Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


Stand alone boardgames

An early game collapse!

I put out Bulge 1944 by Worthington Publishings, intending to do a write up of the full battle ….. however!

On turn 1, the Germans got a breakthrough at Clervaux. 2nd Panzer Division and Lehr worked together to then clear the road ahead and take Bastogne. This just didn’t feel right really, a bit ‘un-Bulge like’, for me, but before dismissing it as looking unlikely, I will do some reading on the campaign and see what the likelihood is of such a thing.

In this picture, you can see that finger of German advance having reached Bastogne.

Anyway, this just set the problem for the Allies, with Bastogne, a major road hub taken and the centre now wide open, the Germans were able to push deep into Allied territory.

By turn 3, the Allies had managed to close off the Meuse from Huy to Liege, but Lehr simply turned northwards and crossed the Meuse at the undefended Namur, gaining a Sudden Death victory. All rather unsatisfactory really.

Now, my friend played the same scenario over the last few days and he got to the last turn and had to settle on a draw, following a very tight game throughout. That would be the sort of game that I would want.

Other gamers have reported that the Germans can win too early and so the designer changed the timetable of some of the Allied reinforcements and entry points, which people seem to acknowledge dampens down the German drive.

I think I will be inclined to implement those changes in full in future (today, I just allowed the 101 to come on a turn early). This means 7th & 10th Armored Divisions to be broken down and allowing one of their respective combat teams to enter the game early, as a sort of lead element of the Division.

I like the game and the game play, but I want a bit more history than this, I want both players to feel the strains and stresses that a Bulge game should deliver. It is really surprising that a game got through development to print and then needed order-of-battle amendments for both play balance and the sake of the history.


This is the mini game from Decision Games. It went through a play through today. The best French strategy is to try and surround the chateau before attacking.

There are victory points for the Chateau and also for the high ground behind the chateau. If the French surround the place, they put pressure on both those victory locations and it is difficult for the Allies to respond to both locations.

Here the French have managed to get behind the Allied line (bottom left) and are threatening the VP hexes on the high ground. There are 4 VP hexes in the high ground, the two Allied units are sitting on two of them.

By the end of play, the French had won a pretty convincing victory. I need to play this a few more times to see how the Allies can better their chances as this was too one sided. 

A couple of questions have been fired off to the company due to a couple of ambiguities, which depending how the answers go, may help the Allies.

Antietam - White Dog Games

Part of White Dog’s introductory series, which at their core have just four pages of rules.

This is a 16 turn game, but in any one turn, the Union can only activate two of their Corps (plus cavalry) and the Confederates are largely defending and don’t need to manoeuvre too much and so this moves along at a good rate, that makes it suitable for single session gaming.

The map is particularly nice, having a painterly feel to it.

I have put some observations up on the blog, together with a play-through of turn 1. LINK


Sub titled ‘The Most Terrible Battle’, Borodino 1812 from White Dog Games comes in at just 4 pages of rules.

The armies set up opposite each other, with little room to manoeuvre, other than to just assault straight ahead and so this becomes a game of attrition just as with the original battle.

Victory is gained by taking geographic position on the battlefield. Getting the frontline defences of the Grand Redoubt, Semenovskie Fletches and Utitsa bring the French close to a tactical win. To get a bigger victory, they must break through those defences and capture the various villages beyond …. All easier said than done!

In this photograph covering the upper part of the map, the French (blue) have been fighting for the Grand Redoubt and have just reached a point where they need to pause as too many of their formations have become dsordered.