Game Spotlights

Published: January 4, 2022


Third World War: Designer Signature Edition

Public Domain photos, & CC BY-SA 3.0 / Unknown / Iranian soldier wearing a gas mask during the Iran-Iraq War.

The Third World War: Designer Signature Edition, marks one of the largest and ambitious game undertakings to date. It covers not one but four true wargaming classics by Frank Chadwick—faithfully remastered and updated. Hailed by many as one of the finest and most playable game series covering the NATO and Warsaw Pact, Third World War brings together all four games into one comprehensive package.

Third World War: Designer Signature Edition

This Designer Signature edition pays tribute to the classic Frank Chadwick game series by honoring the original game system and keeping it fully intact (no design changes made), while introducing many enhancements for gameplay purposes. The project team involved has hundreds of hours of combined experience with all games in the series. They have evaluated all aspects of the game design with a focus on increased playability and improved player aids and markers.


In terms of superior physical presentation, all aspects have been upgraded, including completely new maps, numerous new player aids, markers, and unit displays, and redesigned and enlarged 9/16″ counters.

The new Third World War: Designer Signature Edition is comprised of the following four games:

  • Third World War (subtitled Battle for Germany) is a game of the struggle for central Europe by the forces of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
  • Southern Front: Race for the Turkish Straits adds Bulgaria and Romania, reinforced with three Soviet armies and special-capability forces, face Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia, thinly reinforced with a few elite units from the U.S., France, and Italy.
  • Arctic Front: Battle for Norway covers the Soviet Leningrad Front, with its special airborne, amphibious, and arctic-equipped contingents, assault of Norway, reinforced with a few elite units from the U.S., Britain, Canada, and other NATO nations.
  • Persian Gulf: Battle for the Middle East includes a special game-within-a-game, covering the diplomatic, political, and military maneuvers by the Soviet Union and the United States in the Middle East before – and leading to – the general outbreak of the Third World War.
third world war frank chadwick original editions southern front battle germany norway persian gulf
The Third World War original series by Frank Chadwick, from GDW

Some of the enhancements made in this edition include:

  • All four separate games combined into one, comprehensive package
  • Enlarged and redesigned counters from 1/2″ to 9/16″ size
  • Added more information to counters such as: mobility class, stacking value, zoc type, chemical/nuclear/limited military ability
  • Enhanced ergonomics are built into the set up and reinforcement charts
  • Modified and adjusted unit colors to better distinguish between each other and between NATO/Pact/Neutrals
  • Added and modified game markers including Strike markers with values on them, air superiority, weather, objective control, and generic markers
  • Combined the seven maps from Third World War, Southern Front, and Arctic Front into four larger maps (22 x 34″), including adding the remainder of Poland and Western Russia; all while keeping the same area of the original games
  • Combined four maps from Persian Gulf into two larger (22 x 34″) maps
  • Added and modified player aids. New display to aid with handling unwieldy stacks. Use a marker on map to indicate stack of units and put the placement sheet.
  • Warsaw Pact ground unit counters with one step-loss (disruption) on reverse
  • Addition of U.S. F-117 air unit for optional use.  Also retains the U.S. F-19 air unit from the original game
  • Player aid cards and associated markers, for tracking nuclear conflict level and nuclear attack points (NAPs), air transport points, and victory points
  • Markers to indicate Norwegian Sea control and whether the Black Sea Fleet has sortied
  • Optional tactical advantage rule
  • Color-coding on Warsaw Pact ground unit counters for ease in distinguishing army designation
  • Incorporated errata for unit set-up information and reinforcement schedule
  • All-new rules treatment backed by many illustrations, an index, and clarifications and examples of play to reduce potential questions.

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