RockyMountainNavy, 18 November 2021 ~ #Unboxing Day!
I recently scored a shrink-ripped but near-mint condition copy of designer John Butterfield’s Enemy Action: Ardennes – The Battle of the Bulge, 1944 (Compass Games, 2015). Going into the deal I knew that Ardennes was a solitaire game, but little did I realize that it is actually two solitaire games AND a competitive two-player. Indeed, Enemy Action: Ardennes is actually three games in one!
Enemy Action: Ardennes comes in a 3-inch deep game box. Seems like overkill for this game; maybe room for expansions?
Enemy Action: Ardennes comes with three rule books. There are rule books for playing the Allied side solo, the German side solo, and the two-player version. While the solo books are very similar the rules for the two different sides are not identical. I wonder why the choice to make three rule books vice a “series” rules with Allied / German solo and two-player annexes. I guess this approach works…
There are three maps in Enemy Action: Ardennes, again one per version. Each map is annotated to match the particular solo side or for use in the two-player version. There are also many player aids with some used only in particular solo or two-player games.
The counters in Enemy Action: Ardennes depict the order of battle at the regimental/battalion level. The chits themselves are of a thinner cardstock that Compass Games is known to use. If past performance is any indication, I will need to be careful punching these out and corner-rounding is almost virtually assured to be a requirement. There is also a deck of 115 cards; going to have to open and see if these will need sleeving or not. Oh yeah, there is one d10 included in the box too.
The game mechanisms in Enemy Action: Ardennes look intriguing. John Butterfield gives us a card-driven game combined with chit-pull action. I’m interested in exploring the core game mechanisms and how they are used amongst the three versions of play.
So where do I start? It seems logical that, being the American I am, my first game of Enemy Action: Ardennes should be played Allied solo. Then again, the back of the box tells me that the Allied Solo version is the MOST complex, with the two-player version being the “standard.” Individual scenarios are supposedly around 2 hours but a 15 hour campaign seems…daunting. Honestly, I am not sure if I will ever get a true two-player version tabled, but then again the solo versions are where this game is supposed to shine!
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