From: Sant Pere de Ribes, Spain
Gary Grigsby's World at War is exactly what he is after. You can play at least half the war in a couple of hours. I, personally, haven't played it much since my initial look into it for the very same reasons it would appeal to him. For me, it is too simple and the war goes by too fast. I started playing UV again last weekend and am leaning heavily toward picking up WiP soon to satisfy my need for an ultradetailed ultragrog grand strategic game, but for someone looking for a streamlined, fast paced grand strategic game WaW fits the bill completely.
First of all, thanks to everyone who has posted helpful suggestions here while I've been sleeping and working!
I already have Grigsby's World at War, I bought it in April 2005, and after a little experimentation I succeeded in playing a full game of it, which took me a whole morning. I mentioned to my diary at the time that it seemed "very complicated" -- this is a game whose manual runs to some 115 pages, so I don't see how anyone could call it simple! (A simple game, in case you want to know, would have a manual of one to four pages, like the early Avalon Hill board wargames.)
True, the playing time isn't excessive compared to a lot of other games, especially considering that it represents the whole Second World War; but I'm afraid the game totally failed to grab me, and I've never felt the urge to play it again. This is basically a subjective reaction, but I can find a few reasons:
1. The map doesn't give you much idea of what's going on. First, the screen is a distressingly small window on the world, and I failed to get much idea of the big picture by scrolling around. Second, even within a small area the map doesn't clearly show you what forces you've got in each region. As a visual device for assessing the game situation, the map seemed pretty non-functional to me.
2. The economic side of the game, the production queue, etc., seemed both complicated and unappealing -- and takes place off the map entirely.
3. I realized that I have a good reason for normally avoiding the Second World War and other 20th-century conflicts: the situation is inherently complicated, both strategically and tactically, and there's probably no way of making a simple game out of it, unless you abandon all hope of simulating reality and play it as a Risk variant.