Quartermaster General WW2 – Total War Is the first expansion to Ian Brody’s Quartermaster General WW2 – 2nd Edition. It brings Air Power to the party. It considerably swells the decks of the six competing nations but introduces a compulsory, discard a card, step. It introduces 2 new card classes: Air Power and the instant use Bolster! cards. It also gives France and China their own coloured playing pieces.
Now you must have a copy of Quartermaster General WW2 – 2nd Edition to play this expansion so I’ll presume you all know how to play (You can refresh your memory by looking at the Product Description and Review on the Quartermaster General WW2 – 2nd Edition ZATU page). What we all want to know is what are the differences with Quartermaster General WW2 – Total War and is it worth having?
He’s Got An Air Piece!
Let’s look at the new card classes :
1. Air Power: Nation’s decks now contain between 3 and 6 Air Power cards. These are played in a new Air Step after the Play Step and allow you to
a. Deploy an Air Force in a space with one of your own Armies or Navies
b. Attack and eliminate any enemy Air Force in an adjacent area
c. You can move an Air Force from one area to another in the Air Step phase by discarding any card.
Note that nations only have limited Air Forces: 1 for Russia and Italy, 2 for Germany,UK and Japan and 3 for the US. France and China also have 1 each controlled by UK and the US respectively.
The Air Forces thus deployed can assist in both Attack and Defence. This is the first time that you can have 2 pieces from the same nation in the same area thus you can reinforce defences or beef up attacks. The Air Force can be sacrificed as a first hit, if you will, when an Army or Navy
suffers a Battle leaving the Army or Navy in place. If, however, The attacker also has an Air Force it can be sacrificed to take out the remaining Army or Navy.
2. Bolster cards : Are similar to the one-shot Response cards but they do not have to be set up in advance, you can play them whenever their condition is triggered which may be in another Nation’s turn. If that is the case you will start your next turn with fewer than 7 cards. These can be very useful and as you can use more than one at different stages in your turn they can be a good way of cycling through your deck to try to get cards you want.
Of the two I feel the Bolster! cards add more to Total War. The Air Forces just seem to slow advances and make it harder to achieve goals. The Bolsters! on the other hand give you a lot more options and the ability to build stunning multi-card plays particularly if including pre-prepared Response! cards into the mix too. They have all been filled with lots of authentic historical detail to give added flavour to the game.
Haul The Decks
There is a big uplift in the number of cards in the different nations decks of Total War– anything from 24 to 33 extra cards. This represents an average increase in the 70%s. To counter this there is now a compulsory requirement to discard at least 1 card in the Discard Step. So you are using at least 2 cards per turn, more if you use Air Power! or Bolster! and if you make extra discards to complete your actions you can find yourself burning through your deck pretty quick.
However it feels like you are going to have enough to get you through and the Italians can have a longer game. It was nice to see a couple of cards that allow them to top up their decks. This all makes the Reallocate Resources rule where you can pay in Discards to search your draw deck for the 1 card you want more of an option, especially so as the cost has gone down from 4 to 3 discards.
The flip side to all this is it does make Economic Warfare more of a long drawn out approach to achieve tangible results which, I guess, is realistic.
Chinese Delivery With French Dressing
China and France now have their own pieces: 2 Armies and an Air Force for China and 3 Armies, 2 Navies and an Air Force for France. They are not played by additional players but are controlled by the cards. They collect VPs for the Allies and these are awarded and Supply checked in the UK turn for the French and the US turn for China. A fair number of the new cards depict their actions.
This significantly changes the start of the game. You now have Allied pieces in the Supply centres of Western Europe and China scoring points right from the off. These used to be easy land grabs for the Axis early on but now they have to work for them and that can be tough! On that basis I’d say if you want to win as the Axis play the base game and if you favour the Allies play the expansion.
One final point, because you need Supply centres to gain VPs and you have relatively few pieces and, with one event card exception, they never move you should be always playing your pieces on or moving towards capturing Supply. This means that large parts of the board will not see action: North and Central Asia, South America, South Africa and the Southern oceans and even North America and Canada. Whilst this may seem odd it is pretty historically accurate and reflects the realism in the design of the cards and events.
Expansionism: For Or Against?
Is it all worth it you’re wondering? Well, as ever, that depends. I don’t feel the Air Power was that great though with, ironically, the best looking pieces. The expanded decks felt right as some of them seemed a bit light before meaning a closely fought game would run out of steam towards the end of Total War.
The end in most games now being when one team is ahead by 30 points which is a blessing as even with experienced players a full turn of the 6 Nations takes at least 15 minutes meaning a 20 turn game would be 5 hours! Given that, you may decide not to add the extra steps and choices.
I do like the bigger decks though but then I’ve got big hands to shuffle them.