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Alternative History Games

Things that could have happened, but did not. Different pathways history could have taken, some unlikely, some of them probably more likely than the actual reality that unfolded.

Alternative history is the basis of several of our game lines at Avalanche Press. As our world enters an age of alternative facts, we’ll be right here with games into which you’ll want to escape.

The Second Great War
In late 1916, American President Woodrow Wilson offered to mediate an end to the ongoing First World War. The warring powers flirted with his proposal, but ultimately rejected the overture and war continued for another two destructive and murderous years.

Our Second Great War setting explores what might have happened had Wilson succeeded. The old empires – Germany, Austria, Ottoman Turkey, Russia - have survived into a new generation. France, Italy and Russia seek to overturn the new status quo, while the Central Powers try to defend their economic gains.

With the Great War ending in 1916, heavier-than-air aircraft have had less of a chance to prove themselves, with lighter-than-air appearing to be the craft of the future. The navies of 1940 rely on airships and helicopters far more than their handful of short-ranged biplane aircraft. The battleship is the arbiter of naval power, and the Second Great War at Sea is a battleship war. Players love battleships, and we have crafted a setting to allow their maximum use.

The story of the Second Great War is told in our background book, titled The Second Great War. In game terms, the Second Great War at Sea books have presented new scenarios and ships in three books so far, with more on the way:

Royal Netherlands Navy

The Habsburg Fleet (second edition forthcoming)

The Kaiser’s Navy (second edition forthcoming)

Sword of the Sea (forthcoming)

Midnight Sun (forthcoming)

The Long War
The actual Second World War unfolded in the same manner as Ernest Hemingway described bankruptcy in The Sun Also Rises: “gradually, then suddenly.” Our Long War setting studies how the conflict might have unfolded with a slower start, with Germany allying with Poland and attacking the Soviet Union in 1940, and overrunning France two years later. Those extra years allow Germany and Britain to construct much larger and more powerful fleets than they fielded in the historical conflict; when war comes, it is a hotly-contested naval war.

Where The Second Great War leans heavily in the direction of dieselpunk, The Long War envisions a world of advanced science, with the warships and aircraft that either arrived too late to see major action in the real war, or were never completed (or in some cases, even begun) take to the seas and air: jet aircraft, primitive missiles, giant aircraft carriers.

The Long War setting includes:

Plan Z expansion set

Kido Butai expansion set (forthcoming)

Mare Nostrum book (forthcoming)

Iron Curtain
While The Second Great War and The Long War settings have been primarily for Second World War at Sea, our Iron Curtain background began with a series of Panzer Grenadier supplements, most of them now out of print. Based on a hypothetical Soviet-American conflict at the time of the Korean War, it served as a great excuse to deploy the huge tanks designed at built at the end of World War II and immediately afterwards, that saw limited or no actual combat action.

We’ll re-boot the Iron Curtain setting in the near future, with a boxed Panzer Grenadier game of heavy metal tank action, and will extend the setting into the Second World War at Sea series at some point as well.

Right now there’s only one Iron Curtain book in print, and it will not be reprinted:

Hammer & Sickle

The Cold War
Our newest setting has yet to debut, but it will begin with a Panzer Grenadier (Modern) game by an outside designer, set on NATO’s Central Front. It’s not a particularly original concept – wargames pitting NATO against the Warsaw Pact go back to the early 1970’s though they were described then as “near future” rather than “alternative history.” But it’s what the fans want, and it will allow us to build an alternative 1980’s as we’ve done for other eras. It’s not often that you get to re-write your formative years, so this is going to be a fun setting with which to work.

Fans of our naval games have begged for Cold War at Sea since the very first release of Great War at Sea: Mediterranean, and after two decades of delay we’ll finally be going there. The series will debut with a historical title, and after that will take place in the same setting as the land games.