Gathering Storm, both a game in its own right and a prequel to GMT’s A World at War, covers the period from 1935 to the outbreak of World War II, whenever that might be. Like A World at War, Gathering Storm, simulates the military, economic, political, diplomatic, research and production preparations for the Second World War, allowing the players to explore what might have happened if:
- Admiral Doenitz had convinced his superiors of the importance of submarine warfare in the impending war with Britain.
- Germany had pursued the Z Plan earlier and more consistently.
- The development of the “Ural bomber” had been pursued.
- Poland had become a German satellite, rather than resisting German aggression.
- War had broken out over the Sudetenland, or even the remilitarization of the Rhineland.
- Mussolini had given a lower priority to naval armaments, to the benefit of the Italian armor and air forces.
- France had extended the Maginot Line.
- de Gaulle’s arguments to expand and strengthen France’s armor units had been accepted.
- Britain had rearmed sooner.
- Russia had deferred the Great Purges. Or accelerated them.
- The Spanish civil war had been won by the Loyalists.
- A civil war had broken out in Yugoslavia. Or Greece.
- Atomic fission had been discovered earlier.
- The Second World War had begun with a Franco-Italian conflict. Or a French pre-emptive attack on Germany. Or a Russo-German war, with Italy and the Western Allies neutral.
- War comes early. Or later, in 1940 or even 1941.
- YOU had been in command.
Gathering Storm,can be played as a separate game in a single session, with its own victory conditions, but A World at War players will want to press on and see how the war they have created plays out. While using different mechanics, Gathering Storm,’s structure is consistent with A World at War and allows for a seamless transition to whatever alternate war the players planned – or stumbled into. Some 30 years in development, with three years of design and playtesting, Gathering Storm, includes the following:
- Six random events each turn, providing unlimited replay value.
- Economics based on tiles and activity counters, eliminating any paperwork.
- Flexible mobilization rules, allowing players to emphasis civilian or military production – each at the expense of the other.
- Unit construction which allows players to activate reserve units for immediate benefits, at a cost of limiting future options.
- Variable research, which can focus on air, naval, military or intelligence projects, as well as short or long term gains.
- A fast-moving diplomatic system, with each player allocating diplomatic counters each turn. Diplomatic targets are public, but the points allocated to them are not.
- Shipbuilding that allows varied fleets, including the possibility of 5-factor super battleships.
- Ahistorical A World at War counters, including armor units of different strengths and additional ships.
- A dynamic crisis system, in which the Allies can appease or oppose the Axis, with neither side necessarily being certain whether war might break out.
- No dice.
Gathering Storm is a must-buy for any committed A World at War player, an excellent – and possibly dangerously time consuming – introduction to the A World at War universe for those unfamiliar with that game, and a enjoyable and instructive fast-paced game all on its own.
- Approximately 1,000 full-color die-cut counters.
- 24 Maginot Line and West Wall full-color hexagonal counters.
- One 22"x30" full-color Gathering Storm mapsheet.
- One 22"x30" full-color A World at War map overlay.
- 40-page Gathering Storm Rulebook
- 20-page A World at War conversion Rulebook
- 5 Scenario Cards
- 144 Random Event cards.
- 4 Russian purge cards
- 90 point tiles
- 5 tile racks
- 75 activity counters
- 6 player aid sheets
- 3 research record sheets
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