For me a good strategy-level, sandbox game has to be re-playable and should allow for easy entry into its system thanks to the multiple smaller scenarios. Cataclysm is exactly such a game so this is not a surprise that I again come back to that fantastic title!


Our boardgame group Cataclysm games: 
C.1 Full Campaign Online 
C.1 Second, full Campaign Online 
C.1 Full Campaign Live 
C.2 Introductory: Days of Decision 
C.3 Theater: The Great Patriotic War 
C.4 The Eagle and The Sun

I must admit, it is not easy to gather a group of devoted players for a full Cataclysm campaign live so despite having the printed game, I more and more relay on the online tools. I already played two very exciting and long-to-be-remembered campaigns with Peter and Denis (Cataclysm full game online and then Second Cataclysm full game online). This time my opponents were Sean (allied forces) and Pete (Axis forces) while I was leading USSR (for the first time!)

So let us see how the world situation unfolded and where the player decision it led us!

GAME SET-UP

The initial map is pretty empty, with few armies and some important markers (like demilitarized Ruhr, Status Quo, Japan trade Marker, US-Japan treaty) which inhibits too fast expansion. But as we will see – and as it historically was – that will not prevent the ideologies to clash.

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C.1 scenario set-up – Europe (click to enlarge)

TURN 1 (1933-1934)

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The situation after Turn 1 (click on the image to open in the new window)

Main developments of Turn 1. As almost always, reasonably predictable turn, with standard moves as only Japan was at rearmament commitment; some interesting things below.

  • Heibei was quickly taken by Japan
  • Japan Trade marker was removed by US
  • Democracies lost control over Romania and Yugoslavia
  • Japan moved to mobilization, all other countries went to rearmament.
  • Ruhr was demilitarized
  • End of turn War status: Peace
  • End of turn points:
    • Fascists (Pete) 4
    • Communists (Michal) 2
    • Democracies (Sean) 4

TURN 2 (1935-1936)

Cataclysm_Sean_Pete_1935_1936
The situation after Turn 2 (click on the image to open in the new window)

Key actions in Turn 2:

  • Trans-Siberian Railroad was build in USSR so the move between two halves of that vast country become much easier
  • There was failed USSR attack on Persia
  • Germany took Sweden
  • Hubei falls in Japan hands
  • All factions massively builds armies
  • End of turn War status: still peace
  • End of turn points:
    • Fascists (Pete) 6
    • Communists (Michal) 2
    • Democracies (Sean) 4

TURN 3 (1937-1938)

Cataclysm_Sean_Pete_1937_1938
The situation after Turn 3 (click on the image to open in the new window)

Turn 3 key points – the things are startign to move forward!

  • Finally, there is an end to the Status Quo!
  • USSR tries second time to conquer Persia – all in vain!
  • Japan push forward in China – this time Chuan is being conquered
  • Maginot line is in place in France; they build a fortress
  • Italians and British amass forces in North Africa
  • End of turn War status: Peace (wow, still?)
  • End of turn points:
    • Fascists (Pete) 7
    • Communists (Michal) 2
    • Democracies (Sean) 4

TURN 4 (1939-1940)

Cataclysm_Sean_Pete_1939_1940
The situation after Turn 4 (click on the image to open in the new window)

During the turn 4 the real hostilities started:

  • First, Germany conquers Czechoslovakia and Poland
  • Then, Denmark falls (quite historically!)
  • Surprise, surprise, France is being attacked through Belgium and Paris falls! Maginot line is complete useless. But France still fights on!
  • Japan conquers two provinces in China 
  • Italy conquers Yugoslavia and Roumania! Axis on the rise!
  • US takes Java politically (unorthodox move!)
  • USSR moves West, and awaits how the situation develops
  • End of turn War status: Limited War
  • End of War points:
    • Fascists (Pete) 17
    • Communists (Michal) 2
    • Democracies (Sean) 1

TURN 5 (1941-1942)

Cataclysm_Sean_Pete_1941_1942
The situation after Turn 5 (click on the image to open in the new window)

What an intense turn that was:

  • The world plunges into Total War! France falls and most of territory is being taken over by Germans. Wehrmacht also occupies Baltic states.
  • At the same time Japan offensive in China stalls, as US enters the War and occupy Philippines!
  • That is not the end of bad news for Axis. USSR attacks Italy (an ally of Germany) and takes Romania and Poland – German armies in polish territory are annihilated, Italians significantly pushed back in Carpathian mountains.
  • End of turn War status: Total War
  • End of War points:
    • Fascists (Pete) 19
    • Communists (Michal) 4
    • Democracies (Sean) -5

SUMMARY

At this moment in time we had to stop our game as Pete was not able to continue due to personal commitments. What a game it was! What a raise of Axis forces! And then the Allies and Communist counter-offensive. I really regret we did not played further – still, it seems that Axis would be eventually squeezed by Allies and Communist forces.

I love this game and really recommend to all the fans of grand strategies!