If wargaming has become unduly directed toward the various “monster games” in recent years, it’s still gratifying to see new blood enter that particular sub-fold of wargame publishers, even more so if they’re promoting their work at Origins. One such company is Diffraction Entertainment, an international team with a remarkable product line that they’re showing this year, The Second World War.
Proofs of the first module in the series, Blitzkrieg, are at the show and it’s pretty impressive. The entire line will cover all of World War II at the operational level, at 15 miles to the hex and in two-week turns, but Blitzkrieg takes western Europe from the invasion of Poland in 1939 to the fall of France in 1940 – and beyond if a brave German player wants to attempt Operation Sea Lion. The land, air and naval wars are all covered in immense detail, the level of research involved is simply staggering, and the maps are works of true craftsmanship, derived from modern satellite maps, military maps from the American, German and Russian archives, and even such things as wartime-era Polish railroad archives (it’s more important than you’d think, when you need to ferry provisions to your troops on the Russian front.)
I had a long chat with John Bannerman of Diffraction, and in his fine Scottish brogue he told me that people working on at least three continents have put over 15,000 man-hours of research into the project so far. Blitzkrieg isn’t going to be for the faint of heart, or for the new-to-wargaming, but to the hardcore audience this has to be one of the most exciting releases of the last few years. It didn’t make Origins as a salable product due to printing hassles, but I’m told it will be available for order fairly shortly – and Diffraction may be putting in an appearance at GenCon.