Here are just a couple of (well-meaning and hopefully helpful) observations to try and avoid disappointment if you buy the game and it does not match up to what you are expecting (we’ve all done that right?).
Firstly, this is most definitely NOT a beer and pretzels game. If you think/hope that this is a game that you are likely to be able to plug in and play without a reasonable amount of reading of the rules and/or following the tutorials, then this is not for you. Matrix World in Flames is a faithful reproduction of Australian Design Group’s award winning board game and not a made-for-computer game. A lot of the rules and concepts are different even to many board wargames – the naval rules in particular. I hope this forum will prove the equal of the WITP-AE forum and will be a helpful, friendly place where grognards will be on hand to assist newbies in learning the rules, but even so, this game WILL take some time and effort to learn.
Secondly, one of the (many) great things about this game is the fact that you get to command all those great units from WWII (and many what-if units too). Anyone casting a casual glance at the screenshots and seeing all the superb full colour camouflage, named aircraft and the individual ship counters may be forgiven for thinking that the orders of battle and the counter factors are 100% historically accurate. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. This is not War in the Pacific – Admirals Edition or War in the East. So to avoid comments like “This game is borked!” and complaints such as “x should have a better attack factor than y” and “a was not launched until xxxx” I just want to make this clear to those who have never played the game. This is a strategic level game and there are some liberties taken for play balance purposes and that ensure this game is FUN. That said, there is nothing that is really off the wall.
So why would you buy this game?
No idea what the cost will be, but regardless, World in Flames is incredible value. There are some key concepts that mean replayability is almost limitless and in terms of cost vs playing time, this should be minimal e.g.
- A player is not guaranteed his starting forces (units are drawn randomly from the force pools).
- Start positions are at the player’s discretion (no fixed positions that players can exploit by perfecting guaranteed attacks against).
- The game employs a basic rules framework that means that while each game has a World War II “feel”, apart from a limited number of restrictions e.g. Germany must invade Poland first impulse, the Commonwealth and France must declare war on Germany in the next impulse etc, each player is free to employ a wide range of tactics. Fancy taking out Spain? Turkey? Sweden? Then you can…. or at least can try. America will come into the war - that is certain…but when? Each player’s actions will affect the date of entry and benefits have to be weighed up against the costs.
- While, as mentioned above, this is not true in the minutest of detail, broadly each player will take command of the forces that his/her country/side had, the problems that they were faced with, and that need to be managed. E.g. Germany has a large army, its best units are extremely powerful, but there are a lot of lesser units and movement allowances are less for these than the bulk of their more mechanised British and American counterparts. The Commonwealth has a large navy (although much of this is WWI vintage) and the Royal Navy has tons to do to keep the sea lanes open for their convoys.
- Although there is lots to learn and this is a monster game, one huge positive is that there is little in terms of the more tedious aspects of micro-management to worry about*. The vast majority of tasks you are employed to undertake are interesting elements, whether it be deciding your strategic goals, what to build, placing reinforcements, choosing what to attack, where, with what, or weighing up the political consequences of your choices.
- In summary then, this is a hugely fun, engrossing, addictive, strategic level, monster game that allows each player to take command of broadly historical armies, navies and airforces that took part in World War II.
*For the avoidance of doubt this is not a criticism of those who like that.
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805