From Historical Board Gaming

In November 2015 Historical Board Gaming released Global War-2nd Edition (1936-1945). In this article, designer Will Henson explores exactly what players can expect from the new game in the most in-depth photo and description to date.

The Rules

Global War-2nd edition is likely going to be our most in-depth game in the Global War family.   We felt that for World War II in particular our fans wanted more historical realism and more options.  We gave it to them – Here are some of the new features of Global War:

(a) Multi-stage ship and facility production
(b) Advanced research development system
(c) Nation-specific victory objectives
(d) New Lend-lease system
(e) Soviet Union as a third alliance
(f) Spanish Civil War
(g) Chinese Civil War
(h) Advanced convoy raiding system with world-wide convoy routes and escorts
(i) New units including airborne infantry, militia, cavalry, mountain infantry, marines, medium bombers, coastal submarines (and more)
(j) Carpet Bombing
(k) Combat Air Patrol
(l) Diplomatic Pacts
(m) Strategic Rail Movement
(n) New facilities: Shipyards, coastal artillery, fortifications (and more)
(i) 1936 and 1939 start dates
(o) Compatible with over 30 3D printed units
and a whole lot more….

The key to understanding Global War-2nd edition is the Victory Conditions.  Each Alliance (Axis, Allies and Comintern) has a number of victory conditions available and this is important because victory isn’t just about taking territory that are worth resources.  While some territories do grant bonus income some are important simply for their victory value.   Victory conditions are the ultimate balance in the game because while it is true that the Axis will have a hard time defeating the combined economic might of the Axis, it is also true that the Axis can do a lot to thwart an Allied victory.   Victory for the Italian player is pretty easy – even some modest expansion puts them in a good place.  Victory for the Allied players is harder; they have to maintain their empires and contain Communism and Fascism.   Victory for the Comintern is mainly based on expansion but they face not only the Axis, but also for the Allies who have an interest in not letting the Soviets get too strong.

Increasing Player Interaction was one of my main goals as a designer.  I wanted players to spend more time and energy interacting and I designed the game so that player always needed something from each other.   The individual victory conditions pursued by each nation make it likely that players will always be balancing national self-interest with the survival of their Alliance.  The lend-lease system will make players easily able to help each other by lending money and military equipment.  This may leave some players (like the US) facing a number of allies with their hand out every time it’s their Purchase Phase.  There are also many other ways players interact including granting transit rights, and signing diplomatic pacts.

A New Map

Image 1 Map

The new map is completely redone with more territories and land features than ever. These include:

(a) Mountains
(b) Rivers
(c) Minor power colonies
(d) New nations
(e) Semi-autonomous regions of China
(f) Convoy routes
and more…

This is a graphically rich map with a lot of new strategy options.  Visually the map is stunning. It was drafted by a professional mapmaker and underwent a lot of play testing. While we did not put everything on the map we sure as heck tried –  from Portuguese Timor to Queen Maud Land Antarctica, to Attu and Kiska on the far end of the Aleutian chain. There is a lot to love about this map.

Image 2 China

Frequently Asked Questions

What comes in the game?

We have broken up this game into many components to allow people to purchase only what they need. A lot of our customers already have lots of base units from other sets. A lot of our customers don’t need any more chips and dice. In order to keep costs down for everyone but put out a maximum quality product we a Base Set which is the map (two sizes available, including a mega-size), our play aids (IPP tracker, Technology Chart, Production Chart and Battle Boards) and rules (rule book, set up charts, national reference sheets and quick reference guide). We have our Marker Set available also, which gives people things they need which might include Militia and Mountain infantry marker, escort markers, etc…. Come January we plan to have our first Global War mold available that will feature all the units you need, including the new ones in 7 colors.


Global War is built specifically to be able for us to model a wide variety of new unit types. In the Global War-2nd edition base game we added a bunch of new units that we think are really going to enhance the game:

(a) Militia: In World War II there were millions of citizen soldiers. Militia isn’t very effective but it can be built in areas where you don’t have a factory, including colonies and even places you conquer.
(b) Coastal Submarines
(c) Torpedo Boat Destroyers
(d) Medium Bombers
(e) Motorized infantry
(f) Marines
(g) Mountain Infantry

In addition we have 3D Printed units out now, with more coming all the time.  We have put out 30+ units in about 7 months, which we feel keeps the game evolving.

IMAGE 5 3D units

How does the 1936 Start Date Work?

The 1936 scenario is pretty cool for those who want to play the long game. It allows a little more time for the Axis to build an army to suit their strategy. The Axis start with a lot more money but attacking too quickly is a bad idea for them as their opponents increase their military spending (i.e. the amount of IPP they get) based on the aggressive actions of the Axis. Germany and Russia will be busy fighting the Spanish Civil War. Russia will be trying to keep the struggling Communist Chinese alive, and likely teaming up with the KMT to thwart Japanese aggression in China. The Allies will face tough choices in where to build their defenses and how to sculpt their armies to achieve their victory conditions.
What are some of the expansions that will be coming out?

To me this is the most exciting part of the game – Global War will keep evolving with more expansions that add detail where players want them. We have five expansions on the table that will be out in the months following the release of Global War.

IMAGE 6 Ordnance Set 1

  1. Ordnance Set #1: Our ordnance set is pretty exciting! These are acrylic marker sets.   The idea here is that players can spend money to develop advanced weapon systems that they expend during combat for better outcomes.  HS-293 anti-ship missiles, A-10 strategic rockets, TDR drones…and more.  Our first set is German and US weapons.

  2. Ordnance Set #2: Following set one will be Japanese and British weapons.  Players will enjoy Suicide Boats, submarines and aircraft, as well as radio controlled I-Go bombs, Fu-Go balloon Bombs, British anti-aircraft rockets, and the T-12 Grand Slam earthquake bomb.

  3. Spanish Civil War: Our Spanish Civil War set will add to the rules for the Civil War already in Global War, providing more depth and strategy options, Spanish Republican and Nationalist units including 3D-printed Spanish warship.

  4. Partisans: Our Partisans set will feature partisan units printed in 7 colors and rules for using Partisans around the globe.  Players will be able to use Partisans to disrupt enemy occupation of territories.

  5. Commanders: Our Partisan set will feature a commander unit printed in 7 colors.   Commanders will provide units they accompany with special abilities such as combat and movement bonuses.

IMAGE 7 Partians

How does this game connect to other games?

Our Global War series consists of interconnected games spanning the time period of 1850-2025. Players can play any Global War game individually, or connect them together in one monster game where victory in one affects the starting point of the next. These games consist of both large-scale wars (World War I, World War II, and hypothetical wars in 1985 and 2025), and interwar periods where players fight limited conflicts. As players transition from one game to the next, they upgrade units to new models, and make decisions about how their nation will enter the coming era.

You can find Global War-2nd Edition at Historical Board Gaming’s website.