Several months ago, we were contacted by doit games from Barcelona, Spain about a new series of introductory level wargames that they were designing and would be releasing on Kickstarter on February 28, 2022. One of the games was covering World War I (Downfall of Empires) while the other covers World War II (Downfall of the Third Reich). The series is called the Downfall Series and is designed by Victor Catalá. We reached out to Victor and he was more than willing to share information about the series and with this interview to go into more detail about Downfall of the Third Reich.

In case you missed the interview covering Downfall of Empires published last week you can read that at the following link:

If you are interested in Downfall of the Third Reich you can get more information by visiting the Kickstarter page at the following link:

Grant: What is your design goal with Downfall of the Third Reich?

Victor: The goal was to design a World War II game in the European Theater that can be played in one session (approx. 4 hours). Also, it has to be a good historical simulation and exciting to play. The games are also considered to be introductory but offer some really interesting choices and options for new and seasoned players.

Grant: How did you change the system used in Downfall of Empires to cover the differences in World War II?

Victor: I would like to mention first of all that the two games share a lot of the same mechanics and are similar in how they play.

Anyway, there are two especially important changes:

  1. Introduction of armored armies including tanks
  2. In Downfall of the Third Reich, there are more Actions used to accumulate resources than in Downfall of Empires, that can be spent on the turn itself or on subsequent turns.

Grant: What are the playable factions in the game?

Victor: The traditional Axis power of Germany, the Western Allied powers of France and Britain and then the USSR. However, there are two sides in the game and if the victory conditions are met, the Allies and the USSR can share the victory.

Grant: How do other minor nations like Italy, Romania, Greece and even the mighty United States enter the war?

Victor: The game tries to simulate what happened during the Second World War, Anyway players are able to modify the history a little. In relation to your question, I have respected what happened during the period to the maximum, therefore, the minor countries join the war according to history, and there is no way to join “the wrong side”. I considered that introducing a Diplomacy Action would create more problems than advantages.

Grant: What date does the game commence on? What is the time scale of turns?

Victor: Each turn is a season, that is, three months. It begins in the winter of 1940 (when the war has already started) and ends in the spring of 1945.

Grant: How are number of actions determined? Historically what was the major difference between Limited War and Total War and how do you model that in the design?

Victor: Historically, the powers have been increasing their involvement in the war as it progressed, the reason to incorporate this concept in the game is basically the industrial potential of the powers, which increased as the war progressed, that is why I decided that each power should have 2 levels of involvement: Limited War and Total War.

Grant: You have added in some new actions different for those in Downfall of Empires for this game. What are these new actions?

Victor: The production of tanks and air missions are two Actions that acquire special relevance with respect to Downfall of Empires. There are also, as a novelty, the Actions of submarine missions and the Lend Lease. Apart from the Actions, I would also like to mention that the technologies have also been adapted to the conflict, in this way we will have, among others, the technologies of: Amphibious Landing, Advanced Tanks, Advanced Aircraft, Blitzkrieg, Logistics, etc.

Grant: How are Supply Units acquired and what is the cost of different units?

Victor: Supply Units are obtained performing Supply Actions. Supply Units can be accumulated and saved over to be used during subsequent turns. This is a key part of the game and will need to be focused on in order to increase the effectiveness of campaigns in the game.

The activation of an army costs, with some few exceptions, one Supply Unit.

That is, the player can accumulate Supply Units by spending Actions to use them at a given time. Certain operations, such as the launching of Operation Barbarossa, will require you to have accumulated a significant number of Supply Units to be successful.

Grant: What is the anatomy of the counters?

Victor: Armies only contain the Combat Rating, nationality, and unit type: Infantry or Armor. I intentionally kept the type of units fairly basic to not overcomplicate the rules and also to better portray the scale of the game as a Strategic Level game.

Grant: How many actions are available for each faction each turn? What does the difference in the number of actions represent?

Victor: As I said before, the number of Actions is based on the potential of the war economy and what power it is. For example, the Allies at the beginning of the game is in Limited War and has only 2 actions, just like the Soviet player, while the German player has 3 actions per turn, on the other hand, once the US joins the war (Total War) the Allied player will have 5 actions. This is one of the keys for the German player as they have to take advantage of their advantage in actions while it lasts and then somewhat hold off the Allies till 1945.

One of the keys of the game is to limit the number of actions that each player can do in each turn, players have the need to choose the best option at each moment, in addition, we limit the game playing time.  

Grant: I understand there are some political restrictions on the use of actions. How does this work? What from history does this represent?

Victor: Political restrictions apply to the operations of armies, that is, basically to movement (and in some cases to aviation), but they do not apply to Actions.

The political restrictions on operations make the game behave in a historical way. For example, the Germans cannot move to areas with Italian influence until 1941. Another example would be that the Finnish armies cannot leave Finland and they need German armies to be able to carry out a joint attack.

Grant: What actions are available to each faction?

Victor: In this aspect the game behaves quite symmetrically, in the sense that there are almost no actions exclusive for each side.

There are 5 Actions that are available to all three factions: Supply, Reinforcements, Tank Production, Air Missions, and Development.

Submarine Missions is an action only available to the Axis. Lend Lease is only available to Allies.

Grant: How do submarine missions affect the Allies?

Victor: Every two German submarine missions subtract one Allied Action per turn. Since once submarine Mission Action provides 3 missions, it means that 2 German submarine mission Actions subtract 3 Actions from the Allies.

These submarine missions are going to be a strong limitation for the Allied player, especially at the beginning of the game, Allies start with 2 actions per turn, he will have to do without one of them, due to the German submarines.

Grant: How does the development action work? What different elements can be developed?

Victor: Getting a Development costs two Actions on two different turns. Developments are to provide more production, better weapons: Allow me to mention a few of them:

Logistics: When performing the “Supply” Action, 7 units will accumulate instead of 5.

Aviation: Allows you to carry out aerial missions.

Advanced Tanks: Allows you to build tanks with more firepower.

Russian Guard: Allows the Soviet player to build more powerful infantry units.

Amphibious Landing: Increases the number of armies that are able to perform Amphibious Landings per turn from 1 to 3.

We have more types of technology but as an example I have mentioned only a few of them.

Grant: How does the Blitzkrieg action work?

Victor: Blitzkrieg development allows 2 things:

Armored Armies Penetration: Armor can move over contested territory and move far away to enemy lines, allowing them to pocket enemy armies. If an Army is out, it cannot move or attack, and if it were still out of supply at the end of the turn it would be eliminated

Create the Supply Line: The side that has this development may be able to draw a Supply Line through uncontrolled disputed areas.

Grant: What does the Lend Lease element do?

Victor: An Allied Lend Lease Share provides an extra Share to the Soviet Union. That is, the Allied player renounces one of their actions to give it to the Soviet player.

Grant: What does the map look like? What key areas are identified and what strategic considerations does the terrain force on players?

Victor: The map is simple and clear, attached below is a picture so you can see it better. There are different key areas, for example:

If the Allied controls Trondheim, the Axis gets one Action minus in winter and spring turns if it is in Total War

If the Soviet Union controls Bucharest, the Axis receives 2 less supply units on the Supply Action.

If the Axis controls Grozny, it receives 2 more supply units in the Supply Action.

In terms of terrain, it provides bonuses to defending armies, normally +1 or +2 to the dice roll.

Grant: How does combat work?

Victor: The combat is very similar to Downfall of Empires. It is from “army to army”, with support of other armies and/or aviation. There are some differences though, for example you can choose to attack small armies rather than full armies.

As a reminder, each army will attack an enemy army located in the same territory and the attacker can support with another additional army (as long as the number of attacking armies exceeds the number of defenders). Each side rolls a standard 6 sided die. The attacker can get +2 if there is support from another army and an additional +2 if there are air missions, the defender can add the bonus for terrain. The highest final value wins the match. The loser loses one entire army and the winner loses a step.

As you can see, the combat is very simple, without the need to do mathematical calculations or consult tables.

Grant: How is victory determined? What kind of experience does this create?

Victor: The victory condition is based on the surrender of Germany. Germany surrenders if its four home supply sources are taken by the enemy.

If Germany surrenders on the last turn of the game, it is a draw. If Germany surrenders before the last turn, the Axis loses. If Germany does not surrender, the Axis wins the game. Quite a few games between expert players end in a draw.

Grant: What do you believe the game does really well in modeling World War II?

Victor: This was one of the goals of the game. I am very satisfied in this aspect considering the simplicity of the game. For me, the important thing is the sensations that the game creates during and after the game.

It is an unquestionable symptom that the game meets its objectives, the fact that players remember the game after a few days, and even speak about what they could have done differently and what might have happened.

Grant: What has been the experience of your playtesters?

Victor: There are playtesters who have played many games and want to continue playing it. It seems that the game is liked by players the more they play and the better they understand the system and situation. I am lucky to have a great team of testers, who have been with me since the beginning of the project. Apart from the usual testers, the game has also been tested with novice players, so that they could give us their feedback “seen from the outside” of the wargaming world, the first game must already leave a good feeling for a game to be successful, and this has been the case of Downfall of The Third Reich.

Grant: What stretch goals are available?

Victor: The game is going to bring several things in the campaign, Quick Reference Sheets, scenarios (for those players who want to reduce the game time even more), extra thick counters, and I even think a tray to store all the counters of the game.

Thank you for your time in answering our questions Victor and for your effort in designing the game. I think that your approach, being focused on making sure the game is easy to learn and fast playing, will be a great bridge for Eurogamers to come more into wargaming. I look forward to a future opportunity to play the game.

In case you missed the interview covering Downfall of Empires published last week you can read that at the following link:

If you are interested in Downfall of the Third Reich you can get more information by visiting the Kickstarter page at the following link: