I fought WORLD WAR IV and I all got was this stupid rash

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Alright alright alright. This Cracked LCD is the most unfair, incomplete, and irrational thing I've probably ever written about a game. It's about WORLD WAR IV, but it's not a review. It's a symptomatic description of why I practically broke out in hives while playing it, and why my group called the game and refused to finish it.

I've realized that I'm totally allergic to games that simply paddle the waters of the AXIS AND ALLIES clone genre (yes, they practically are a genre unto themselves). I should have known better when my first impression of WORLD WAR IV was "hmm...sounds like BLOOD FEUD IN NEW YORK". That was the first game I ever gave a ruthless, shamelessly bitter review of in print.

Here's the thing. I've played WORLD WAR IV before. Many, many times. It just wasn't called WORLD WAR IV. Sorry, but an extra bell and whistle or two (spies and random events in this case) don't make the game fundamentally any different than any other A&A clone. You do the same things. You wait 45 minutes to an hour between turns just like you used to. You watch other players arduosly move every single one of their fifty pieces on the board and then throw a bunch of dice to try to make them go away. Then you get some money to put more out. You do all this until somebody wins. But in my experience, games like this rarely see the end, it's more of a mutual agreement that one player has won at some point.

But all that's fine if you're having fun, right? Well, what if you're looking around the table and seeing that no one is having fun in the first hour of game that's going to take as much as 6-8 hours to complete? 

I'm genuinely sad that I didn't like WORLD WAR IV. I _wanted_ it to be awesome. I wanted to champion another underdog, small press game. I wanted it to be a big, dumb, fun game in the classic DOAM model. But come to find out, the classic DOAM model is a freaking dinosaur. I'm sorry, but if you're spending 6-8 hours on a game like WWIV instead of on TI3, or just 2 hours on VIKTORY II, then you're really kind of wasting your time.

So don't go into this article thinking it's a full review. There's elements of that, but I'm not the man to review the game and I hope someone out there can give it more of a fair shake. Consider it my admission of surrender to a game that I simply could not play through to the end. I was just scratching too much.


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Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of FortressAT.com and Nohighscores.com as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

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