Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
What makes WiF shine in you guys' opinion? What has been its secret of longevity especially compared to the obscure A3R?
Mo Reb I never played Advanced 3rd Reich (although did try 3rd Reich). In my opinion, 3rd Reich and WIF simply do not compare.
There are a number of reasons for WIF being simply the best game ever.
1. I believe it has the right mix of playability and complexity.
2. It is fun without being in any way a "beer and pretzels" game.
3. There are no sure-fire strategies - variable weather, variable turn-length, a degree of luck when picking reinforcements plus of course good old fashioned dice, all go together to ensure that no two games are alike.
4. For those expecting a 100% accurate OB and unit factors, then this is not the game for them. However, what WIF does is give each player an accurate feel for their country's armed forces; the benefits and the problems that go with them - e.g. Commonwealth a small, mobile army - the Commonwealth army must be used sparringly; decent aircraft with a large variety of types giving a good degree of flexibility; and a lot of ships - by no means the best quality (except HMS Warspite of course) and massively overstretched.
5. The ruleset gives the game a proper historical context, but within that framework a player is not strait-jacketed in terms of players being able to try loads of different strategies.
6. A really important element for me with any game is the "look" of the game. WIF looks fantastic (except for the Final Edition maps ) but the superb MWIF map sorts that little problem out . The counters are exceptionally good - NATO symbols for the army, silhouettes for the ships, and full colour camoflagued aircraft. Playing with SIF and PIF is a must for me as these excellent counters really add to gaming experience.
I am working my way through Churchill's 6 volume set on WWII. In the second volume he describes the decisions he faced during 1940. When playing WIF, the Commonwealth player faces effectively the same decisions. There are too few resources available and a ton of demands on them. Where to deploy the army, navy, and air force are major decisions. How to focus industry to supply all 3 branches of service, plus the merchant marine, is another set.
Churchill was worrying about transports and thought of them as 3 classes: the Queen Mary & Elizabeth, fast transports, and slower transports. WIF captures these decisions perfectly, down to the detail of using one type to take units from the United Kingdom down to South Africa and a second type to take them up to Egypt. His reason for using different types for each leg of the journey is the same for WIF players, to have the faster transports back in England for future use (sooner). Similarly, the Admiralty (and Churchill) worried/argued frequently about running transports through the Med at the risk of Italian attack from the air, from surface ships, and from submarines. This is the same when you play WIF.
Towards the end of 1940, Churchill is pressuring Roosevelt for destroyers, merchant marine ships (convoys in WIF terms), US escorts in the Atlantic, and other items that show up in WIF as US Entry Options. Just as Roosevelt had to, the US player has to worry about US politics turning the nation against any involvement in the European conflict. This area of WIF is somewhat murkier, but many of the important details from history are included.
Perfection is an elusive goal.