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.