Games to Play whilst watching the TV series World at War
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This is a celebration of the Classic TV series World at War. I ve included games I know or that rate highly or are simply different. The most important criteria is that the game matches the events covered in that episode. As a documenatary series about the conflict it is second to none. As historical comment it did buy into the then historical vogue that all the bad military decisions were Hitlers fault (which is what the surviving German generals wanted everyone to believe) where as Modern (21st Century) historians are more willing to share the blame about amongst the german top brass.

Nonetheless when you look out some of the contributors Speer, Bomber Harris, Admiral Donitz to name but a few it an outstanding piece of historical documentary.

Episode comments courtesy of Wikipedia, (although I was tempted to watch the 20+ hours again and make notes )

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1. Board Game: Origins of World War II [Average Rating:5.87 Overall Rank:7507]
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1: A new Germany
The rise of the Nazis in Germany and German territorial gains prior to the outbreak of war.

Ok Days of Decision III is higher rated but is more global in nature. Origins is a great little underrated game of pre war diplomacy. Let down by the rather dated Diplomatic CRT. I think it could make a interesting Euro mechanics remake. Asymetrical powers , different objectives, although Im not sure the Eurogamers would enjoy all the player interaction.
 
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2. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2240]
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2. Distant War (September 1939–May 1940).
The German and Soviet invasions of Poland, the turbulent political climate in Britain, and the rise of Churchill.

Im putting this as-yet-published game here, simply because it looks intersting and I dont want the list dominated by the Europa series. But the obvious candidate is Case White although there are not many games dedicated soley to this campaign.
 
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3. Board Game: The Fall of France [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:6318]
 
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3. France Falls (May–June 1940)
France in ferment, the "Phony War", and the German invasion of France and the Low Countries

An incredible detailed simulation (emphasis on simulation rather than game). I have played it many years back and found it a bewildering experience. France never fell or if it did it was very late on. It was still a German victory as the British Air force had been shot down. It was more like the first world war than the second with long lines bashing away at each other with no great manouvering or any significant Armoured breakthroughs.

Sounds dreadful but we had a great time. A real Grognards game.

 
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4. Board Game: RAF [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1719]
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4. Alone (May 1940–May 1941).
The Battle of Britain, and life in Britain between the evacuation at Dunkirk and Operation Barbarossa.

This is a solo game but very difficult to win. I used to own it but always go hammered , nonetheless an excellent tense little game. The multiplayer prize goes to The Burning Blue which I ve sadly never played.

 
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5. Board Game: Defiant Russia [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:6326]
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5.Barbarossa (June–December 1941).
The German invasion of the Soviet Union

Ok there are far better eastern front games out there and it is hard not to automatically go for EastFront II (my favourite), however this game is small and perfectly well formed and by the time the TV show had finished you will have nearly finished the game. It is also the only one which covers just same period as the TV show. There are plenty of other games which you can play out the Barbarossa scenario as a shortnened version of the campaign.
 
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6. Board Game: The Great Pacific War [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:7182] [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
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6.Banzai!-Japan (1931–1942)
The rise of the Japanese Empire, the Sino-Japanese war, Pearl Harbor and the early Japanese successes, and the fall of Malaya and Singapore.

Well its difficult to find a game which covers this period. I ve chosen GPW as you can start in 1939 and play the Sino-Japanese war for a few years before having a go at the western allies. I am not I have to say over enamoured with this game but bought as a companion to JP Third Reich, still havent been able to play them together though. Most other PTO games start in December 41.
 
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7. Board Game: Empire of the Sun [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:742]
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7.On Our Way-U.S.A. (1939–1942).
The dissidence of various factions in the United States of America on the war prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the mobiliztion of America after Pearl Harbor, the fall of the Philippines, the Doolittle Raid, Midway and Guadalcanal.

I cant think of any game which just covers the first year of the war so Im going for the 1942 Scenario of this my personal favourite PTO game. I do fancy giving one of the Pacific war block games a go one of these days.
 
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8. Board Game: Rommel in the Desert [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:1035]
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8.The Desert-North Africa (1940–1943).
The evolution of the desert war from the Italians, the German Afrika Korps, and the British ripostes.

I ve mentioned them but a thought I better get a block game onto this list. I own this and its a really painful brain burner of a game to play. One false move and your can quickly lose your army in a couple of turns ( and I have done so many times). Double fog of war, not only do you not know what you are facing, you cant be sure if the supply cards your opponent hold are all blanks which means you can go for his throat or full strength which means he's ready for his big move.

Superb game and deserves its high rating.
 
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9. Board Game: Case Blue [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:2236] [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked]
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9. Stalingrad (June 1942–February 1943)
The mid-war German situation in Southern Russia leading to the battle of Stalingrad--and its ultimate German catastrophe

I love monster games and played many in my mispent youth. Now I dont have the time or space to play any now .(Just 22 years and I can retire then Im going to play them all!). I dont have this I dare not buy it. But I do read longingly the reports , look at the pictures and sigh a lot.
 
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10. Wolfpack-U-Boats in the North Atlantic (1939–1943).
The submarine war focusing mainly on the North Atlantic. Tracks the development of both the convoy system and German submarine strategy.

Much anticpated Atlantic version of Silent War. I didnt fancy Silent war looked 'too big' to me but what do I know. This looks more manageable , cant wait .Besides which both my grandfathers where in the merchant navy on the Atlantic runs so it has a personal resonance.
 
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11. Board Game: Blood & Steel [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:11727]
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11.Red Star-The Soviet Union (1941–1943)
Focusing on the non-military aspects of war in the Soviet Union such as industry and morale, the siege of Leningrad, the Soviet partisans, the Battle of Kursk, and the war's ultimate sacrifice in 20 million Soviet dead.

Come on game designers ! The highest ranked Kursk only game is ranked 700 and something. Possible the greatest tank battle of all time !. Even then this game only covers only part of it not the whole operation. You would probably best getting your favourite EF game (insert your own title here) and playing the ubiquitous Kursk scenario.
 
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12. Board Game: Luftwaffe: Aerial Combat – Germany 1943-45 [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:9109]
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12. Whirlwind-Bombing Germany (September 1939–April 1944).
The development of British and American strategic bombing in both success and setback.

This one is definetly on my must-have-eventually list but it never quite gets to the top, something new and shiney always comes along and distracts me. Still dont know whether to pick up a cheap original on ebay or go mad and get the remake.
 
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13. Board Game: Anzio [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2753]
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13. Tough Old Gut-Italy (1943–1944).
Focuses on the difficult Italian Campaign beginning with Operation Torch in North Africa, the invasion of Sicily; Salerno, Anzio, Cassino; and the capture of Rome.

I played this game back in the day and it was a decent enough recreation of the Italian campaign. But slogging your way up the boot is never going to get the pulses racing. Its here because its the only game I know of dedicated to the whole of the Italian campaign. There are plenty of other games where you can play individual operations or battles.
 
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14. Board Game: Burma [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:2098]
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14.It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow-Burma (1942–1944).
The jungle war in Burma and India .

This is highly rated game of the OCS system. I havent played any of them yet and this particular game is recommended as a good introduction to the system. On my must-have list.
 
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15. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
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15. Home Fires-Britain (1940–1944).

One for the Eurogamers. Just imagine your "digging for victory" in your allotment instead of playing the role of a medieval German Farmer. Ok its weak but how many games do you know about the British Home front during the second world war? And yes I know there are not many wild boar in England but Im trying.


 
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16. Board Game: The Plot to Assassinate Hitler [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:13134]
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16. Inside the Reich-Germany (1940–1944).
Life inside Germany following the invasion of Poland--and the realization of defeat

Struggling to find games on this topic. But this rather obscure game does cover internal german politics to a degree. Even if one of its own developers called it a Turkey.
 
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17. Board Game: The Longest Day [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:2632]
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17. Morning (June–August 1944).
Follows the development and execution of Operation Overlord (aka D-Day) followed by the allied breakout and the Battle of the Bocage, and the battle of Falaise.

Another Monster game I played in my early years although not surprisingly we didnt finsh the campaign. I did really enjoy this one , the monster gamers monster.

There are probably dozens of smaller scale alternatives if you like that sort of thing.
 
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18. Board Game: Screaming Eagles in Holland [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:5099]
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18. Occupation-Holland (1940–1944).
Focuses on life in The Netherlands under German occupation.

Not surprisingly cant find/think of anything on this topic. SO lets move forward to 1944 and try and liberate this dutch town as part of operation Market Garden.


 
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19. Board Game: West Wall [Average Rating:4.83 Overall Rank:13936]
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19.Pincers (August 1944–March 1945).
The allied breakout in France and the setback at Arnhem, the Warsaw Uprising, the Battle of the Bulge, and the crossing of the Rhine.

This innovative double blind system, I had it , never got to play it then lost it in one of my many moves over the years.It begins after D-day and allows the allies to recreate Market-Garden if they want and gives the Germans an option to go for a Bulge type operation or play conservatively, of course being double blind the Allied player would not know where, when or even if the Bulge attack would happen. An interesting twist.
 
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20. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2240]
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20. Genocide (1941-1945)
Begins with the founding of the S.S. and follows the development of German racial theory. It ends with the implementation of the Final Solution.

Thankfully no ones been sick enough to design a game on this topic. Some people argue that any wargame is immoral and glorifies war , a point of view I sympathise with but it will not stop me playing them.

But what ever your views on war and warfare are, if anything says the Second World War was a 'just' war better than watching this episode Id like to know.
 
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21. Board Game: Victory in Europe [Average Rating:5.56 Unranked]
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21. Nemesis-Germany (February–May 1945).
The final invasion of Germany by both the Western and Eastern allies--and the denouement at Dresden

I used to own this and it wasnt a bad little game, covering as it did the final few months of the Reich. Map was ugly though. Fun to play (as the soviets!) solo.
 
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22. Board Game: B-29 Superfortress [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:3462]
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22. Japan (1941-1945)
Focuses on life in Japan during the war--and the reality of defeat after Saipan

You d be seeing a lot of these bad boys flying overhead from late 1944 if you were living in Japan during this time. Weak , but again its the best Ive got.
 
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23. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1816]
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23. Pacific (February 1942–July 1945)
Follows mainly the battles of the United States forces against the Japanese--Tarawa, Guam, Peleilu, the Philippines, and Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

I really , really , really want this game. But am always outbid on ebay. Any chance of a reprint ?
 
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24. Board Game: Operation Olympic [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:7718]
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24. The Bomb (February–September 1945).
The development of the atomic bomb and the role of President Harry Truman in ending the war.

You could recreate what may have had to have happened had the US not dropped the atomic bombs in 1945 and interstingly enough its a solitaire game.

Although there are many arguments in academic circles whether Japan would have surrended without dropping if not one then both atomic bombs. I am on the fence on that topic.
 
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25. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:185]
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25. Reckoning (April 1945).
The situation in post-war Europe including the allied occupation of Germany.

Ok its a stretch , but the end of the war brought about a rebirth of German democracy.
 
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