Session Report – Cataclysm: A Second World War (Turn 3)

Cataclysm Turn 3 – 1945 -46

An introduction to Cataclysm is here. For Turn 1, see here. Turn 2 is here.

The Beginning of the End

Japan attacks Guam!  The seizure of this US Naval base cuts a vital supply route to the Philippines. It means US reinforcements out of Pearl Harbour will need to go via a southern route through the UK colonies in Papua and Australia.

This is a crucial moment. The next chit out of the cup is a Soviet Offensive. The war in Europe is over! It’s now a matter of time before the Soviet declare war on Japan and our game ends.

Cataclysm Japan Navy
The Japanese forces take Guam

War in the Pacific

Battle commences in the Pacific as the US and Japanese fleet face off near Wake Island. This time the Japanese are forced to withdraw. This is an important victory for the US. With limited supply available to its army in Indonesia, an atomic solution is looking increasingly likely if Japan are to be stopped before the end of the game.

As the US develops its atomic capability, heavy fighting breaks out in the former UK colony of Burma. It’s a close battle but the hardened Japanese infantry beat back the UK forces despite conceding air superiority to the RAF.

Next, the UK moves towards New Guinea. However, a failed Home Front test forces it to refocus on its political stability.   

Japan too has political issues, however, stabilises itself just enough to prevent collapse.  With the threat of the atomic bomb is now on the horizon, Japan is on a knife edge. The chances of surviving an atomic attack are slim.

The Imperial Navy has done a fine job of keeping the US Air Force just out of range, however, the failure at Wake Island means Japan itself is almost within strategic bombing range of the US Air Force.

Gaining new territory now seems vital. But where? China is an obvious target. However, Australia is also possibility. No, the clock is ticking. Better to use the fleet to keep the US Air Force out of bombing range of mainland Japan.

Next chit out of the cup: a Soviet Offensive!

The game ends as the Soviet Union declares war on Japan.

The Japanese held on to the bitter end, narrowly winning the scenario with the required 10 VP’s needed to win.

Cataclysm C4
Japan holds on for the win!


What a game!

This is now my fourth play of Cataclysm, following on from two solo attempts at the introductory scenario and a full game with three players.

There is so much going on, so much to think about in a game that I am still repeatedly referencing the rule book.

The Chinese Civil War remains a mystery and I’m sure I’ve yet to fully grasp the subtleties of all the actions. I’m a long, long way off being competitive and, honestly, I really don’t mind.

Each play of Cataclysm has been better than the last. I love the game for the way it allows you to rewrite the history of the Second World War. For the way it uses the real history to facilitate players telling their own story of events.

Cataclysm is one of the finest games in my collection. The learning curve is very steep, especially to a novice wargamer like me, and it requires time and space to play but it’s worth it.

I’m already eyeing my calendar for the next available Cataclysm Day.