Second World War at Sea series

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Second World War at Sea is a game series produced by Avalanche Press covering naval combat during World War II. The series is based on Avalanche Press' Great War at Sea. The two series share many features although they are separate both from a rules standpoint and a scale standpoint (see SOPAC below).

Game Mechanics[edit]

The SWWAS series simulates World War II naval combat using a system with the following characteristicss:

  • Each major surface unit (Aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers and fleet destroyers) are represented with a single 1"/.5" rectangular "counter" containing the ship's statistics (below).
  • Minor surface warships (escorts) as well as auxiliaries and merchant ships, are portrayed via 1/2" square counters with the associated statistics.
  • Aircraft squadrons (representing from 8-24 aircraft) as well as the game's various starus markers are also 1/2" square counters.

The game provides highly abstracted statistics on the various counters for the following: For ships:

  • Anti-aircraft factors
  • Speed
  • Surface gunner factors, divided into "Primary" (Battleship-caliber guns of 12-18" bore), "Secondary" (cruiser guns from 5"-8" bore) and "Tertiary" (minor guns from 3"-5" caliber) ratings.

For air units:

  • Air-to-air combat factors
  • Air-to-surface combat factors
  • Land-bombardment factors
  • Range

These factors are translated into numbers of dice rolled to attempt to sight and attack enemy targets. These die rolls are modified by an elaborate series of charts designed to factor in environmental, technical and human factors. Each game is played on a map-board divided into a grid of squares, each representing a 36-mile-wide area. Players plot their units moves, and track damage and fuel consumption, on separate data sheets for their associated fleets.

Titles In series[edit]


SOPAC was the first Second World War at Sea game and extended the Great War at Sea series to World War II. SOPAC was released in 2000 and eventually sold out in 2004.

SOPAC's scale was different from that of the Great War at Sea series because the area on the map could not fit using the earlier scale on the available map size. This means that the two related series' can not use each other's maps.

Eastern Fleet[edit]

Eastern Fleet was the second game in the series and covered the British Eastern Fleet.


Midway covers the Battle of Midway as well as other scenarios in that area and period of the war.

Bomb Alley[edit]

Bomb Alley was the fourth game and according to Avalanche Press, "the most ambitious" (although that title would only last until Leyte Gulf was released). It covered the whole Mediterranean and featured 50 scenarios.

Leyte Gulf[edit]

Leyte Gulf was the first game produced through Avalanche Press's Classic Wargames program. The game includes three operational maps and 2,170 game counters. Leyte Gulf is Avalanche Press's largest and most expensive game.

Strike South[edit]

Strike South covers Japanese operations in 1941 and early 1942, including the invasions of Malaya, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).


Bismarck is the first game in this series set in the Atlantic Ocean and covers German commerce raiders from 1939 to 1941. The game includes the German battleships Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, and Gneisenau as well as the aircraft carriers Graf Zeppelin (as well as her never-completed sister Peter Strasser).Very historic war between bismarck and british navy.

Cone of Fire[edit]

Cone of Fire contains both Great War at Sea and Second World War at Sea pieces for South American nations. It was produced under the Classic Wargames program and is expected to be released in mid-2007.

Arctic Convoy[edit]

Arctic Convoy was recently made available for pre-order and features Allied convoys trying to make it to northern Soviet ports.

Coral Sea[edit]

Coral Sea is the introductory game for the Second World War at Sea series and covers the Battle of the Coral Sea. It uses a small box size and comes with a new edition of the series rules and shares a sheet of counters with Pacific Crossroads.


Like Great War at Sea, Second World War at Sea has spawned several supplements.

Distant Oceans[edit]

Now out of print, Distant Oceans added scenarios to the existing games at the time it was printed as well as featuring several background articles. It featured counter graphics that gamers could use to create counters for the Yugoslav navy, however newer supplements feature actual counters. Because of this, Distant Oceans will not be reprinted.

East of Suez[edit]

East of Suez was released in early 2007 and featured the British Pacific fleet in both real and fictional operations in 1944 and 1945. Leyte Gulf is required to play all of the scenarios and other games in the series are needed for some of the scenarios.

Black Sea Fleets[edit]

Black Sea Fleets is the newest Second World War at Sea product. It adds Soviet naval forces to the game, concentrating on the Black Sea. The supplement also contains counters for the Turkish and Romanian fleets and air units.

Future Products[edit]

Future products in the Second World War at Sea series include a new version of U.S. Navy Plan Orange as well as at least two more supplements.