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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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War at Sea 2 is an expansion for War at Sea (second edition), giving the game not so much greater depth, but rather more options. Considering the stripped down nature of War at Sea (second edition), this is a godsend to many, although the variant has two rather large problems that prevent it from being a great expansion. Interestingly, this game was designed by Paul Kaster, who seems to have designed nothing else, and Alan R. Moon, who is sort of famous in these parts.

Gameplay (60/70): War at Sea 2 plays in pretty much the same fashion as War at Sea (second edition). The Allies move their fleets to secure sea zones, which are then contested by Axis warships and u-boats. Although the Allies have many more ships, the Axis can win big securing only a handful of sea zones, since the Axis are granted a bigger pay-off in terms of victory points. In the original game this was supposed to even out the two sides, but it is my belief that a good Allied player will nearly always defeat the Axis because they can afford to take the losses. War at Sea 2 fixes some of these problems while generating new ones.

First, the positives of this game are considerable. Instead of only 1 aircraft unit per side, you get several air wings. New ships are included for all the navies, including some conspicuously missing ships from the original game, such as the Ranger. New Russian and Greek ships add some flavor. The Italians get Frogmen, who can attack Allied ships in port, while the British receive a similar weapon in the x-craft. There are also the Tiger, Torch and Afrika Korps convoys. All told these counters increase the immersion and flexibility offered to each side. However, the three best improvements in particular are worth noting. First, War at Sea 2 offers new sea zones (Cape of Good Hope, Black Sea, Caribbean) and bases (Malta, Oran, Toulon, Alexandria, Greece, Turkey, Africa, Sevastopol). This expands the playing field, although there are some isuues that I'll discuss later on. However, my favorite aspects are the inclusion of German surface raiders to help out the u-boats and removals for the Pacific War. Yes, in the original the Allies never had to send ships to fight the Japanese. This is pretty much why I rate the base game a three and this version an eight. How in the hell the makers of War at Sea (second edition) let that slip by is beyond me.

However, War at Sea 2 has one very big problem: the French Navy. It is Allied in turn 1, giving them a major advantage. At the end of the turn its fate is decided, although how well the Axis have done determines the odds of the fleet going Allied or Axis. However, with the French in play, the odds of getting the good die rolls are quite diminished. So there you have it, a powerful fleet that does more to complicate game and increase the Allies’ initial advantage.

Fortunately, War at Sea 2 is simple enough that it can be tweaked, however it is missing the most fun “what-if” of all: an expanded German fleet along the lines of Plan Z. A variant with more Axis ships was published called Plan Z, and while a much needed addition, it lacked the O and H class battleships, so it pretty much was false advertising. Even Victory in the Pacific got VITP variant: Story of the Eight-Eight fleet. When will War at Sea 2 receive its due?

Of course my optional rules offer something in regards to this matter: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/73018/optional-rules

Plan Z Counters


Accessibility (10/10): The virtue War at Sea (second edition) always lay in its simplicity. War at Sea 2 is not a giant leap forward, and any wargamer can easily dive into this expansion.

Components (7/10): Not bad for the 1970s, the game has a functional look that works just fine. That being said, L2 Design Group needs to get cracking on their version of War at Sea 2.

The Units


Historical Quality (4/10): War at Sea 2 only does marginally better than War at Sea (second edition) in this regard. For one, the French fleet’s fate is very poorly handled. Historically, most French ships remained neutral until being scuttled in 1942. Here most of the fleet will join de Gaulle. The bases are the most bizarre aspect though. Toulon reverts to Allied control later in the game, but somehow Oran remains Axis, while Turkey is not neutral and Greece never falls. This is mind numbingly stupid, and I suggest players can easily agree upon history and scrap these strange rules. Otherwise, the game is more goofy than idiotic. The body count will be higher than history, but that is to be expected in a game that asks the Germans to win a Jutland.

Overall (84/100): War at Sea 2 improves the original game, but the issues with the French fleet hurt the game considerably, and the base allocations, while fun, are terribly goofy. However, what can one expect out of a game that asks the Germans to sally out and confront the Royal Navy? War at Sea (second edition) and War at Sea 2 strike me as more of a “what-if” scenarios than anything else. It is perhaps inevitable given the historical situation that Victory in the Pacific will remain the superior game in terms of fun and history. I have only once managed to combine both games for Victory at Sea, but it is worth the effort if you have War at Sea 2.

I Like This Version of the Map
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Robert Wesley
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That 'map' is 'whack'! What with a portion of southern 'Africa' broken off, "drifted" westernly, and then shoved a greatly reduced 'South America' sideways & northernly upwards while it was at "it"! There was plenty of room within the 'North Africa' segment at the bottom, to allow some BOX denoting "Cape of Good Hope" abstraction there then.

The greatest 'drawback' about "Plan Z", was in NOT giving their KM those additional 6 years in which to implement and provide them 'designs' of which you brought up. It also didn't help matters that there wasn't enough 'materials'-(steel production) to go around for everything, as well with lacking sufficient numbers of *Specialized* shipyard personnel overall, i.e. 'welders'. The 'Panzers' formations, and plenty of others too, also required this so that it made things a constant inter-service 'rivalry' on procuring any for everybody's uses. You have to also remember that it was almost 2 years AFTER the "War" began, before even the 'Bismark' was available for service. By then, they'd had a complete 180 degrees "turn around" on doctrine concerning surface ships, since they decided to concentrate upon "U-Boot" production as with what to pursue overall.


EDIT here is an imagery of what the "War at Sea II" countersheet originally included for them 'white blank'-markers, as that was additional VARIANT counters. You'll have to view this at 'original' setting in order to espy the "N" set.

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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The greatest 'drawback' about "Plan Z", was in NOT giving their KM those additional 6 years in which to implement and provide them 'designs' of which you brought up. It also didn't help matters that there wasn't enough 'materials'-(steel production) to go around for everything, as well with lacking sufficient numbers of *Specialized* shipyard personnel overall, i.e. 'welders'. The 'Panzers' formations, and plenty of others too, also required this so that it made things a constant inter-service 'rivalry' on procuring any for everybody's uses. You have to also remember that it was almost 2 years AFTER the "War" began, before even the 'Bismark' was available for service. By then, they'd had a complete 180 degrees "turn around" on doctrine concerning surface ships, since they decided to concentrate upon "U-Boot" production as with what to pursue overall.


All true of course, but a game this simple is just begging for alternate ship designs. I mean can't we deploy the Lion class too!
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Robert Wesley
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You're 'postulating' upon Nazi Germany delaying WW2 for the 6 years they figured on completing that? It would become quite interesting then on seeing what they'll manage to develop or effect as a result throughout this 'time-line', I would imagine. Not only that, then perhaps Spain shall recover enough to join "in" by then? How about Italy? Could they be restrained as well for the duration, or even Japan? Hitler decided -wrongly, I might add- that the timing were RIGHT NOW and 'perfect' in 1939, based upon the reactions from the others around him within the surrounding nations at the time.

I shall admit that a "Plan Z Completed, 1945" does sound appealing, although it may stretch the plausibility of this taking place somewhat, along these lines. Many other 'factors' would have to be taking into account as well, and THAT is where the extensiveness belies. If you felt it were worth pursuing, then why NOT do just that? The 'Fascist'-states aren't going to be as constrained that their erstwhile opponents shall have been during the interim, and this is WHY it shall be "most interesting" on 'seeing' what may have occurred!
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Salim Mohammed
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The problem I have with Plan Z is the same I have with - If Germany had built 300 subs by 1939....

The British have a spy network - Not that they would need one with this massive naval buildup. They can build ships to.

Does anyone think they would see this massive build up and they would sit idly bye while this went on ? They would counter it !

Many "What Ifs" ideas are concocted in a vacuum. Where one side does a great many things over time, while the other , fully knowing this does nothing.That is not what would happen.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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The problem I have with Plan Z is the same I have with - If Germany had built 300 subs by 1939....

The British have a spy network - Not that they would need one with this massive naval buildup. They can build ships to.

Does anyone think they would see this massive build up and they would sit idly bye while this went on ? They would counter it !

Many "What Ifs" ideas are concocted in a vacuum. Where one side does a great many things over time, while the other , fully knowing this does nothing.That is not what would happen.


I fully agree, which is why I brought up the Lion class. You might also see the the N3 and Vanguard class appear in a Plan Z. We also might get more French ships, like the Joffre.

Another variant might be what if parts of the Kaiser's fleet had survived for whatever reason?
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Ron Bell
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If the Germans had delayed WWII for six years to "complete" their fleet,what would the Allies have done when they saw such a build up? Wouldn't more keels have been laid? Maybe carriers would have been delayed and more BBs built as there might not have been the evidence of the dominance of airpower yet. Seems all the variants are aimed at strengthening the Germans with no thought given to any Allied response.
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Robert Wesley
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I did answer the last sentence of yours there, with this reply: More Allied Vessels
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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If the Germans had delayed WWII for six years to "complete" their fleet,what would the Allies have done when they saw such a build up? Wouldn't more keels have been laid? Maybe carriers would have been delayed and more BBs built as there might not have been the evidence of the dominance of airpower yet. Seems all the variants are aimed at strengthening the Germans with no thought given to any Allied response.


Of course Ron. That is why we are discussing new Allied counters as well.
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Ken
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obediah1 wrote:
If the Germans had delayed WWII for six years to "complete" their fleet,what would the Allies have done when they saw such a build up? Wouldn't more keels have been laid? Maybe carriers would have been delayed and more BBs built as there might not have been the evidence of the dominance of airpower yet. Seems all the variants are aimed at strengthening the Germans with no thought given to any Allied response.


The way that the British and French reacted to German re-militarization, I think entirely possible that they would have done nothing. The British find that Germany's building a huge air force and how do they respond? By not ramping up production to match. The Germans are investing heavily in tanks? We don't need to match that. The Germans reoccupy the territory lost at Versailles? We can let that go to avoid a war.

The British and French reaction to overwhelming evidence that Germany planned on reestablishing its borders, remilitarizing, and even expanding was a complete failure to respond to reality. They did not invest heavily in their own forces, recognize the threat that was staring them in the face, or even believe their own intelligence. Until war was inevitable, their governments (and people) were willing to pretend that what was happening wasn't happening rather than face the possibility of another world war.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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The way that the British and French reacted to German re-militarization, I think entirely possible that they would have done nothing. The British find that Germany's building a huge air force and how do they respond? By not ramping up production to match. The Germans are investing heavily in tanks? We don't need to match that. The Germans reoccupy the territory lost at Versailles? We can let that go to avoid a war.


I can see your point here Ken, but there are few things to consider, including the fact that the French did ramp up their tank production. Mostly though they were sensitive to naval threats. The British did start work on more modern battleships and carriers after 1936, while the French built ships to keep up with the growth of the Italian navy.
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Keith Plymale
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I think the map above is okay however I made one change to my map. I divided the Med into two areas with the dividing line at Malta. This reflects the reality of the theator and history. The RN based there fleet elements at Alexandria and Gibralta with convoy's running from both directions to Malta. The POC points now count for both areas.
 
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wardall clark
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WAR AT SEA and WAR AT SEA 2 are both "what if" fantasies. WAS-2's
treatment of Ports and the French Navy pretty much proves that. What many do not realize is that the orders of battle on both sides are
wildly unhistorical both in War at Sea 2 and in the original game.

The original game presupposed that the Axis got all its ships ready to
go on turn 1, without ever stating when turn 1 is. The only historical
dates of sorts are the opening of Murmansk, the entry of American ships and the surrender/neutralization of Italy. Game 2 provided double POC awards which only make sense if you find historical events that might coincide such as the Norway Invasion, the Dunkirk evacuation/ Battle of Britain, Crete, the Afica Korps reinforcement in winter 41/-42 and Torch
convoy. All of which confirms the impression that the game starts in April of 1940.

But an examination of the historical Fleets shows that 2 of the 4-3-5s were undergoing overhauls and one of the 4-6-6s was still under construction (as was France's Richeleau.) The Germans had their turn 1 ships ready to sail, but the Surface Raiders were still in port, only the Pocket battleships were at sea. The Graff Spee and Britain's Royal Oak were already sunk when the action supposedly begins. The Bismark would not sail its shakedown mission until spring 1941, which would be turn 3 rather than turn 2. Ditto for the Prince of Wales.

Key events of the real Battle for the Atlantic are prohibited in WAS-2 or have very low probabilities We fixed these results in place through the Order of battle. For example Ships heavily involved in both the Oran and Dakar attacks on the the French fleet disappear and then return, in some cases with damage. This works great for the Taranto Raid and the frogmen in Alexandria Harbor.

Our two big changes were to move the Italians to earlier in the order of movement and limit the German gunnery bonus. WAS was nicely balanced with the axis going last and German ships outfighting their British counterparts. The British loosing 6 BB, 3 CV and 5 CA to Pacific duties and the Axis adding 3 CA and 2 Obsolete BB throws the numbers off too much. Making the Italian deploy prior to the British reduces the strain
by letting the ships based at Gibraltar operate where they are most needed.

Most other changes from WAS-2 were relatively minor. The surface raiders can sneak through hostile-controlled zones with a speed roll. German control brings POC but does not inhibit British deployments. And the LAB counters may shoot at reach other. The Bay of Bengal is in play in the Early turns of the game After Pearl Harbor, the Caribbean takes its place for POC purposes.

So far, we have found that due to the changing forces on the two sides the advantage swings back and forth throughout the game, so long as the German navy remains a force in being the Axis still has a chance to come from behind.
 
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Paul Carlson
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The inclusion of the Greek Navy's obsolete BBs is a mystery to me:

The Lemnos was decommissioned in 1932 and hulked in 1937 after having its guns removed for shore batteries. It was used as an accomodation ship until sunk by Germans off Salamis on 23 Apr 41.

The Kilkis was placed in reserve in 1932 and used as a training ship from 1935 until sunk in the same attack as the Lemnos. It too had its guns removed for shore batteries.

The Greeks also had the old protected cruiser Elli (1912), but it was sunk before Greek entry into the war (on 15 Aug 40) by an Italian sub. Probably shouldn't be included in WAS/WAS2 anyway due to her small size.

A ship that could be added is the armored cruiser Giorgios Averof (1910), although all she did after escaping the German invasion was to serve as a convoy escort in the Indian Ocean. She had 4x9.2" (2x2) turreted guns and 8x7.5" (4x2) casemated guns (only 4 guns per side, limiting broadside power). Her tonnage (9958 normal load) and armor protection was similar to the modern treaty CAs in use. She was slow, however, topping out at ~22.5 kts. These would give her WAS/WAS2 factors of 1-1-3. Since she served outside the WAS/WAS2 environment she could be used in the "Victory at Sea" variant. I would allow the Axis a chance of capturing her before she escapes, however.
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Jeffrey Larsen
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I think the fascination would be that they were old US pre-dreadnoughts (Mississippi and Idaho). Plus they were sunk by Stukas! I remember being fascinated by their pictures (with those Pre-war US-style masts) and wondering about the what-if's....
 
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