Is 1941 better year than 1942 for WWII scenarios?


  • I mean setting up European side as Jun41 and East Asian side as Dec41 instead of setting up both sides as May1942. 1941 seems like provide more strategic options for both sides and probably the reason why anniversary 41 is more popular than its 42 version. Could it be case for all WWII maps too?

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Interesting question. One of the basic problems with depicting WWII in a board game is that WWII was a conflict that grew in several major stages, with each stage bringing in one or more major powers who were not previously at war. And each stage, it should be noted, had very roughly the same structure: an initial phase of relatively rapid gains by the aggressor, followed by point where the initial offensive stalled, followed by a long period of grinding attrition warfare (punctuated here and there with major offensives). Japan invaded the main part of China in 1937, made initial rapid gains, then stalled. Germany invaded Poland in 1939 (which brought France and Britain into the war), then conquered continental western Europe in 1940 (taking just six weeks to do so), then stalled. Germany invaded western Russia in mid-1941 (which brought the Soviet Union into the war), got almost all the way to Moscow, then stalled. Between late 1941 and mid-1942, Japan overran Southeast Asia, the Dutch East Indies, and several British and American possessions in Asia and the Pacific (which brought the United States into the war), then stalled. In other words, the global picture of who’s in control of what, and of who the opponents are, looks very different depending on which phase gets chosen as the game’s starting point. This is why many of the global-scale A&A games, over the decades, have used mid-1942 as their starting point: it’s the moment of the war where all the Allied powers are finally in play (though the USSR didn’t go to war against Japan until August 1945), and the point where both sides are, in principle, the most balanced, with no clear indication of who will ultimately win the war.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    June 1941 is the best start date because it allows the Axis more player options. After that they are committed to fighting Russia.


  • Depends on the intended audience.

    For the more accessible games intended for 3+ in person playing(IE: 1941/1942SE), I would say late 1941 (not spring 41) would be the best time to start, for two reasons.

    -The Japanese blitz/pearl harbor is a pretty dramatic start, and not having Japan start with a bunch of conquests paces their advance better.

    -Russian winter counter offensive: Assuming it’s a multiplayer game, and someone is playing Russia alone, it’s more fun for Russia to have at least one turn on the offensive before defending for the rest of the relevant game time. Back and forth is more fun then defense only. The 1942 German setup is good from a game design point of view. Russia starts with positioning advantage vs superior German economy, which has superior might to the allies initially but inferior economy. It’s a double layer of asymmetric warfare.

    For veteran players, the earlier the better really. An official game with a ~1936 start to provide for varied initial game states would be interesting, if nearly impossible to balance.

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