I just finished the fourth book in a series called Murphy’s War, set in a Weird World War II where magic and vampires fight side by side with tanks, snipers and booby traps. There aren’t many books like this of which I am aware: it’s a hat tip and homage to Operation Chaos by Poul Andersen, of course, but Mark Walker has also written Dark War, which is about World War THREE with vampires and zombies and stuff. And that’s it, as far as I know.
But in gaming, there are lots of WWWII titles. Wolfenstein, of course, the video game series, which now has a boardgame in production. There are now zombie levels in most WW2 shooter games, I hear. But there are several others, most of which I’ve owned over the years, and I think each one inspired a little bit of Murphy’s War.
Fireteam Zero pits four WW2 commandoes against a series of supernatural threats in Europe, Africa, Russia and the Far East. Each threat module has a series of operations, with sturdy pressboard maps, plastic miniatures and support material. The maps are very dark, which is exactly what you want in a horror game. The minis are fine, if a bit derivative: there are the Woods Demons, the Fire Demons, the Spider Monsters, and other stuff we’ve seen before. When painted up nicely, though, they get the job done. The character models are excellent; mine wound up being repurposed as the characters from my series for a game I hope to run at a convention sometime.
Tannhauser is by Fantasy Flight Games, so it’s overproduced, or perhaps I should say “jam-packed” with stuff. Modular maps, again dark but readable, one indoor and one outdoor. In this one, the weird stuff isn’t secret at all; it started in World War One, when the losing side resorted to black magic, and the Allies responded with superscience. Now they have electricity guns and powered-armor harnesses, while the other side has vampires, Frankensteins and zombies. I took the idea of the Austro-Hungarians making a deal with the Devil to survive World War One from Tannhauser.
Tannhauser comes with miniatures, but only a few of them. On the plus side, they are already painted and look great.
Hellboy isn’t primarily set in WW2, but half his villains are occult Nazis, so it works. It’s an adaptation of the comic book, which includes minis which are crisp and detailed and paint easily. Hellboy himself is an awesomely pulp character which goes well with the WWW2 setting; I kinda wish he’d had more adventures back then, although he was a little kid in the Forties, hence “Hellboy” rather than “Hellman.” Plenty of frog monsters and undead Vikings spice up the action, and if you don’t have enough Nazi minis, there are lots of places to correct that lack.
Still to come:
The Day After Ragnarok