Tag Archives: German

Spoiled Victory Dunkirk 1940 Review

Spoiled Victory Dunkirk 1940

A Spoiled Victory: Dunkirk 1940 is a solitaire game on the Allied rescue operation from May 27 to June 4th of 1940. Approximately 400,000 men from the Allied forces of Belgium, France, and England were surrounded in the area of Dunkirk by German forces. England launched Operation Dynamo with the hopes of rescuing 30,000. Instead they rescued 330,000. In this game, the player controls the Allied forces and must try to recreate the historical result.

The game uses Event cards to define the conditions for each turn. These cards dictate where the Luftwaffe will strike, how many units can evacuate, the German army movement, and the number of player actions.

The game uses a point-to-point map. The Allies can move between any two connected points but the Germans can only move on set tracks. As the player moves the Allied forces to the beach, they are converted to evacuee units, which can then sail to England. But even then they can be subject to artillery or Luftwaffe strikes until they arrive safely in England.

The game is scored by calculating the total number of evacuees rescued and earning victory points as a result. The historical result or better wins the game.

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Obbedisco! (Video Review)


The campaign of Bezzeca was a daring mountain warfare campaign, waged by Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi.
He led his group of volunteers, the ” Corpo Volontari Italiani,” against Austrian General Kuhn’s forces in Trentino.
Garibaldi’s Red Shirts were stopped only by the end of the hostilities between the two states, and the General’s famous reply to the King’s telegram ordering the immediate end to military operations, a terse and concise “Obbedisco” (I obey).
This operational level game uses a Chit drawing activation method to create uncertainty in initiative and a combat system that stresses fatigue over real casualties. Obbedisco! include variable movement of units, leader initiatives, morale, force march, fortifications, supply, etc.

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Mercury Market Garden (Video Review)


The Battle Command Series are quick playing games with large 7/8″ counters, a double sided map board, rules, and dice. Each battle has 4 pages of rules. Units are rated for their strength and movement, as well an endurance rating that reflect how much damage a unit can sustain in combat. Each battle includes 2 scenario’s, one for the complete campaign, and one for a shorter scenario.

~ Worthington Games

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Bomber Command (A Written Review)

Left Hand Reviews: Bomber Command
Designer: Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
GMT Games

In an effort to cripple the German war machine and bring the 3rd Reich to its knees, the British Royal Air Force conducted countless night raids in the late stages of the war, 1943-1945. The targets included military manufacturing facilities, populated cities, as well as critical supply routes. Despite the extraordinarily high mortality rate of the bomber squadrons, they continued to fight bravely and eventually succeeded in forcing the German High Command to shift to the defensive.

Bomber Command is a tactical wargame in which one player will control the British bombers, attempting to take out key objectives, while the other play represents the German night fighters and flak batteries desperately trying to infiltrate the Allied bomber squadrons and prevent the destruction of not only brick and mortar targets but the morale of the people as well.

I.                    COMPONENTS

I was excited when this game arrived on my front porch. Upon picking it up and feeling the heft I knew I was going to have a good time. The cover art on the standard size GMT box excellently depicts how tense and deadly these bombing raids really were. Upon opening the box, you are greeted with a ton of great components:

  • One 8.5″ x 11″ Play Aid Card (2-sided)
  • One 8.5″ x 11″ Bombing Card (2-sided)
  • One 8.5″ x 11″ Pad of Planning Maps (2-sided)
  • One sheet of 5/8″ counters & markers
  • One sheet of 1/2″ counters & markers
  • Four 8.5″ x 11″ City Map Sheets
  • One deck of 55 British cards
  • One deck of 55 German cards
  • Two six-sided dice
  • One Rule book
  • One Play book
  • Two 22″ x 34″ maps

A key mechanic of this game is the British player secretly mapping their bombing run on a blank map (which is a smaller representation of the full size maps). GMT’s inclusion of a pad of these blank maps, rather than one that you need to photocopy, is a very nice touch.


The player aid cards are a thick cardstock that will definitely stand the test of time. Each deck of cards has 55 cards and unique artwork on their backs. The faces of the cards are what you have come to expect of GMT: A clean utilitarian layout with historical images and a caption explaining them.

The maps, oh the maps. They are each 22”x 34” with a large dark gray hex-grid overlaid on a sinister black background. Area boundaries, airfields, cities, and other point of interest provide splashes or color that contrast perfectly with the otherwise dark map. There are also necessary tracks to manage the turn, victory points, visibility, jamming level, etc as well as boxes for the raids, bombers, and fighters. Each map corresponds to one of the 2 scenarios included in the game.


 II.                  GAMEPLAY

There are slight gameplay differences between the two scenarios, so in this section, I want to give you a good idea of the general flow of play, rather than a strict rules overview.

Game setup begins with the British player randomly selecting their target(s) for the bombing run. Then they will take one of the blank maps from the included pad, and plot their raids. The British player must plot their Main raid or course, but can also include mosquito raids, decoy raids, and even garden (mine sweeping) raids. The German player will have no idea how the British player is setting up their raids or the flight path of them. This alone not only allows for countless replay ability, but also a very high level of tension as the British player is attempting to elude the German night fighters as long as possible. After determining the weather, visibility, and participating fighters, players will then draw 8 cards from their respective deck, and keep 5 (hand limit).

Sequence of Play:

Draw Cards: Player draw up to 3 cards into their hand, not exceeding the 5 card hand limit. This is of course skipped for the first turn of the game. Cards can be played at any time during the game and provide a multitude of different effects such as adding additional night fighters to the map, modifying die rolls, and canceling your opponents events.


Fighters Move: The German player can now maneuver their fighter units around the map. Both the twin engine and single engine units are able to move 2 hexes unless they were scrambled, in which case they can move up to 1, and scrambled markers are removed. Fighters also have to manage their finite supply of fuel, so fuel markers are reduced now as well. When they run out of fuel, fighters have to return to their airfields to recover.

Scramble: The German player placed new night fighter units on the map in their designated airfields, marking the twin engine units with scramble markers. Single engine fighters can immediately move one hex though. There were often times in which in the scrambling units never even made it off the ground. The account for this, the German players rolls 2 dice and consults the scramble table to determine losses.

Raids Move: In general, raids are not marked on the map. They are assumed to move 2 hexes per turn as plotted on the British player’s planning map. It is possible that in the previous turn, the raid was detected, so in this phase, the raid counters are once again removed from the map. The German player is allowed to place mnemonic counters to help him remember where it was detected though. If/When the raid makes it to a target city, a Bomb Drop marker is placed. Any night fighter units in the hex at that time can also make “Wild Boar” attacks against the raid. The bombers are also subjected to city flak at this time as well. The player will roll on various combat tables to resolve the attacks, bombing, and flak.

Raid Detection: The German player will roll dice and compare to the current jamming level in an attempt to detect the British raids. If detected, Raid counters are placed on the map to indicate their current location.

Tame Boar: Tame Boar was a term given to a German night fighter unit that was able to secretly infiltrate the British bombing raids and pick off units from within. Bomber Command manages this allowing the German player to roll against the infiltration value of the jamming track. This can generally only be attempted when night fighters are in the same hex or sometimes adjacent, to a detected raid. Tame Boar attacks are then resolved.

Deployment: Night fighters are able to be stacked on cities or beacons that occupy their current hex. The German player also has the ability to place GCI (ground control intercept) markers on units in specific (Himmelbett) hexes. These GCI markers will force the British player to reveal the location of the raid if they travel over an active Himmelbett hex.

Recovery: The recovery phase is somewhat of a housekeeping phase. It allows German fighters to return to their airfields to rearm and refuel. They must also roll against the recover table, cross referencing with the weather, in order to determine night fighter losses.

Bombing: Bombing is resolved in hexes in which there is a bombing marker. This is how the British player scores VPs. Each city on the map will have a letter that corresponds to one of the 4 generic city map sheets comprised of the following points of interest: City Centre, Residential, Industrial, and Transport. When bombing is occurring, the appropriate city map is selected and bombing is resolved on this map. This is a core focus of the game and hence, is quite complex. In general though, the British player is going to choose where to bomb by placing target indicators and resolve bombing, taking into consideration the weather and accuracy. The German player also has a hand in determining the Bombing Error.  After bombing, High Explosive and Incendiary counters in the same hex can be turned into Major Fires, causing even more devastation to the German target city.

End Phase: The standard housekeeping phase of flipping necessary markers and advancing on the turn track.


 III.                GAME END

The game ends when all raids have exited the map and recovered. Victory points are tallied up and the winner determined. The British player earns victory points in many ways including successful bombing of the main target, Mosquito bombing raids, gardening raids, etc. The German player has the opportunity to earn VPs by destroying enemy bombers. The German VPs are subtracted from the British VPs and the Victory table corresponding to the current scenario is consulted to determine the victor.

IV.                CONCLUSION

Despite being in of the more complicated games in my collection, Bomber Command is also one of the most rewarding. It creates a sense of tension so thick you can almost see it. The British player is trying to outsmart the German play with cleverly plotted raids and decoys, while the German player is almost frantically trying to locate the raid take out as many bombers as possible even though they know the bombing of their cities is imminent.

Yay: The German player is filled with a sense of doom throughout the game, knowing they are the underdogs, as the British hurl countless bombers at their cities. But on the flip side, when a Tame Boar is able to infiltrate the bomber stream, you feel helpless as your bombers are picked off. Then of course you throw in the cards which add another level of uncertainty and tension. You never know what cards your opponent is holding onto.

Nay: While the game provides a lot of player interaction and tension, there are a couple aspects that I did not like: Downtime and Abstraction. Like many wargames, there is a fair amount of downtime between player turns, especially since players are trying to analyze each other’s prospective future movements and actions. I wouldn’t say it is overly excessive, but I did find some games running a fair amount beyond the 2 hour time estimate. Abstraction: the bane of wargames. I know it is a necessary evil in many games and Bomber Command is no different. The designer made a great choice is having separate city maps for resolving the bombing, but there are still a lot of tables to consult when determining misc losses.

Overall though, the “Nays” are merely small detractors to an otherwise excellent game. Honestly, the biggest challenge for me is finding players, due to the significant time commitment necessary to learn the rules and play several learning games. And that is not even taking into consideration the advanced rule set! If you are a fan of wargames, particularly those centering on air combat, I highly recommend you give Bomber Command a try. It is tense, provide asymmetrical play, and a ton of replayability despite only having 2 scenarios.

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Ardennes ’44 (A Video Review)

December 16, 1944
After a period of fog, rain, and snow blankets the area, three German armies unleash 26 divisions against thinly held American lines in the Ardennes forest of Belgium and Luxembourg. The objective of the Germans is to push through the Ardennes, then cross the Meuse River and head for Antwerp. Hitler hopes to split the Allied armies apart and smash their vital supply port at Antwerp. Can the Americans stop them?

Historically, the German army trampled the American VIII Corps and penetrated within two miles of the Meuse. The Americans stubbornly fought the Germans at many critical crossroads slowing and then stopping Germany’s elite forces. Historically, the German offensive achieved little except to create a “bulge” in the American line.

Ardennes ’44 explores this fascinating campaign with a detailed order of battle and an extremely accurate Ardennes game map which covers the area from the Our River to the Meuse. Ardennes ’44 covers the period from December 16th to the 26th. Two shorter one-map scenarios are included which cover the initial stages of the German attack. The Ardennes ’44 game system is designed by Mark Simonitch, winner of the CSR James F. Dunnigan Award for Design Elegance and Best WWII Board Game of 2000 for Ukraine ’43.

The result is Ardennes ’44, a game that both the “Bulge enthusiast” and the casual player will enjoy. German attacks follow historical advance routes, and the Bastogne and St. Vith defense perimeters are often as large as they were historically (instead of one big stack of units in the town itself). The Allied player has a chance at holding Elsenborn Ridge and making the Germans pay dearly for the twin villages of Rockerath and Krinkelt. Likewise, the German player has an equal chance of changing history and reaching the Meuse River.

DESIGNER: Mark Simonitch
DEVELOPER: Tony Curtis
ART DIRECTOR: Rodger B. MacGowan
MAP ART: Mark Simonitch
COUNTER ART: Mark Simonitch
PRODUCERS: Gene Billingsley, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan, and Mark Simonitch



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