Axis & Allies: Battle of the Bulge
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Prepare for a major offensive as German tanks thunder into the snow-covered Ardennes forest, opposed only by a few unsuspecting divisions of exhausted American troops! Providing the historical counterpart offered by Axis & Allies: D-Day, Battle of the Bulge challenges players to control territory and contend with supply shortages, while directing infantry, artillery, tanks and aircraft in one of the most decisive conflicts of World War II.
- 1 Game Board
- 157 Combat Unit Playing Pieces
- 135 Plastic Chips
- 110 Supply Tokens
- 36 Front-Line Markers
- 12 Twelve-Sided Dice
- 6 Combat Strips
- 4 Reinforcement Charts
- 1 Victory-Point Marker
- 2 Turn-Order Charts
- 1 Turn Marker
- 1 Rulebook
Average Rating: 4.5 in 1 review
Axis & Allies: Battle of the Bulge (BotB) is the latest in a string of spin-offs from the classic Axis & Allies board game, one of the best-selling and most popular wargames of all time.
But BotB is another beast altogether.
The object of this game is for the Germans to break through the Allied front line and grab as much territory as possible (measured in victory cities) before the steadily growing Allied forces can grind them to a halt and turn them back.
Like A&A: D-Day, this game focuses on a much smaller conflict zone than the original board game. Also like D-Day, the units that enter the conflict at the end of each turn are predetermined (laid out on a chart). But BotB introduces two great new elements - randomized casualties and supplies.
The combat system - the most brilliant innovation of this game - uses 12-sided dice to determine casualties. Once the number of "hits" in a round of combat have been determined, the number showing on the face of the die determines which individual unit has been hit. So unlike A&A, you won't get to sacrifice your infantry units first... you might survive a battle having lost your valuable artillery and tanks instead. The new combat system also allows for retreating: if a unit is hit only once in a single battle, it retreats to an adjacent hex. If it is hit twice, it is destroyed.
The supply system is also very interesting. Not only must you get your units into position to attack and advance, you also must have the supplies to fuel your war. This is a particular problem for the Germans, who hope that as they advance they will seize Allied supply stacks. Without supplies, the huge German war machine will stop dead.
The gaming experience of BotB is very different for the two sides. The German player has a massive army with which to annihilate the initial Allied set up. But the Allies have just enough units to fall back and set up "hard points" around important cities. As the game progresses, the Allies become stronger and stronger, especially when the huge Allied air force enters the game on turn 5. Until you learn the nuances of the game, the Germans will probably dominate, but with patience, BotB reveals itself to be a balanced game.
As for the components: The map artwork is simple but great... the game looks like it takes place in the dead of in winter, and the plastic playing pieces are standard A&A fare with a new unit introduced: the supply truck. Also, the Germans have a new airplane, the Me 109, to replace the traditional Stuka.
BotB is a more than worthy successor in the Axis & Allies line of games and far superior to its sibling (D-Day).