World at War number five has the following feature articles: “The Finnish Front, 1941-42”; “Omaha Beach”; “The Ribbontrops: Father & Son”; and “Sakai’s Longest Day.”
The wargame featured in this issue is Joseph Miranda’s “Finnish Front, 1941-42” (TFF), which will be the fifth game published in his well-liked “They Died With Their Boots On” series.
TFF’s “Boots” system simulates what might otherwise appear to be hopeless campaigns, in this case the first stage of what the Finns call the “Continuation War.” It was fought between Axis (Finnish and German) forces and the Soviets during 1941-42, much of it north of the Arctic Circle. During that war the Finns recaptured the territory they’d lost to the Soviets in the Winter War of 1939-40. They failed to take Murmansk, however, which would have seriously hindered Allied Lend-Lease shipments to the Soviet Union.
TFF is played in sequential “game turns,” each of which is composed of interactive “phases” and “sub-phases.” During each Operations Phase, the players alternate picking markers from the command pool; each such pick thereby indicating which sub-command will be “activated” for movement and combat at that time. The High Command marker causes the Orders From The High Command Table to be checked. The player controlling a selected sub-command receives reinforcements for it, if any are available that game turn, and then moves and conducts combat with the units of that sub-command.
The armies in TFF are divided into “sub-commands,” each of which operates as a semi-autonomous force within its overall army. Sub-commands are defined by abbreviations and colored stripes on the unit-counters. Pulling certain markers will allow a player to conduct operations simultaneously with more than one sub-command.
There are two scenarios in TFF, one covering just the 1941 campaign, and the “long game,” which extends play through September 1942. The game has been designed with two-player play primarily in mind, though solitaire play is possible. There are 13,453 words in the rules, meaning two experienced gamers can play the shorter scenario in about four hours.