History Never Repeats Itself When Playing Cataclysm

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It is November, 1946. German resistance collapses as French tanks roll into Berlin. For the typical WWII game, this can’t be possible.

Cataclysm is not your typical WWII game. The game starts in 1933, not 1939. Germany has no Luftwaffe and no panzer armies. France is supreme. Yet from this corner, Germany somehow emerges to wreak havoc in Europe. And Japan is poised to sweep Asia before anyone can stop it.

Creating World War 2.0: The Genesis of Cataclysm: A Second World War

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We’re excited to be adding Cataclysm to our P500 list this coming week. This is the first of several planned articles by William and Scott to give you guys insight into what this game is all about. Enjoy! – Gene

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In the wargaming hobby, every war has to fit into a box. When it comes to World War II, the challenge can be a bit problematic. You can make the war fit, but only by leaving parts of it out. Or you can make a bigger game and put it in a bigger box.

Cataclysm takes neither approach. This game is unlike any World War II game you have played before. It is about grand strategy. You have to worry about politics, diplomacy and economics as well as air, naval and land warfare. And you will not have the benefit of hindsight.

The game begins in 1933, not 1939. France stands ten feet tall. Germany can barely stand. No player has vast armies and fleets at their command. They don’t exist yet. So how do you recreate the history of World War II? The answer is, “You might, but you might not.” A global war is possible, not definite. It can start in Poland, or elsewhere. It can happen earlier—or later—than 1939. It might not even involve the United States.

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