The World Wars
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
41 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
For most people, when the phrase "world war" comes up, thoughts turn to World War I and World War II, or perhaps to the as-of-yet-avoided World War III. But I remember in a history class in college years ago my professor making an off-hand comment about other world wars. I asked her about that after class and she rattled off a few other wars that can make a claim to being a "world war."

"World war" is an imprecise phrase of course, and it isn't like there is any legal or binding definition of what precisely makes a war a world war. So I thought I would list a few wars that may qualify as world wars, with some of my thoughts.

Please add any other examples, or tell me where I'm right or wrong!
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Hellenes: Campaigns of the Peloponnesian War [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1884]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Let's go way back in history. The Peloponnesian War may have felt like "world war" to the ancient Greeks, since it certainly encompassed the Greek world of the classical age.

But I think we can agree that a war really has to extend a bit more than from Sicily to Asia Minor to qualify as a true "world war."
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Khan: The Rise of the Mongols [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:12143]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The wars that brought empire to the Mongols under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his successors were certainly epic in scale, running from Japan to Croatia.

However, it was really done in a series of wars. And the wars only had one thing in common - the Mongols. So as sweeping as the Mongol Conquests were, I don't believe the rise of the Mongol Empire was the result of "world war." Just a lot of wars over a big part of the world!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1265]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Two of the pre-eminent world powers fought a long war from roughly 1580 to 1650. I refer to the Netherlands and Portugal. Actually, this war overlapped with the long Dutch Revolt against the Spanish - who actually ruled Portugal for much of this period.

You may be familiar with the fighting in the Netherlands between the Dutch and the Spanish; the Duke of Alba and all that. The Dutch invaded several Portuguese colonies all over the world - Brazil, Goa (India), Jakarta (renamed Batavia by the Dutch), Malacca, Ceylon, and fought the Portuguese at sea in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

The scope was quite wide. But the level of fighting outside of the Netherlands was rather limited. World war?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Marlborough: War of the Spanish Succession [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:11311]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In the early 18th century (1701-14), Britain, Holland, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire, and Savoy lined up against France, Spain and Bavaria, when France tried to place a Bourbon on the Spanish throne. Spain was no longer the superpower it had been in 1588, but Europeans saw a French/Spanish combination as destabilizing to the balance of power.

This was a much larger war than the Dutch one vs the Spanish and Portuguese. There was significant fighting in Europe proper (Marlborough made his mark), in Spain, the Low Countries, Germany, and Italy. There was significant combat in North America as well, and in the Caribbean. Spain and France attacked Charleston, South Carolina. Indian allies of the French attacked New England; New Englanders invaded French possessions.

The war ended with Philip (Bourbon) becoming King of Spain but having to give up his claim to the French throne, and Spain gave up its European possessions.

World war?
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: The Seven Years World War [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:9073]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Seven Years War was fought 1756-63 in Europe; the French and Indian War as Americans call it was 1754-63. This was Britain, Prussia, and some minor German states against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Saxony (as Friedrich players will recognize).

This was a big war. Lots of fighting in Europe. Major sea battles. Big battles between Britain and France in Quebec, the Caribbean, India, and Africa. This war ended French rule in Quebec and India. Maybe one million deaths from the war.

World war? No Asian participation ... but I think maybe it was.
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Age of Napoleon [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1664]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Then came, not long after, the wars of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

Pretty much every country in Europe was involved at one point or another, with Britain and France at war for all but 18 months from 1792 to 1815. Many many battles in Europe, but also Napoleon's famous invasion of Egypt, combat in Hispaniola, naval battles all over.

Because of the French defeat in the Seven Years War, this may be less of a world war than that earlier struggle.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: The Great War in Europe: Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:3464]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
World War I. The Great War. Ruined a generation of Europeans.

Also battles in East Africa and the Pacific, as the Allies picked off Germany's colonies. And naval battles all over the world, mostly instigated by German commerce raiders and u-boats.

It says "world war", it must be one. It did include Japan as a formal belligerent.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: World in Flames [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:937] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
World War II. If there were only one true "world war", this would be it. Major combat in Europe (west and east), the Atlantic (including US territorial waters), North Africa, East Asia, the Pacific, and attacks on Hawaii, Alaska, and Australia.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:4]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Was the Cold War a war? If so, was it a world war?

The geographical focus was certainly world-wide. Coups and revolutions in Latin America (Cuba, Chile). Proxy wars in Africa (Angola). Hot wars in Asia (Vietnam, Korea). A steady state of tension in Europe.

But I'd have to say that the Cold War was not a true war, and therefore not a world war. Which is a good thing.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Nuclear War [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2303] [Average Rating:6.21 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Because World War III would have been next if the Cold War had become a "real" war. If it escalated into a superpower confrontation, nuclear weapons would probably have been used, aimed at countries all over the world.

So this would have been a "world war." But that would've been academic. As Albert Einstein said, I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: War on Terror [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:3436]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
flag msg tools
ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
badge
Beneath this mask there is an idea.....and ideas are bulletproof.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's pretty global - terrorism in the US, UK, Spain, Indonesia - open combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, covert intelligence op's - well who knows where?

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Alexander the Great [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4412]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Follow me for wargames!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd humbly offer the campaigns of Alexander of Macedonia as a World War. As he conquered opponents from Europe to Africa to the Indian subcontinent, it can be argued that he WAS a world war all unto himself.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Admiral Ackbar "It's a TRAP!" GAME [Average Rating:3.72 Overall Rank:14675]
Michael Coene
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The greatest world war known to mankind. The Star Wars...
10 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: The Punic Wars [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:8201]
Ignacio Baca
Spain
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Punic Wars have everything to be considered as "World Wars": two great powers struggling to become the only surviving superpower of the known world and a cruel First War followed by an even more cruel Second War just 23 years after the first one ended. It is not son different of the 20th century.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Origins: How We Became Human [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:2486]
Wulf Corbett
Scotland
Shotts
Lanarkshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This one covers lots of world wars...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Star Trek: Fleet Captains [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:401]
Konrad Gill
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The Dominion Wars, all main powers of the Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrant where involved, definitely a Worlds War.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Wallenstein (second edition) [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:799]
Konrad Gill
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The 30 years War
The first total war and in Central Europe the deadliest of all Wars (kills per population) and seen from a long term perspective may be the genuine Catastrophy of Europe, which to a certain degree set the roots fmor most following wars and even set up the Circumstances even for World war one and therewith World war 2.
I mean the devastation and provincialisation of the of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, therefore hindering a healthy German nationbuilding process which then came way to late in the 19th century with a too high speed and therefore hunger for Expansion ("Platz an der Sonne") which leaded to the Great war, which led to World war 2 which led to the Cold war.
Or am I wrong?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.