13. Theatre Boxes and the Event System
Focus: This section explains how Theatre Boxes and the Event System affect game play in WiTE2.
- Theatre Boxes
- Theatre Boxes and the Partisan War
- The Event System
Theatre boxes are used to capture the full commitments of the Axis powers and the Soviet Union in WW2 and reflect one of three types of zones. In some, Soviet and the Germans and their allies are in direct combat (such as Finland at the start of the 1941 scenario). In others, either the Soviets or the Germans have to divert a substantial amount of their armed forces to either fight the Western Allies or protect vulnerable frontiers (such as the Soviet Far East). In addition the Partisan Wars within the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are treated within their respective Theatre Boxes.
Finally both sides have a generic ‘Reserves’ box which can be used to refit units off map.
Players will have the option to lock the Theatre Boxes via the Enhanced Player TB Control game option, so only scripted transfers to and from the non-reserve TBs will occur. Setting this game option must be done before the start of the game and cannot then be changed. Setting this game option off will place additional limitations on the player with respect to units in the TBs Note regardless of this choice, the Reserve Theatre Box will always be fully in play.
The Event system (13.5) is used to reflect progress in other theatres and uses triggers (such as date or geographical locations) to change allocations of manpower, administrative points and tracks combat and losses, Western Allied progress and national morale. Allied bombing will also affect German industrial production.
If there are insufficient forces in a given theatre box the player may lose both Victory Points and Administrative Points. In addition, the chain of events affecting that theatre may occur earlier hastening the surrender of some Axis powers. On the other hand, exceeding the required garrison may see the player gain both Victory and Administrative Points and delay the related events.
13.1 Theatre Boxes
13.1.1 List of the Theatre Boxes and How They Interact
The Axis Player has the following Theatre Boxes:
- The National Reserve
- North Africa
- The Balkans
- Western Europe
- The Soviet Union Garrison (inactive at the start of games commencing on 22 June 1941)
The Soviet Player has the following Theatre Boxes:
- The National Reserve
- Northern Front
- The Far East
For both sides the National Reserve is used to hold units training, refitting or re-organising after heavy losses. If units are set to ‘REFIT’ (26.3) in the National Reserve they will have a priority call on any available resources. Apart from for some units (such as destroyed units returning to the game), use of the National Reserve is optional for both players.
For the Axis player, the North Africa, Balkans, Western Europe and (initially) the Norway boxes sees them notionally in combat with the Western Allies. Loses are set through varying the combat intensity (13.3.1) and the required garrison will change as the game progresses. Towards the end of the war, part of Yugoslavia may become playable and areas in Germany will be removed from the map and made unplayable as the Allies advance.
For the Soviet player, the Far East and Transcaucasus Theatres require a variable garrison. Failure to meet this may cost the Soviet player victory and administrative points.
At the start of the game, Axis units in the Finland Theatre are notionally in combat with Soviet units in the Northern Front. Each side faces their own garrison requirements and combat intensity. A shortage of troops may cost administrative and victory points and may delay or advance the events connected with the war in Finland (40.1). Once Finland has surrendered, the Soviet Northern Front forces are in conflict with Axis forces in the Norway Theatre.
13.1.2 Accessing the Theatre Boxes
This can be done on the map via the tabs at the top of the screen, by pressing CTRL+T or by right clicking on any hex and selecting ‘map information’ and then ‘Theatre Boxes’. The geographical Theatre boxes can be found overlaying the portion of the map they reflect (so the Soviet Far East box is on the eastern map edge). The Soviet reserve can be found in Siberia and the German reserve in Germany.
By default, when a player selects CTRL+T the map will centre on the location of the Reserve Theatre box. The buttons in jump map will also take the player to the Theatre box.
Alternatively, all the units (both ground and air) in the Theatre Box can be accessed via the Commanders Report (but in this case they will be shown as part of the normal Commanders Report).
13.1.3 Transfers to and from the Theatre Boxes
Many combat units are set to transfer between the boxes and these can be found in the ‘reinforcements and withdrawals’ tab (36.7). These will withdraw on the set turn in the state (especially % TOE) that they are at that stage. If they are very weak, the player runs the risk of losing VP and AP as that Theatre may lack sufficient resources (13.5).
Units are only eligible for voluntary transfer to a Theatre Box if they have been in their current location (map or theatre) for at least one turn and, if on the map, are not in a zone of control, and also must be on a rail hex that is connected to the wider rail net. In addition they must be more than 4 hexes from the nearest enemy unit and have sufficient SMP remaining to both entrain and move a single hex by rail.
It can take one or more turns for a unit to move from the map to a Theatre Box (or vice-versa). Units that arrive on map from the Reserve Box will be deployed as in section 13.2.
In addition, the reinforcement and withdrawal screen shows scripted moves to and from other Theatre Boxes.
Soviet units moved out of the non-reserve Theatre Boxes will arrive around Cherepovets (Northern Front), Moscow (Far East) or near Baku (from the Transcaucasus).
If the player wishes to move a unit from the Map to any Theatre it must have enough SMP to entrain and move at least one hex.
Some units have no SMP (22.4.2) including all Axis units on T1, units that are currently routed and units that have recovered from being routed in the previous logistics phase. Also units in city forts have no SMP (20.6).
13.1.4 Destroyed Units and the National Reserve
For both sides many destroyed units will be placed in the National Reserve to be refitted as the player chooses. The specific rules for the Soviet player can be found in section 27.2.1.
For the Axis player, units that are eligible to be rebuilt (see 25.2.4 for some restrictions) will be placed in the National Reserve after a delay related to the unit size, as:
- Division (including any 1/ breakdowns of the division) = 9 turn delay
- Brigade = 5 turn delay
- Regiment = 3 turn delay
- Battalion or less = 1 turn delay.
13.1.5 Interaction Between Theatre Boxes and the Game Map
Depending on the events that have occurred in the game, certain map regions may become playable (i.e. removed from a Theatre Box) or will be removed from the playing area (i.e. added to a Theatre Box). An example of the first type will be the addition of most of eastern Yugoslavia to the playable map some time after the Soviets occupy Romania. The second type occurs as the Western Allies make progress into Germany in 1945.
If the Soviets have taken key cities in Bavaria, Schleswig- Holstein or Brandenburg map regions then these will not be passed to Western Allied control.
Some of the Western Allied bombing events (40.5) will target cities that are on the map. In this case any flak in the city will be added to the flak already in the relevant theatre box and reduce the damage done to the city.
Isolated units will not be withdrawn from the game map.
13.1.6 Automatically Managing the Theatre Boxes
War in the East 2 can be played by leaving the Theatre Boxes (apart from the National Reserve) as locked. In that case, forces will be moved according to the reinforcement schedule and will change their ToE and/or allocated planes as the game progresses automatically. The units in the theatres will take their share of replacement manpower and equipment.
13.1.7 Morale Adjustments in the Theatre Boxes
All units in TBs gain Die(3) morale up to their NM. In addition, units below their NM, in the reserve box or a TB that has a ground combat intensity of none, will gain die(6) morale up to their NM.
In combination a unit can gain up to 9 morale a turn from these two rolls.
Such units are still subject to other morale adjustments that may offset some or all of the gain (12.1).
13.2 Transfers from the National Reserve Theatre
13.2.1 Ground Units Transfer to and from the National Reserve
The National Reserve (for both sides) is treated as a special Theatre Box where units can train and take on fresh equipment. Units are moved from the Map to the National Reserve using the rules above.
When moving ground units from the Theatre Box to the map they will arrive by default close to Berlin or Moscow.
Alternatively, Axis and Soviet units can be allocated to any on-map hex, currently controlled by the player that was originally of German or Soviet nationality (respectively). In effect, this means that neither side can bring in reinforcements on the other side of the 1941 borders.
In addition, the target hex must be 10 hexes away from any supplied enemy hex and on rail hex or a port that can trace supply normally.
The allocation can be changed as often as desired during the player turn and the unit will be moved in the next friendly logistics phase. Units will arrive at the location hex in use at the time they are ordered to the map so, in theory, every unit could arrive at a different hex. Once ordered to the map, they will be shown in the reinforcement screen with their target hex.
Note that these orders cannot be subsequently cancelled or revised.
The target hex is selected by right clicking on the map and choosing the option ‘Set Reserve TB Arrival Hex’.
Note that the target hex is used to indicate where the reserves should arrive. If there is insufficient stacking capacity in the target hex they will appear as close to that location as possible (along a relevant train line).
13.2.2 Air Units Transfer to and from the National Reserve
Air units move to and from their National Reserve in a slightly different way.
Air units can be assigned to the reserve either by clicking on the individual unit counter or by using the Commander’s Report (35.4).
Air units are removed from the reserve in various ways. This can be done by opening an airbase and allocating the desired air units. This process can also be conducted using the Air Operation Group or Air Command tabs (17.3.1).
In addition, if you are using the Automate AI air assist system (17.1) it will manage transfers to and from the National Reserve as part of the process of allocating your air force (17.1.4).
Movement into and out of the reserve will affect how pilots are allocated (16.7.3).
Changing Unit Status in the Reserve Theatre Box
Units in the Reserve Theatre Box can be set to refit, have their maximum ToE adjusted and swap their type of planes as if they were on the map.
Play Note: This capability is very important as units in REFIT mode in the reserve theatre box will have a priority in the allocation of reinforcements and replacements (26.3.2). Setting only some formations to refit will ensure that replacement equipment and manpower is also available to units on the map.
Units in the national reserve will seek to reduce their actual TOE to the set value immediately in the following logistics phase. Any excess equipment will be returned to the relevant pool. If the unit has at least 80% of its support needs it will retain this regardless of the actual maximum TOE set by the player.
13.3 Active Theatre Boxes
13.3.1 Combat Intensity in the Theatre Boxes
Each Theatre Box has a combat intensity for ground or air operations ranging from none, very low, low, medium, high and very high. These values can be changed by events.
The higher the combat intensity, the greater the losses that units in that Theatre will suffer. Note that even if the combat intensity is set to 0, some attrition related losses will still occur.
In figure 13-4 opposite, for the Soviet Northern Theatre, ground combat intensity is low and air medium.
Thus combat intensity determines the losses that will affect the garrison in each Theatre Box. If you want to check what this means in practice, you can review ground and air losses in the various theatres using the Event Log (36.9).
13.3.2 Required Strength in Each Theatre Box
While combat intensity sets the level of losses in each box, the required strength in each box is set by, and adjusted, by event.
If the requirement is exceeded, it is possible that the player will trigger events granting them addition Administrative and Victory Points as well as delaying progress in that particular campaign (see section 40.3 for an example of what this means in practice). Failure to meet the requirement will see a loss of Administrative and Victory Points and the risk that a particular campaign will move more quickly (so, for example, the Axis player might lose North Africa before the historical date).
Note that it is possible to both gain and lose VP for a given Theatre in a particular turn as the routine checks for air, naval and ground allocations separately.
If the Enhanced Player TB Control game option is off, then the player cannot directly influence this apart from ensuring that there are enough resources (manpower, guns etc.) to replace losses in the Theatres. If the game option is on, this can be influenced by moving units into or out of the relevant Theatre (in addition scripted reinforcements and redeployments will still happen).
13.3.3 Unit Management in Non-Reserve Theatre Boxes
In these boxes, there are restrictions on the actions available:
Players cannot change the Max TOE of these units.
Units are automatically moved in and out of refit status based on their % of TOE. When under 65% of TOE, they are put in refit automatically during the logistics phase, and then removed (potentially during the same logistics phase) when the unit has gone over 65% of TOE. Players cannot change the refit status of these units.
If the unit exceeds 100% of its TOE then it will send any excess elements back to the active pool.
Players may not change the supply priority of these units. Supply priority of these units is automatically set to 4 with these exceptions for some Axis units:
- Units in the North Africa and Soviet Union Garrison theatre boxes are set to 3 at all times.
- Units in the Italian, Balkans, and Western Europe theatre boxes are set to 3 once Italy has surrendered.
Units in Western Europe theatre box are set to 4 from 1 September 1944 to 31 December 1944, and then back to 3 in 1945.
If a unit has no set withdrawal dates it can be transferred from the map (or the national reserve) to a non-reserve TB to boost strength at that location but can’t be subsequently removed unless the options in 13.3.4 have been enabled. Enhanced Player Theatre Box Control allows free movement (up to certain limits) between theatres and between theatres and the map.
Units cannot be ordered to move from the map to another Theatre Box (apart from the reserve) if they have a future scheduled transfer.
Air units in the non-reserve theatre boxes will be set to automatic upgrades.
13.3.4 Enhanced Player Theatre Box Control
If the player(s) opt to allow manual management of the non-reserve theatre boxes many of the rules above are modified.
However, the supply priority and maximum ToE of units in Theatre Boxes cannot be modified and the player still has no control over the units placed on refit.
Units may be ordered to move from the map or the reserve to a TB, and units may be ordered to move out of a non-reserve TB as long as removing the unit will not leave a garrison requirement below 90% of the requirement (one of the sub-categories that the unit is contributing to). If the Theatre is below 90% all the remaining units will have an orange band indicating that no more transfers are allowed.
When a unit is ordered to move to or from a non-reserve garrison box, that unit will lose all future TB withdrawal data (i.e. if had been scheduled to move to another TB or the map later in the game it will no longer do so). In addition, if this option is selected then any unit can have its future scripted transfers removed.
Units that are locked cannot be moved in any situation.
Note that by default, using the enhanced control option does not actually eliminate future scripted transfers. These will happen as set out on the reinforcement chart unless they are specifically canceled.
Note this may cause problems later in a game as it is likely the later transfers were in place to meet changing garrison requirements in the target Theatre. Players will need to remember to identify a substitute formation or suddenly face a short fall in that Theatre with possible losses of victory and administrative points as well as adverse events.
Future unit transfers (i.e. not those currently in process) can be canceled in one of two ways. The easiest is to open the reinforcement screen, find the unit and delete the transfer. The alternative is to delete the transfer using the unit counter but this is not available if the unit has scripted transfers later in the game .
Note that regardless of whether this option is selected or not, a player can always choose to voluntarily send extra units to a given Theatre.
13.3.5 Limits on Units with Withdrawal Dates
If the enhanced theatre box management option is not selected there are a number of limits on the actions available to units with a withdrawal date. Note that some units will withdraw and then return to the map at a later stage, these restrictions will then not apply at that later stage.
Units with a withdrawal date cannot:
- Be merged to bring another combat unit up to strength (21.10.2).
- Be used to construct a Soviet division (using rifle brigades – 27.5.4) or a Soviet Corps formation (27.5.5)
- Be set to static mode (21.8).
- Be voluntarily disbanded (21.10.1).
- Be sent to another Theatre Box.
13.3.6 Limits on Allocations to Some Theatre Boxes
Even if the players are using the enhanced control option there are some constraints as to which units can be sent to certain Theatres.
Hungarian, Rumanian and Slovakian forces limited to:
- Axis Reserves
- Soviet Union Garrison.
Finnish forces limited to:
- Axis Reserves
- Finland (note that this restriction does not apply to any Finnish units released to the map if the Axis player captures Leningrad, see 40.1 for details).
Italian forces limited to:
- Axis Reserves
- Soviet Union Garrison
- Western Europe.
13.3.7 Disbanding Units in Theatre Boxes
The rules for this vary according to whether the Enhanced control option has been selected or not. If it is in use, then a unit can be disbanded from any Theatre if the:
- Unit is not locked
- Unit is not a high command or air command HQ
- Disbanding unit will not reduce a garrison requirement it contributes to below 90%
If the enhanced control option is not in use, then disbands can only happen if the:
- Unit is in the Reserve TB
- Unit has no withdrawal/transfer data
- Unit is not a high command or air command HQ
13.4 The Partisan War Theatre Boxes
The Partisan war in the Soviet Union and Balkans is conducted within two Theatre Boxes.
13.4.1 The Balkans
The Balkans box is treated as a normal off-map Theatre Box but if the Soviets capture Romania then the eastern portion will be allocated to the map enabling movement in the Belgrade region (to simulate the late war fighting).
This theatre is handled by setting a varying garrison requirement and combat intensity. Failure to meet the garrison may cost the Axis player victory and administrative points and may lead to more rapid collapse of the Axis position in SE Europe.
13.4.2 The Soviet Union
The Soviet Union Garrison box simulates the partisan war. Axis anti-partisan and security forces are allocated to the box according to the usual transfer of units to and from the game map. If the Theatre Boxes are made fully playable then the Axis player can remove these units.
The partisan war is modelled in three ways. First the Axis garrison requirement will vary over time and second the intensity of combat (thus generating losses for the Axis forces) will vary.
Finally, the partisan war will create low levels of interdiction in regions occupied by the Germans. Some of this will last most of the war but sometimes it will reflect short lived Soviet partisan offensives in particular regions undertaken in conjunction with Red Army offensives. The amount of interdiction caused will be impacted by how well the Axis forces are meeting or exceeding the garrison requirement.
Since any interdiction stops Administrative Movement (22.2.1), the effect will be to raise the cost of moving German units and supplies.
The event system in WiTE2 is used to reflect actions that affect the various Theatre Boxes and to enable the use of situational criteria to trigger on map actions. In addition, the event system is used to transfer units between or in/out of the various theatre boxes and the game map.
Some events are just for information but most reflect the ebb and flow of the war in North Africa, Italy and then in France. In addition, the impact of strategic bombing by the Western Allies is simulated this way.
Each of these campaigns has a series of events that reflect major offensives or the opening of new active fronts. The event system is designed so that if the Allies make more progress in say North Africa (either by random chance or the Axis player removing units) then the later events in Italy will also be advanced. Equally delaying the Allies in North Africa will delay Italian surrender. The events related to shortages or excess of forces in a theatre affect the later events. Each air or naval gain or loss will move the timeline by 1 day (in the appropriate direction), each land gain or loss will move the timeline by between 4 and 7 days.
The event system is also used to add or remove extra Victory Points and Administrative Points if the garrison in a given Theatre Box is over or under that required.
A full list of events and the various linked campaigns is in Appendix K. While most have some impact on the war (not least by the loss or gain or victory points), those listed in sections 40.12 and 40.15 have a very direct bearing as they award extra manpower or administrative points to reflect large scale shifts in mobilisation for the two sides.