Second World War at Sea: Islands
By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
Second World War at Sea is a game with two levels, and two separate maps to carry out the game functions on each level. Task forces of ships and flights of aircraft move on the operational map and try to find one another. When they do, they move to the tactical map to fight.
While the operational maps are bright and colorful, depicting seas or oceans and the surrounding land masses, the tactical map is pretty bland. It’s a generic blue field of hexagons, each of them numbered but otherwise unremarkable. That’s an inevitable outcome, since we use the same map to represent waters from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean to the Caspian Sea (the Caspian Sea!).
Second World War at Sea: Islands changes that blandness. There are 15 island pieces, each of them with two sides, each representing an island. When the scenario instructions call for an island marker you place these on the tactical map instead of the tiny marker included in most games, or a coin where the scenarios demands more than one island.
Let’s be clear here: you don’t need these special islands. These full-sized island markers that cover the entire hex, that raise above the map level to give your game a 3-D aspect. You don’t need to add color to your game, to replace those coins pretending to be islands with, well, islands. You don’t have to have them. You can play the game just fine without them.
But why should you? Don’t deny yourself extra fun. Make that watery battlefield look more like a watery battlefield.
You get four different types of island: a forested island, a rocky island, a jungle island and a coral atoll. Choose the island that best suits the scenario and put it right there on the map: a jungle island for South Pacific, a forested island for Sea of Iron, a rocky island for Arctic Convoy or Horn of Africa.
This is an absolutely necessary accessory.
You can order Islands right here.
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Mike Bennighof is president of Avalanche Press and holds a doctorate in history from Emory University. A Fulbright Scholar and NASA Journalist in Space finalist, he has published an uncountable number of books, games and articles on historical subjects.
He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, three children and his dog, Leopold. Leopold enjoys eating bugs and editing Wikipedia pages.