Second World War:
Great Pacific/Third Reich Variants I
By Jeff Adams
The third edition Third Reich and Great Pacific War rules are elegant, allowing players to focus on strategic decisions within a compelling narrative. The game plays smoothly, without getting bogged down in fiddly details. But gamers love to tinker, and our group is no different. Over the years we’ve developed several variants that can provide an even more enjoyable and realistic (in our opinion) gaming experience. A few are minor, and a couple can trace their origins to older games or rule sets. We hope you find several that enhance your enjoyment of a fantastic game.
3.2 Diplomacy Segment
Players conduct diplomacy for each minor in the order of least to most influence. If two or more powers have the same influence, the power with the lower BRP level conducts its diplomacy first, and if BRP levels are identical the power with the lower BRP level at the turn start goes first. Ties are broken by die roll. All bribes, counter-bribes, and territory transfer by a given power must be completed before the power with the next highest influence level conducts its diplomatic efforts. The power with the highest BRP level at the beginning of the diplomacy segment determines the order minor countries with diplomacy tracks will be influenced and announces the complete order prior to any diplomacy being conducted.
Design Notes: The existing inverse BRP order of influence is consistent with other turn sequences in the game and speeds the diplomacy segment. This variant permits more nuanced and realistic diplomatic efforts, but at the expense of longer diplomatic phases. The major power with the best diplomatic status in a minor is positioned to react to other diplomatic initiatives before committing theirs - it enjoys a privileged diplomatic relationship that’s not penalized by a relatively low BRP level. Conversely, a country with low influence operates from a position of greater uncertainly and must now be more proactive in its diplomacy, or wait until the following turn to react to any diplomatic developments forced upon it by powers enjoying superior influence. For example, a country at neutral “2” will always have to consider improving their position if enemies enjoy a better status, as they will no longer have the benefit of learning if enemies with a lower BRP level successfully counter-bribe against them.
4.32 Headquarters Offensive
Active air units that do not participate in combat may re-base subject to range restrictions in 11.22. This re-basing activates the unit.
Design Notes: Though not explicitly allowed, it’s reasonable that if an air unit can attack and re-base in a HQ impulse it should also have the option to simply re-base.
5.56 Small Minors & War
1) Restricted Strategic Redeployment.
Powers cannot SR into an allied minor without a diplomatic track on the turn in which war is declared on the minor. After the SR segment that turn they may move into the minor per normal rules.
Option: The major power that controls a minor without a diplomatic track may expend 5 BRPs at the time war is declared on the minor to allow them to SR into the minor that turn.
Or . . .
2) Delayed State of War.
A state of war with a minor power without an influence track does not exist until the minor is attacked or an enemy ground unit moves into the minor’s territory. The state of war is automatically in effect at the beginning of the following turn if the minor is not brought into the war on the turn in which war is declared upon it. Alliances and diplomatic modifiers due to the state of war do not take effect until the minor is at war.
Design Notes: Minor countries without influence tracks become allied to Britain or Germany when war is declared upon them. This allows the controlling power and their allies to strategically re-deploy and use impulses to move into the minor that turn prior to any attacks against it, which is not necessarily the case with minors with diplomatic tracks. Though this has a very limited (if any) impact on the larger game - and some players like the flexibility and additional strategic decisions this allows - the variants can provide restrictions to suit your tastes.
The option represents a diplomatic effort to convince the minor of the threat against them and invite a defensive buildup within their territory.
8.5 Zones of Control
A strait is considered impassible terrain for the purposes of ZOC. ZOC does not extend across a strait hexside.
Design Notes: This is a plausible restriction given the logistics of moving across a strait and armor capabilities abstracted in the ZOC rules. Only affecting a handful of hexes, the Strait of Messina is the most likely area to see the variant applied.
9.63 Exploitation Doctrine
At the beginning of any 1939 Scenario, only German ARM and CAV units may conduct exploitation. On the third game turn after the turn Britain, France, or the Soviet Union goes to war with Germany or Japan, that nation's ARM and CAV units may conduct exploitation. For example, if Germany goes to war against the Soviet Union in Winter 1940, the Soviet Union may conduct exploitation in Fall 1941. This ability is determined separately for each major power.
On the game turn following the first turn in which ground combat units of the United States are involved in combat with German ground units, American ARM units may conduct exploitation.
On the third game turn after Japan has engaged in ground combat with the Soviet Union (this can occur via event without a formal declaration of war), Japan’s ARM and CAV units may conduct exploitation.
Italian ARM and CAV units may conduct exploitation if stacked with German ARM and CAV units, or by themselves the third turn following the play of the AFV License event.
Minor country ARM and CAV units may conduct exploitation on the third game turn following either alliance or war with a major power with the ability to itself conduct exploitation.
PARA units may not drop in exploitation until their controlling country has the ability to exploit their ARM and CAV units.
Option: All major powers gain full exploitation capabilities in the spring of 1943.
Design Notes: Credit for this original idea belongs to Chris Fawcett. This variant provides country specific capabilities and models the understanding and application of exploitation doctrine by each power.
If a coastal hex transects two sea zones (shore-lines exist on two different sea zones and the hex is not a sea zone boundary) a beachhead within it will operate on one coast and sea zone only. A beachhead placed in such a hex must be designated for and operate from one sea zone coast. A beachhead established by amphibious assault in such a hex will operate from the coast of the sea zone from which the assault occurred. A second beachhead in such a hex may be placed or established on the sea zone coast opposite of the existing beachhead.
Design Notes: A practical rule to account for the geography of a few hexes on the Great Pacific War map. You might think twice about playing with any player who argues otherwise, but having this agreed to ahead of time can eliminate any discussion about beachhead capabilities on these hexes.
Supply paths are blocked by three or more enemy controlled hexes (they do not need to be adjacent) that are unoccupied and not in a zone of control.
Design Notes: This additional restriction to supply routes forces players to be even more careful about protecting their supply routes and can also eliminate unusual and unrealistic routes traced via a strict interpretation of the rules.
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