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Saturday, August 18, 2012

A World Aflame Review

A World Aflame Review
A World Aflame: Interwar Wargame Rules 1918-39 by Paul Eaglestone consists of a loose rules framework for players who wish to play scenarios in real (or fictional) wars of the 20s and 30s.  A World Aflame is very much a do-it-yourself sort of game.  The rules are simple and flexible, but players must supply their own background, army designs, and scenarios.

The game has no set scale, but seems most oriented towards 28mm skirmish.  Units are described by their equipment, a Morale and an Initiative rating. A World Aflame uses an alternating activation system -- units with a better Initiative activate faster.  Hence they are more desirable.

The rules focus primarily on infantry, and seem pretty standard.  Roll some D6s, and check results against a target number.  There are rules for vehicles, but this isn't really a tank game.  (Indeed, a single tank or armored car seems a formidable addition to the force.)  Many of the rules have a strong element of chance to them - especially those dealing with vehicles and explosives.

The other major mechanic consists of a deck of Chance cards. These can be used to introduce air, snipers, extra ammunition, and strange events. The sample Chance cards are for the Spanish Civil War - and include such "events" as a Republican unit complaining to its HQ about sexism!

A few of the rules seem a bit fiddly for my taste.  I can't imagine that keeping track of each unit's ammunition would be much fun, for example.  Nor do I much wish to remember which location has a telephone before being able to issue new orders.  Maybe that's just a matter of my gaming preference, though.

A World Aflame contains a sample scenario and some sample units, but it lacks the army lists, point values, and generic scenarios Flames of War players may have come to expect.  As such, A World Aflame isn't really suitable for "bring and battle" games or open tournaments.  Each game requires someone to do the work of coming up with a scenario and supplying suitable forces -- great if that's your thing.  Not so great if you like a little more structure out of the book.

One of the most interesting aspects of the game thus receives relatively little attention -- alternate and real history and forces for the 20s and 30s!  The game was designed for a fictional British Civil War, and the illustrations show obscure historical forces with weird uniform badges and symbols.  More, please!

The Bottom Line

Whether A World Aflame will appeal to WWPD readers really depends on what kind of Flames of War gamer you are.  If you are drawn to the aesthetics of the interwar period and prefer a loose, random game system, you may like it a lot.  If you are a competitive player, who likes the structure of army lists, point values, and predictable game mechanics, this is not your game.

Tom has become somewhat of a rules philospher here at WWPD HQ- check out his own thoughts on how to build a better wargame on his blog:

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