Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"WW2 All at Sea" Review

I have been asked to elaborate on Agema’s “WW2 All at Sea” due to a general dearth of information about the game on line. So where to begin?


Each tactical turn = 10 minutes, strategic turns = 40 minutes

4 cm = one nautical mile although imperial measurements are used for game play.

1 model = one ship or four or five aircraft.

As you can see from the time scale this is a very “high level” game. In land warfare one might refer to this as an operational simulation.  A good way to look at it is that you are in the role of squadron or fleet commander, rather than ship’s captain.

The rules use six sided dice throughout. Essentially you roll one dice per battery firing and if you score a hit another dice is rolled to determine the damage. AA fire is handled a bit differently with each ship having a number of Light AA, and AA dice dependent upon armament. Within certain restrictions these dice may be allocated to more than one enemy flight per turn as required.

Games will usually start with both sides beyond detection range (randomly determined at game start). Forces will then move in strategic turns until the range closes. Then tactical turns will commence with each side trying to detect the other and so on. Radar can be useful to tell that someone is out there, but only if it works. Once figures come within visibility range firing is likely to commence.

For those new to naval games with longish scale turns, damage rates can seem high. It is quite possible for a destroyer to be sunk in a single round of combat. Of course it could just as easily escape being damaged at all, or suffer from non-lethal degradation of firepower, speed, or comms.

Speaking of comms, each player is assigned a flagship. The flagship may be maneuvered as the player sees fit and any ships in formation with it will conform. If you want a ship that is not in the flagship’s formation to turn, you have to roll a dice to see if the order is received and carried out. Usually it will be. Damage to comms systems on the flag or receiving ship, or just bad luck, can result in the order being missed or misinterpreted.

There are rules for submarines and aircraft as well as surface vessels. A system is provided by which forces may be built using points to give “balanced” games. However where and when the battle it to take place does have considerable impact on what is available and even if you get to use what you purchased.

There are also campaign rules that regulate using the same forces over a number of games with all that entails. This is not a map campaign, but rather a resource management exercise.

Ship date is provided for just about anyone you might need to see included: Argentina, Australia, Britain, Brizil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Unitied States. The listed ships run from BB’s and CV’s down to subs and mtbs. There are also aircraft stats for the major powers included.

As an added plus some historical scenarios are included; River Plate, Pantelleria, Dakar (a campaign scenario), and Denmark Strait.

All things considered you get a  lot of game in the 158 page book or pdf. As in any game where fewer rather than more dice are used, luck will be an important factor. For example I had a single flight of Swordfish make a run at Bismarck. Quite improbably they sunk her (I know AH said “she” should be a “he”, but I don’t care : ). Now that actually required Bismarck not getting a 6 on any of 10 dice, while the aircraft rolled not one but two sixes. As you can see that sort of thing won’t happen often.

All things considered I’m a fan. If I want to play a really small action and know the effect of each round fired I’ll play Seekrieg V. Failing that I am more likely to play All at Sea than any of the other games mentioned below*.

Oh and lest I forget, Agema offers WWI naval rules by the name of "Challenge and Reply". These predate "All at Sea", and are similar in execution but not in detail.

Hope you find this info of interest, and thanks for stopping by!

* WWII Naval Miniatures Games that I have played:

Command At Sea

Seekrieg V

Sea Wars

Battle Stations! Battle Stations!


General Quarters (1, 2, and 3)


Miniatures-like board games:

World War II at Sea

NWS Naval Warfare World War II

NWS  Nights of Fury

Naval Thunder
Shipbase 3

Tokyo Express

Royal Navy

This is just the primarily surface warfare oriented games that I can recall having played but will do for the purposes of establishing a base line.


  1. Thanks for the review! I had actually just downloaded the set from the Wargames Vault site a few minutes ago LOL. I was looking to see if there were any game aid or additional info to use. I appreciate your taking the time to write the review. It looks like a game that will fit my needs. :) Robert

  2. You are most welcome. I do hope you enjoy the game! Must say I had been a bit hesitant to buy due to lack of any reviews but am happy U did so.

  3. Thanks Again :). I also downloaded the WWI rules. Challenge and Reply!. Both were on sale at Wargames Vault. Since I have a bunch of 1/4800 ships I think these rules will best suit them ). Robert

  4. Bought this based on your review. So far it's looking pretty good for big sized battles. Can't wait to give it a go.

  5. I do hope you enjoy them. They have been out for a while and it is still hard to find any reviews. Wonder why? It's a fine game for larger actions indeed, and a quick game for smaller encounters.