I didn't play a lot of wars games growing up. There was the occasional game of Risk, or Castle Risk, its speedier cousin, but nothing complex. It wasn't until I go to college and I joined the Medieval College Society that I came in contact with War Gamers. Having lots of time on my hands and loving all things epic, this held great appeal for me.
I never did figure out what was Medieval about the society, but I did later become president for failing to show up to elections so I couldn't say no.
Gathered in our cramped student office, the first war game I played was World at War . World at War was an Axis and Allies spin-off that adds country specific rules and costs to increase Historical accuracy. For example, the U.S. And Russia aren't allowed to declare war until they are attacked or a certain number of turns have passed while Japan can make one sneak attack during the game, which basically meant they could attack twice in a row.
Looking at the game now on BGG, it has the sort of mix of reviews you would expect from a game that was deeply flawed but filled many with nostalgia. My favorite comment, “My one and only play almost ended in a fist fight. I was being a dick. I see that now. “ This didn't occur in our group, but it certainly could have.
I played the U.S., so I had lots of money and little to do. I loaned what I could to Britain, and spent the rest buying random stuff, waiting for Japan to attack or me to figure out some sort of strategy. So I got a fighter here, a destroyer there, and ooh how bout a nice shiny battleship. Meanwhile Japan is slowly sailing around me, avoiding any conflict that would allow me to declare war, and heading North towards Britain.
An hour or two in, Getting kind of bored with being unable participate in battles, I took a bathroom break. The following is recreation of the conversation that occurred next.
"Oh great. How is Britain doing?"
"No... Japan attacked you."
"Oh, okay. How is my fleet doing?"
"No... Japan slipped around your fleet, invaded the Eastern U.S. Through the Gulf of Mexico, took it over, and are now using their sneak attack to attcak the Western U.S. And win the game."
And that is how,“Damn you to Hell for invading the U.S. Through Texas!!” became a greeting.