I always remembered World in Flames (WiF) as a near-unplayable monster. Too many many maps. Too many rules. Too many counters. Too much time.
But it’s also really fun.
Why do I remember the game so poorly? Looking back, I think my friends and I were too ambitious. After all, we were wargamers! We can play ANY wargame, right? We were so good players we could jump right into the four-map campaign game like every sane grognard does. Truth is that approach doesn’t always work.
This time I took a much smaller bite of the WiF apple. I played the 5-turn introductory Barbarossa invasion scenario. Actually, I played the first turn twice because I messed up 15. Surprise.
My biggest take-away from playing WiF is that I can see how I have matured as a grognard wargamer in the past 20+ years since I last played this game. I now recognize that the Reorganisation action is actually the most important, especially 11.18.2 HQ Reorganisation. I used to hate any logistics or command rules that slowed me down; now I see that they are a critical part of the design elegance in WiF… and what an elegant design it is. So elegant in fact I want to try the other introductory scenario, Guadalcanal, and explore the naval aspects of the game.
Yes, you heard me; I want to play more WiF. I think another intro game is in store, and maybe a two-mapper campaign later this summer. Small bites.
There is a very good game here. The choices of major actions (Naval, Air, Land, Combined) is very interesting. It makes for challenging choices concerning in timing and forces used. WiF is still a big game, but it delivers big decisions too. It’s also much better than I remember.
Rediscovering WiF proves that older games still have much to offer. That thought is easy to miss in this era of FOMO* or CotN**. I have many games in my collection and many of them are criminally underplayed. My 2019 challenges are an effort to rediscover those older games and try each one at least once. As this play of WiF shows me, my memory of some of the games of yesteryear are cloudy and quite possibly incorrect. Thankfully, this is one correction I really enjoy.
* FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
** CotN – Cult of the New