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World at War number seven, scheduled to ship in August 2009, will have the following feature articles: “The Italian Invasion of Greece, 1940”; “The Battle of Yelnia”; “The Churchill Conspiracy”; and “Okinawa.”
The wargame featured in that issue will be Richard H. Berg’s Greek Tragedy (GT), which covers Mussolini’s ill-fated invasion of that country late in 1940. The game is, at least for the Italians, a logistics nightmare. Most of what that player does will be concerned with simply getting his available resources to Albania and Greece – and that includes keeping his units in viable shape – and fighting the machinations of Il Duce and his ill-chosen subordinates.
For both players, GT is a game dominated by terrain and weather. Mussolini chose to attack in mid-autumn in a country noted for bad weather and rough terrain. Until the chosen day, the weather was fine and clear. On the morning of the invasion, about an hour before the Italian army moved out, all across the Albanian border it started to pour. It was downhill from that moment.
There are two scenarios: the “Gamers’ Game,” and the “Historians’ Game.” The latter allows players to see what happened, and why, and is intended for solitaire play. The former is an Italian pipe dream, a best-case scenario for them, but one that also allows for competitive balance between two players while showing what could’ve happened had there been better planning and more strategic insight in Rome.
There are 13,007 words in the rules. That means two experienced players can complete a game in about five hours. The game was designed with two-player play primarily in mind, but solitaire play is doable.
The scale on the 34x22” map is 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) per large hex. Each turn covers one month. Units of maneuver range from battalions all the way up to divisions. Each combat strength point is the equivalent of 1,500 men. Each Air unit represents about 20 planes. There are 280 small-size, NATO-style units in the counter-mix, along with the errata-fix counters for issue number one’s Barbarossa game.
The sequence of play outline is presented below.
A. Initiative Determination Phase
1. Roll die to see who goes first.
2. Check weather.
B. Resource Phase
1. Players determine how many resource points they want to use.
2. Roll for available air support in rain or snow.
3. Place arriving reinforcements.
4. Make Italian corps assignments.
C. Marker Selection Phase
1. Initiative player chooses which command will start.
2. Place all remaining activation and random event markers in the pool.
D. Activation Phase
1. Draw activation marker from pool.
2. Activate units for that marker (within port capacity for Italians)
3. Operations Sequence
a. Units move.
b. Units engage in combat.
c. Units engage in construction.
d. Refit, which is repeated until there are no markers left in the pool. Then go to:
E. Isolation Phase
1. Apply effects of isolation.
2. Determine changes in isolation status.
F. End Turn Phase
1. Remove air interdiction markers.
2. Proceed to next turn and top of sequence.
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