World in Flames
World In Flames - 4th edition
|Publisher(s)||Australian Design Group (ADG)|
|Setup time||30-120 minutes, depending on campaign|
|Playing time||20-180 hours, depending on campaign and rules version|
|Random chance||Low, Dice|
|Skill(s) required||Strategy, tactics, resource management|
World in Flames is a board wargame designed by Harry Rowland and released in 1985 by the Australian Design Group. It is currently in its 6th edition, World in Flames - Final Edition, each new edition featuring changes to the rules, maps and counters provided with the game. World in Flames won the 1985 Charles S. Roberts Award for Best 20th Century Game.
The game is a strategic-level recreation of both the European and Pacific theatres of World War II. The game begins with the German invasion of Poland, and contains rules determining when Russia and the United States may choose to enter the conflict.
World in Flames game mechanics takes into account many aspects of the World War II conflict. There are three main combat types; land combat, air combat and naval combat. The game is designed in such a way that these different combat types may influence each other. Thus, it is possible that a battle may consist of a number of engagements involving air, land and naval units, even if it is taking place in the land combat phase of an impulse. The rules are designed to be able to cope with different types of activity without invoking new concepts for each situation. For instance, strategic bombing of factories and resources are handled by the same rules that handles tactical bombing, paradrops and naval bombing. Attacks on convoys are handled by the same rules that handle ship-to-ship and air-to-ship warfare.
Major Powers and sides
The game is played with the British Empire (consisting of the United Kingdom, Canada, British Raj, Australia, South Africa and numerous territories and colonies), France, China, USSR and the United States of America forming the Allies and Germany, Italy and Japan forming the Axis. China is divided into Chinese nationalists and Chinese communists. Each major power can be played by one player; in practice two or more major powers on the same side are usually played by each player. If there is more than one player on the Allied side, the Chinese communists are controlled by the USSR player.
Major Power neutrality and entry into the war
At the beginning of the game, Germany must declare war on Poland. France and the British Commonwealth must subsequently declare war on Germany on their next move. At this time, Japan is at war with China. All other Major Powers are neutral. Future declarations of war between the Major Powers influences US Entry and US Tension, which are abstractions of when United States of America can declare war. Briefly, aggressive and successful play from the Axis side will hasten the entry of the US into the war. Aggressive Allied play - like declaration of war on neutral minor countries - will slow US entry.
However, these required political actions can be quite different if you play with Days of Decision, which can be used as an expansion of this game. Days of Decision starts gameplay in 1936 and allows for a far greater range of actions in the political spectrum.
Production and industrial output
The ability of a Major Power to produce military units is abstracted by three factors. Production points from on-map factory complexes are combined with resource points from on-map natural resources. For each pair of points successfully combined (by railing or shipping a resource-point to a factory), the nation gains a number of build points equal to its production multiplier. This multiplier represents how well geared the nation's industry is towards war-time production. As the war proceeds, all production-multipliers go up. The build points can be spent to purchase units for land, sea and air warfare.
Turn length, initiative and impulses
The side with the higher initiative roll decides what side will have the first of several moves in a turn. The roll is modified for one of the sides by a +1 or +2 on a ten-sided die, reflecting the side's ability to execute quick and well-coordinated offensives with enough resources. The initiative modifier shifts if one side asks for a reroll or if one side has the first and the last move in one turn. After initiative is determined, the winner chooses an impulse type (see below) and moves his units, and resolves different types of combat according to rules. After the impulse is ended, the impulse marker is advanced on a track with a number determining how likely the entire turn is to end. A die is rolled to see if this is the end of the turn; if not, the other side takes their impulse. The process is repeated until the end of turn die-roll indicates the end of the turn.
Weather is determined at the start of the initiative winner's impulse using the Weather Chart, which is a function of the time of year and a die roll. The map is divided into 6 different weather zones and each zone is assigned its own weather based on the Weather Chart result. The weather influences combat modifiers, naval ability to spot enemy fleets, supply range, aircraft mission eligibility, land unit movement allowance and how fast the end of turn impulse marker advances after each impulse. Weather greatly influences turn length and what can be accomplished in terms of offensives.
Supply is an important World in Flames concept. Each unit must be able to trace a line to a primary supply source, which is any city in its home country. The line cannot pass through an enemy land unit, or the hex next to it (enemy Zone of Control) unless this is occupied by a friendly land unit. This line can only be four hexes long, but does not count passage over railways or a sea area containing friendly convoys (or optionally, a sea area free of uncontested enemy naval units). The four hex limit can be extended by tracing it first to a secondary supply source, which is a friendly headquarters or occupied city. The four hex limit is reduced by bad weather conditions such as snow and rain.
An out-of-supply unit cannot attack and cannot move without being flipped over or 'disrupted'. A disrupted, out of supply unit is very easy to destroy.
At the start of each Major Power move, the controlling player must choose an impulse type. This represents that Major Power's current allocation of resources and planning. The possible choices are: Land impulse, Naval impulse, Air impulse, Combined impulse, and Pass impulse. Choosing a Land impulse will allow the player to move any number of land units, some air units and no naval units. Correspondingly, a Naval impulse will allow the movement of any number of naval units, some air units and no land units. The Air impulse allows the movement of any number of air units, but no other moves. A Combined impulse allows a limited number of land, air and naval movements, and restricts the number of land attacks that can be performed. The exact number of movements allowed depends on the Major Power and reflects its overall size and organization. Larger and more powerful Major Powers like the U.S. have more moves available in each category than, for instance, Italy. The Pass impulse allows no moves or attack. If two or more Major Powers choose this option, the chance for ending the turn increases.
Land combats are resolved by determining odds. Odds are determined by comparing combat factors on the attacking and defending side. Combat factors are influenced by unit strength and supply situation, terrain, tactical bombing factors, shore bombardment from naval units, and artillery. After the odds are determined as the ratio of attacking versus defending combat factors, a die roll is performed adding combat modifiers from unit disruption, weather conditions and other factors. The resulting modified die-roll is cross-referenced on the appropriate odds column of the combat result table. This table gives losses for the attacker and defender and provides information about whether the attacking units are disrupted, if a breakthrough is achieved, if the defender has to retreat, and other results.
Air combats are fought between fighter units from each side or between fighter units and other units, like strategic, naval or tactical bombers. The non-fighter unit types are generally easily destroyed in air-to-air combat, and air-combats are usually fought to hinder the opposing player's non-fighter aircraft in performing a bombing, resupply or paradrop mission. Each side organizes its aircraft units in a sequence of units numbered from first to last. The first unit is called the 'front fighter', even if it is not actually a fighter-type unit. Each air unit has an air-to-air combat factor. If the front fighter is a fighter type-unit, it can increase its combat factor by having other fighter-type air units behind it. At the beginning of each round of air-to-air combat, each side can opt to abort its remaining aircraft and return them to an eligible hex. If there are no fighters present on one side, all remaining non-fighters belonging to the other side are "cleared through" to their targets, that is, are able to reach their targets unhindered. A round of air-to-air combat consists of both sides determining odds by subtracting the opposing side's modified air-to-air combat factor from their own value and summing the rolls of two ten-sided dice. The appropriate odds-column in the air-combat results table is consulted and results implemented. Results include the "clearing through" of enemy aircraft, aborting enemy front fighters or bombers (which are then forced to land on eligible hexes and turn face down), and destroying enemy front fighters or bombers.
To initiate combat, two fleets in the same sea area perform die rolls to determine whether the units (which can also include land and carrier-based aircraft) spot each other and which side has the element of surprise. If at least one stack of units is deemed to spot the enemy fleet, combat is initiated. There are two types of naval combat: naval air combat and surface combat. The former represents one or both sides attacking the other side's ships using fighters and naval bombers; the latter represents ships attacking each other directly with their own guns. Naval air combat requires that an air-to-air battle is fought if either player has fighters allocated to defending their ships. Any bombers cleared through are then subject to anti-aircraft fire from the defending ships. Surviving naval bombardment factors are then used to determine what damage is inflicted on the enemy fleet. Surface combat is determined by adding the surface combat factors of all involved ships on each side. Surface and naval bombardment factors are cross referenced with the number of ships in the opposing fleet to determine results. Surprise can at this point be used to boost the table entry, increasing the amount of damage inflicted. Inflicted damage takes the form of one or more instances of "ship abortion", "ship damage" and "ship destroyed". Each result must be assigned to a ship, which then makes a roll to determine if it can reduce the damage to a less serious level. A ship can be chosen to suffer damage more than once. As can be expected, battleships are more likely to absorb damage successfully than smaller ships. Surprise can be used to force a result on a particular ship, carriers being a popular choice. After all results are assigned, each side has the option of aborting all remaining ships in the combat, returning them to an eligible port and flipping them. If neither of the sides abort, the sides again roll to spot each other and combat can occur again.
- "Charles S. Roberts Award Winners (1985)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- Matrix Game's "Games Catalog" page (computer-based version released in November 2013).
- Australian Design Group's home page (game publisher)
- World in Flames 7 Rulebook
- The French World in Flames Page - in English
- World in Flames FE counters organized by year
- World in Flames Discussion list
- World in Flames French Discussion list - in French
- World in Flames Vassal Module
- World in Flames at ConsimWorld
- World in Flames at BoardGameGeek
- WiFCON.org the North American World in Flames convention.