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Posted on Jul 24, 2008 in Boardgames

Axis & Allies War at Sea: Task Force preview

By Paul Glasser


HMS Illustrous and Barracudas

War at Sea: Task Force, which goes on sale July 25, will allow players to deploy 60 new Dutch, Canadian, Italian, French, American, British, German and Japanese units in the Axis & Allies Naval Miniautres: War at Sea collectible miniatures game.

In the A&A: War at Sea game, each turn begins by determining initiative; loser must move and attack first. Then, commanders deploy any land-based or carrier-based fighters and bombers they may control. After air combat is resolved, the surface ships may make gunnery, torpedo or anti-submarine attacks depending on their abilities. Submarines make their torpedo attacks last, after all other casualties are resolved.


Attacks are resolved by rolling six-sided dice. Any roll of 4+ for guns, bombs and depth charges succeeds. Torpedoes do double damage but only score a hit on a die result of 6.

Illustrous and Barracuda stat cards

On the stat cards for each unit (ship, sub, group of planes), symbols show main gun, secondary guns, aerial attack capability and/or torpedo attack capability, expressed as a number of dice the player throws, which vary with range. The cards also show the amount of damage the unit can sustain and provide information on any special abilities it has.

The Task Force supplement adds some welcome units and new special abilities. Unfortunately, a number of these additions contain erroneous or unrealistic skills and abilities that may have gamers scratching their heads.

For instance, the USS Laffey (DD 724) is literally an unsinkable flak tower. Although well armed with 12 x 40mm and 11 x 20mm anti-aircraft (AA) guns, there’s no reason to expand its range out to an unreasonable 10,000 yards. A better alternative would have been to give the Laffey more dice when making an AA attack.

Although historically the Laffey did survive four bomb hits and six kamikaze attacks during the invasion of Okinawa, it’s outrageous to say it could never be sunk by dive-bombers. Many other ships, like the HMS Exeter and USS Salt Lake City have similar special abilities but are required to make a successful die roll in order to ignore damage or destruction.

However, the Laffey is an excellent addition to the American naval forces. It only costs one more point than the USS Fletcher, and offers better torpedo attacks and several useful special abilities.

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  1. Great article Paul. Though I don’t play WaS (as you now), the system looks very interesting. Too bad I don’t have the time or the money to play both AAM and WaS!


  2. Two quick points:

    The U-66 speed of 2 is errata. It should be speed 1.

    A range-1 attack is really 5,000 yards, if you assume that you’re shooting from the center of your sector to the center of the adjoining sector.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. what is errata?

    And how do people find all the types of games and then get them to test them out to make posts like this? Seems like it would be a big job XD

    Great work tho 😀 I love WAS/TF and AAM!

  4. Its wonderfull site.

  5. Errata are corrections; including deletions or additions to the rules of the game, and /or capabilities of the games’s units

  6. The French actually had a naval air force, the Aeronavale, which operated shore based fighters and torpedo bombers as well as aircraft aboard the carrier Bearn and a seaplane carrier. There is no reason why FRench ships would not have aerial support