Gary Grigsby’s World at War: A World Divided

By Scott Parrino 03 Jun 2007 0


Gary Grigsby's World at War: A World Divided is a turn-based, area movement simulation depicting World War Two across the entire globe. Diplomacy, economics, research, and intelligence operations are conducted at the strategic level, with movement, combat and supply rules having an operational aspect. Nineteen different air, land and naval unit types, each with up to twelve attributes, lend a tactical feel to the game. The five playable powers (human or AI) in the game are split into two sides - the Axis (Germany, Japan) and the Allies (Western Allies, China and the Soviet Union). The game includes PBEM and TCP/IP modes. Campaigns can be started from 1939-1943 and there is a Soviet versus. the West scenario commencing in 1946. Expanding and improving on the previous edition, Gary Grigsby's World at War: A World Divided brings World War Two to life on a grand scale.

Political screen.

Partition of Poland in 1939.

Plot and Presentation

The history of the Second World War is well known to most and does not bear repeating here. The boundaries in which a game portrays history are important - some seek extreme variation while others prefer a close emulation of historical events. Gary Grigsby's World at War: A World Divided takes a fairly conventional path, while allowing both the players and the game system to introduce minor variations. Quite a bit of these variations revolve around the non-player smaller countries who, based on major power actions and/or random events, can trade with or join the Axis or the Allies, bringing resources, and in the case of larger countries such as Spain, Turkey, Italy, Rumania, and Yugoslavia, combat units and production facilities.

Most importantly, the two sides, Axis and Allies, are fixed. The game starts in 1939 with Germany at war with the Western Allies (except the USA) and Japan at war with China. Their entrances can be delayed, but the Soviet Union and the United States will eventually join the Allied cause. The Axis powers do have the option of attacking earlier, including a Japanese invasion of the Soviet Union or a continuing German thrust east rather than a shift to the Western Front after the attack on Poland.

The early game rewards the historical Axis approach, however, with the automatic partition of Poland and an uneasy peace maintained with the Soviet Union. France capitulates upon the loss of either area adjacent to Germany, leading to the creation of Vichy France and the incorporation of Italy into the Axis alliance. Romania and Hungary lean to the Axis, but their alliance is assured with the invasion of Yugoslavia, which tends to turn pro-Allied due to a high probability coup event.

Diplomacy, or the lack of it, can swing minor nations into one camp or the other. The Soviet Union, when controlled by the AI, often invades Persia to gain additional resources, but this can bring Spain into the Axis alliance, with subsequent detrimental effects to the Western Allies efforts in the Mediterranean.

Victory is determined by side rather than by individual power. The Axis can win with an automatic victory if they achieve a certain high score during the game or by surviving into 1946. The Allies must conquer the Germans and Japanese, though Japan can be induced to surrender without invasion if “historical” conditions can be met, such as development of the atomic bomb and the Soviets being at war with Japan.

In games where the Soviet and Western Allies are not the same player (human or AI), there is an option to transition from the defeat of the Axis to a hypothetical Soviet invasion of Western Europe that lasts until 1948. A separate 1946-1948 Soviet versus the West scenario is also available. These are two player games, as China is or becomes neutral.

Installation and Technical Issues

The game can be installed either from a download, a disk, or a download/disk combination. For planning purposes, the download is about 650 Mb. With a low-end broadband connection, the download took about 15-20 minutes. Installation was straight-forward and did not create any issues. Installation does require a registration number; multiplayer requires that each separate machine have its own registration number. The game ran okay on my laptop, which is actually a little bit below the minimum RAM and video card requirement and I did not encounter any technical problems.

Movement example from tutorial.

Intelligence example from tutorial



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