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Posted on Oct 10, 2008 in Boardgames

Asia Engulfed: The Second World War in Asia, 1941 – 1945 – Boardgame Review

By Robert Delwood

Production, which occurs in the middle of the turn sequence, is time based. Some units, such as Land units, appear in the same turn, but building a battleship requires five turns. A unit generally appears in the home country and requires a turn or more to move to where it is needed; planning is important. Some production, such as strategic bombers and subs, is abstracted. Production is rated by the awkwardly named Wartime Economic Resource Points (WERPS). The Allies get a fixed amount while the Japanese have ebb and flow based on game events.

The abstractions have some nice touches of selective realism. For example, Japanese oil is a problem since moving ships costs an oil point. The Japanese merchant fleet abstracts into Transportation Points, a variable rating that affects the ability to move ground troops. Japan also has a kamikaze track. When it reaches zero (due to "excessive" plane builds or spending more than one WERP on planes) the Japan player must use kamikaze attacks. On the other hand, Japanese troops defend well in China and start with a huge, intrinsic, 20-step army in Japan.

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The Americans get national production bonus each year that they attack aggressively (moving at least one carrier and eight naval steps into combat during 1942 and 1943), plus plenty of free ships. In the abstracted strategic conflict, the Allies have strategic bombers and submarines, while the Japanese have anti-submarine values. During production, both sides roll on the appropriate charts that may reduce the number of available WERPS. Strangely, the game tracks faulty American torpedoes but does not include a nuclear bomb option.

(Editor’s note – The designer and developer respond that "the WERP mechanic focuses on the generally allocated economic resources available to the strategic planners and joint forces … The Allied player has to operate on the assumption that the war must be won conventionally." The A-bomb is outside this scope.)

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  1. A Wave of New Naval Warfare Games « The View from the Turret - [...] scales have not been ignored either. GMT Games released Asia Engulfed (see a review). This is a sister game…

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