Total War, the first expansion for WW2 Quartermaster General Second Edition, the fast–paced game that puts you in command of the major powers of the Second World War, is due to release in November. The game designer Ian Brody explained how this expansion increases the game in this preview article originally published by Game Trade Magazine, issue #246.

WW2 Quartermaster General is a historical strategy game which appeals to both eurogamers and wargamers alike. The game accommodates two to six players on two teams, and actually plays faster with more players. For many eurogamers, Quartermaster General is the only wargame they’ll play. Wargamers appreciate the epic struggle of a global WW II game distilled into 90 minutes.

The award-winning first edition, while critically acclaimed, did contain a number of rough edges. Thankfully, these have been cleaned up in the second edition, released by Ares Games in 2019.

Total War, first expansion for WW2 Quartermaster General Second Edition.

WW2 Quartermaster General Second Edition is now being expanded with Total War, which contains second edition versions of the long out-of-print Air Marshal and Alternative Histories expansions. Like the base game, these titles have received a significant refresh.

What’s Inside

Quartermaster General WW2 Total War comes with 165 new cards, pieces for China and France, and air force pieces for all countries. There is also an updated sequence of play tile and some other useful counters in addition to the rules booklet.

Most of the expansion is written into the cards themselves, and thus requires no explanation to get started. But there are a few mechanical changes:

  • Chinese and French pieces are (rightly) added as combatants, but played by the existing 6 powers. While the addition of Chinese and French pieces fundamentally alters the scenario, the changes to the rules are negligible.
  • The mechanics of using Air Forces are most of the new rules you’ll need to learn. Air Power cards are used to deploy air forces and gain air superiority. Air forces can be used to defend your armies and navies and intercept other air forces.
  • Bolster cards have been introduced. Bolster cards are played directly out of hand as a reaction to play.
  • Finally, you must discard at least one card during the discard step or lose a Victory Point. Making this decision is the most complicated part of Total War!

The base game largely focuses on providing a “what if” narrative of World War 2 by abstractly portraying the real history and capabilities of the combatants. In Total War, many of the cards represent alternate histories, like Sea Lion, the invasion of Britain that never happened; or the development of Landkreuzers, German 1000-ton tanks.

We’ve all had our ups and downs with expansions for our favorite games; nobody wants new mechanics that just end up obscuring the fun part. What Total War strives to do is focus on the fun part. You will immediately appreciate the explosion of new card combos created by Total War – essentially magnifying the best part of the game.

Total War increases the number of cards you utilize by about a third (33%), while adding only about 10 minutes to a game, about 10% more than usual. In addition, you’re going to have a much larger choice of cards, since you’re likely to be drawing more than one card per turn - every turn since you’ll feel pressure to discard. The net effect is a major tempo upsize so the tension level goes through the roof!

A view of some new cards and pieces of Total War expansion.

In addition, Total War contains rules for players who want to construct customized decks, providing even more replayability. If you’ve played Quartermaster General WW2, and have had fun, you should seriously consider it. The additional rules are minimal and the exponential increase in replayability will greatly compound your investment.

If you are a grognard who has played the base game of Quartermaster General WW2 and felt it a bit too light, this may be the other half of the game you were seeking.

In 2021 we can expect to see a second edition of the Prelude expansion, a short pregame for WW2 Quartermaster General that covers the period leading up to the war.

On BoardGameGeek you’ll find a lively community of Quartermaster General players, including the designer Ian Brody, if you have more questions or want to play by forum.

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