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2015 Releases → Gathering Storm

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Gathering Storm

COMPONENTS
  • Four countersheets
  • One 22"x30" mapboard
  • One 8.5"x11" mapboard overlay
  • 144 Random event cards
  • Rulebook
  • Battle Manual
  • Transition Rulebook
  • Scenario Cards
ONLINE RESOURCES

PUBLISHED 2015
DESIGNER Bruce Harper
ART DIRECTOR Rodger B. MacGowan
MAP & COUNTER ART Charlie Kibler and Mark Simonitch
PRODUCERS Mark Simonitch, Tony Curtis, Gene Billingsley, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan


Price: $105.00 
Quantity:  

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Product Rating: (3.33)   # of Ratings: 9   (Only registered customers can rate)

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Showing comments 1-8 of 8
1. Adam on 7/29/2015, said:

This may well be a fantastic game, but I have found the rules much harder to read and absorb than is normal for GMT. The lack of clear examples and any concise set up guide is also, for me, a problem.
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2. Bob on 7/28/2015, said:

I'm new to the World at War universe and I was intrigued by the subject of the Gathering Storm game. After examining all of the components, I was surprised by the lack of any learning guidelines or examples of play. I own many GMT games and I have come to expect a step by step extended turn immersion into a game, rather than being tossed into this deep game without some kind of structured learning guidelines. I'm very disappointed in this game. I hope GMT will remedy this problem soon.
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3. George on 7/19/2015, said:

Bottom-line: Rules and battle manual need a complete re-write. The rules are terrible. The layout makes reading difficult. There are no index, setup instructions, references, or historical notes. No clarity. Rules generate more questions than answers. Use of counters, charts, and tracks is never clearly explained. One-half page of the rules refers to mobilizations prior to the start of the game: are we to do something with those? Another rule regarding British mobilizations concerns the first through fifth mobilizations; details the third through seventh mobilizations; and ends with the eight and final mobilization. Is the first the third? The fifth the seventh? The eight the last or does Britain have nine mobilizations? There are many lines of rules that provide nothing related to the play of the game or understanding what the design intends (see the first rule in "Outline of Play"). I'm sure this game is not as complicated as the designer has it written.
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4. Todd on 7/15/2015, said:

Waited 23 years for this game, and I am not disappointed! I love the way that you have to balance your desired course of action against the political realities and random events. The game has the feel of the Pre-war Years and the uncertainty of when the other shoe will fall. You want to be better prepared than your opponent, but avoid initiating the war in the process. Good job designing this game. I agree the rules could be better organized, but I don't find them hard to follow. Great game!
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5. Robert on 7/4/2015, said:

I am commenting from the perspective of a casual although reasonably experienced game player, recently introduced to AWAW. This game (GS) has been under development from prior to the time AWAW was first published in 2003, and it shows. Having played the game as a prelude to AWAW, it works extraordinarily well, and it is apparent that no shortcuts were taken in designing this game. Players must balance the trade offs of concentrating their limited resources on diplomacy, research, factory conversion, and military and naval construction to influence the balance of power, as well as preparing for and executing prewar aggressions (or defending against them). It is balanced, playable, and with outcomes that are realistic. The random events add enough uncertainty to keep the game from becoming stale or subject to "perfect plans." I likewise see this as a must-have for any AWAW player, although it also works as a free-standing game and is reasonably quick. The GS website now has an article from the game's designer discussing a Russia play example that may be useful for players. The website also has other resources, including for those carrying over their GS game to AWAW a utility that handles all of the starting AWAW calculations. There is also an active Yahoo discussion forum, and questions posted typically are answered by the game's designer or other knowledgeable GS players within hours, if not minutes. Being somewhat of a history buff I happen to like the historical photos and maps and the care that was taken to make the game work as a historical simulation. While I find the rules to be clear enough, I agree that some improvement to organization and clarity of the rules is possible, and perhaps they could benefit from read-throughs by individuals not otherwise familiar with the game. Although I am fine without them, I also agree that adding page numbers would make sense for those who want them--I understand the counterargument that they are not needed since the rules are organized by section, and that they will change with updates. But the game itself is a blast to play!
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6. David on 7/4/2015, said:

First, let's be fair: all but one of the "bookkeeping forms" are simply updates to player aids used in A World at War (to make them consistent with the extensions to that game introduced by GS). You don't touch them unless you play AWaW. The only written record actually used in Gathering Storm is one research sheet for each side, where you check off one or two boxes a turn and that's it. There is virtually no written record-keeping required to play GS. Also, downloadable PDF rules (and all other components) are available at www.gatheringstorm.org, which is mentioned on the first page of the printed rules. The game system itself is interesting. The organization and transparency of the rules leaves something to be desired, and gets in the way of understanding it. Lack of page numbers is pretty silly. Lack of setup instructions in one place is also very unfortunate (the setup information is printed on the game components, but a first-time player will have trouble understanding it because it is scattered throughout the rules). What the game really needs, more than anything, is a comprehensive example of play, showing a playthrough of, say, the first turn. Why something like this wasn't included, when most of the "Battle Manual" is largely a redundant recapitulation of the rules, is really puzzling. It would, indeed, be nice if most of the black & white "flavor" photos in the rulebook were replaced with clear, well-constructed and explained full-color examples... As I say, the system is interesting, but the political possibilities are actually fairly conservative. Some of the bullet points listed as "what if's" on this page are beyond the scope of the game. For instance, the Russian player can do nothing to defer or accelerate the Purges. They just happen. I think the game lives up to its billing as "must-have" for AWaW/A3R fans. Also, if you are interested in the origins of WWII in Europe, and are not put off by the density of the rules and the near total absence of useful examples, it is a very interesting and in some respects, elegant, game. It's unfortunate that the presentation does nothing to improve its accessibility, though. (Apologies for the wall of text; I tried putting paragraph breaks in this review, but GMT's system ignores them...)
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7. Greg on 7/4/2015, said:

I second everything said by the previous two posters, including the shocking absence of an Example of Play. I've been wargaming for 45 years and it was still hard for me to suss out the system. That being said, it's excellent and quite fun (and fast) and a great setup for an AWAW game. Much better than the TK/DS and DoD stuff from other games. Recommended!
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8. Tracy on 6/28/2015, said:

It would have been nice if more information was given about this game. I have it now, and I didn't know it would have many sheets for players to do keep written records. It has more than 10 pages of forms for bookkeeping! Why do the AWAW people write rules with random historical photos on almost every page? They add more pages to the rulebooks and waste ink when printing them out. If the rules can be printed out. No downloadable PDF rules yet. Will there be any? THE RULEBOOK HAS NO PAGE NUMBERS. WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT?
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Showing comments 1-8 of 8

Gathering Storm, both a game in its own right and a prequel to GMT’s A World at War, covers the period from 1935 to the outbreak of World War II, whenever that might be. Like A World at WarGathering Storm, simulates the military, economic, political, diplomatic, research and production preparations for the Second World War, allowing the players to explore what might have happened if:


  • Admiral Doenitz had convinced his superiors of the importance of submarine warfare in the impending war with Britain.
  • Germany had pursued the Z Plan earlier and more consistently.
  • The development of the “Ural bomber” had been pursued.
  • Poland had become a German satellite, rather than resisting German aggression.
  • War had broken out over the Sudetenland, or even the remilitarization of the Rhineland.
  • Mussolini had given a lower priority to naval armaments, to the benefit of the Italian armor and air forces.
  • France had extended the Maginot Line.
  • de Gaulle’s arguments to expand and strengthen France’s armor units had been accepted.
  • Britain had rearmed sooner.
  • Russia had deferred the Great Purges. Or accelerated them.
  • The Spanish civil war had been won by the Loyalists.
  • A civil war had broken out in Yugoslavia. Or Greece.
  • Atomic fission had been discovered earlier.
  • The Second World War had begun with a Franco-Italian conflict. Or a French pre-emptive attack on Germany. Or a Russo-German war, with Italy and the Western Allies neutral.
  • War comes early. Or later, in 1940 or even 1941. 
  • YOU had been in command.

Gathering Storm,can be played as a separate game in a single session, with its own victory conditions, but A World at War players will want to press on and see how the war they have created plays out. While using different mechanics, Gathering Storm,’s structure is consistent with A World at War and allows for a seamless transition to whatever alternate war the players planned – or stumbled into.  Some 30 years in development, with three years of design and playtesting, Gathering Storm, includes the following:


  • Six random events each turn, providing unlimited replay value.
  • Economics based on tiles and activity counters, eliminating any paperwork.
  • Flexible mobilization rules, allowing players to emphasis civilian or military production – each at the expense of the other.
  • Unit construction which allows players to activate reserve units for immediate benefits, at a cost of limiting future options.
  • Variable research, which can focus on air, naval, military or intelligence projects, as well as short or long term gains.
  • A fast-moving diplomatic system, with each player allocating diplomatic counters each turn. Diplomatic targets are public, but the points allocated to them are not.
  • Shipbuilding that allows varied fleets, including the possibility of 5-factor super battleships.
  • Ahistorical A World at War counters, including armor units of different strengths and additional ships. 
  • A dynamic crisis system, in which the Allies can appease or oppose the Axis, with neither side necessarily being certain whether war might break out.
  • No dice.


Gathering Storm is a must-buy for any committed A World at War player, an excellent – and possibly dangerously time consuming – introduction to the A World at War universe for those unfamiliar with that game, and a enjoyable and instructive fast-paced game all on its own.