May 18, 2024

#UnboxingDay ~ Enemy Action: Kharkov by Compass Games

Billy Riley, 16 February 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay

I have Enemy Action: Ardennes by John Butterfield (I do like his games). But for some reason, I bypassed this one…I can’t recall doing it on purpose, so I’m assuming I didn’t know about it. The Enemy Action series has a lot going for it, if they are anything like as good as Ardennes.

I stumbled on a video of this some time last year and immediately went to my online “go to” store, Second Chance Games in Liverpool. To my dismay it wasn’t in stock – but a pre-order was available, so I jumped in.

It’s a solo game but has a 2 player option also – in other words, there’s effectively 3 games in the box.

I think it’s been about 3 months – and it’s finally here. There’s a lot in the box – so strap yourself in…it may take a while.

Box Art

Germans advancing over the snow…what’s not to get?

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The back shows all the information you need and includes examples of cards, counters and the map.

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click images to enlarge


What’s in the box?

Everything. There is just so much in these games. They’re pricey, but there’s a lot in them – and they’re quality products too.

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Enemy Action:Ardennes Updates

The game includes card updates for the sister game to this. I like when they do this.

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There’s also a sheet with errata for this game.

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Player Cards

This is a card driven game and as such, comes with a considerable number of cards…110 to be precise.

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Here are examples of


Soviet Solo Rule Book

This is a single and 2 player game. In addition, the solo portion can be played as the Soviets or the Germans…so there are 3 manuals in the box. 

These are printed on glossy, sturdy paper…though I think the font is quite small…I don’t remember the font being that small in the Ardennes game.

The Soviet rule book is 44 pages…and there’s a considerable amount of writing.


German Solo Rule Book

This is 52 pages and again – lots of text.


Player Aid Cards

I’m surprised the game needs any rule books considering how much information is on the many player aid cards in the box!

There’s two for the Soviet Solo and German Solo (and they work for the Two Player game also). 

Additionally, on the back of each of them is a terrain chart (you only use one of these cards at a time…so the back of the other is available when playing)

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There are 2 bi-fold Player Aid cards for the Soviet Solo game.


And 2 bi-fold Player Aid cards for the German Solo game


Solo Maps

As mentioned, there are 3 maps in the box. These are the German and Soviet Solo maps. They are standard 22”x34”. They are on quite thick, stiff card. I’m not really a fan…my perplex was struggling to flatten them…I think I preferred the paper ones in the Ardennes game. Having said that, I might eventually prefer these as they do seem hardier.



Given the size of the box and the amount in there, there really aren’t a huge amount of counters…particularly combat counters – 78 Soviet combat counters and 67 German combat counters.


Two Player Rule Book

As mentioned, there’s a separate two player game in here. The rule book is considerably smaller – 28 pages compared to 52 in the German Solo manual and 44 in the Soviet Solo manual…the AI does have considerable work to do in this game which is why the solo rule books are so big in comparison.


Two Player Player Aids

A single bi-fold player aid card 


Two Player Map

This is the same as the others though the orientation is different. I don’t know the reason for that.

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Rule Book Font

As mentioned, the font in this game in the manuals looks small and I couldn’t recall the font in the previous game (Ardennes) being small…and there’s a reason for that – it wasn’t small!!

On the left is the Enemy Action:Ardennes manual and on the right is the Enemy Action:Kharkov manual…there’s a distinct difference and that is a shame. Us old grognards tend to need a helping hand with the font.


And there it is. All the glory that is in this rather expensive box. I remember playing the Ardennes game and it was simply excellent. Difficult – these games (in solo mode at least) do need a lot of manual checking…but iirc the manuals were well written too, which helps with clarifying rules whilst playing.

I have actually decided this is going on my table now. I’ll try and get through the manual and set it up soon after.


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