. These releases really extended the game rules into a rules system.
Here we are in 2013, and this second edition of A World At War (or AWAW as its fans call it) contains the most mature version of the system. If you have ever wanted to get your hands on one of the hobbies most enigmatic titles, your chance is now. If you are brave (foolhardy?) enough, you may even experience a life-altering journey and write a manifesto describing your pilgrimage to one of wargaming’s most sacred mountain tops.
I don’t know when I’ll have an opportunity to play. If the space was available I would lay it out and play through some turns solo but alas, I don’t have a good spot where a game of this size and magnitude could lie undisturbed long enough. Well, there’s always the next consimworld!