[RPG] Looking for a WWII RPG that requires no adaptation/conversion


I am a massive fan of history – particularly the 20th century. Of course, the Second World War is massive and fascinating specter of this era. Are there any pen and paper RPGs based upon this conflict?

I don't want to play a system that I can "adapt" to WWII, as this would take up too much of my already limited time with research. I would also like if the game featured the ability to roleplay the Eastern Front.

If there are fantasy/sci-fi elements, that is fine, but only if they relate directed to the mythologies of the participating ideologies. As in, no external threats to the participating powers of the war, such as Zombies, capricious Gods, etc. But occultic Nazi forces, American super soldiers, or Soviet experimental warfare would all be acceptable as they play into the mythological ideas surrounding the war itself.

Above all, I want a WWII roleplaying game that is ready to go from out of the box. I'd like the campaign setting to be specifically centered upon WWII as a whole. No hours of making up stats and descriptions of era-specific weapons, areas, forces, etc. I'd appreciate if that were included and ready for play right of the box.

Best Answer

I went through a spate of WWII game buying a number of years ago. Here's the ones I own personally. Your requirements haven't actually narrowed it down from "all of them," so here goes.

Behind Enemy Lines - an older classic WWII game; I have both the first version by The Companions and the second version by FASA (1982). The latter is a larger boxed set, very much like adding some light roleplaying to Squad Leader. It is very detailed crunchy rules (there's a table of body thickness per body weight, for example). I have a module for it, Guns of Navarone. Use this if you're mainly wanting a tactical wargame and just want people to do some interstitial roleplay. May be hard to find.

GURPS WWII - I only have some of this massive line. GURPS is a slightly newer but also very crunchy ruleset. The variety of source material available, Eastern and Western front, is huge. Very simulationist. Straight up, no supernatural stuff (though you can certainly add it from the copious other GURPS lines). This is better if you want to be able to have a larger campaign focus than BEL (and/or have a large discretionary RPG budget). Around here you can find sourcebooks for it at Half Price Books pretty readily.

Weird War II - a WWII game that incorporates zombies, werewolves, ghosts, etc. I have the original d20 version; it's also available in a Savage Worlds version and actually a GURPS WWII expansion as well. It was good and had a number of expansion books, including Hell Freezes Over for the Eastern Front. The weird stuff is mostly caused by Nazi occultism and experiments, there's a teutonic rune magic system for example, or is otherwise based on real world myth (gremlins, ghost planes) but it's pretty pervasive. You get your choice of systems, which is nice, and you could certainly just use the core rules and make your own not-supernatural adventures just fine. And d20 or Savage Worlds means more PC survivability than these other games.

GODLIKE - worth mentioning even though it has extrinsic supernatural elements just because it's one of the best game designs of the last decade. Well, ok, 13 years, man the time flies. Uses the One Roll Engine (ORE) and is a super gritty take on WWII where superpowered men have just started to emerge. But it's one talent per person, and a bullet will kill a flying man or invisible man or super-strong man as dead as anyone else. Just a dynamite game.