May 18, 2024

#UnboxingDay ~ Smaller than expected General Orders: World War II from Osprey Games

RockyMountainNavy, 16 November 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay

The biggest duo in wargame design right now has to be David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin. Their gaming ludology for the past few years is full of hits; War Chest (AEG, 2018), Undaunted: Normandy (Osprey Games, 2019), Undaunted: North Africa (Osprey Games, 2020), and Undaunted: Stalingrad (Osprey Games, 2022). In 2023 this dynamic design duo has released two new games—Undaunted: Battle of Britain (Osprey Games) and now General Orders: World War II (Osprey Games…yet again).

I’m going to put this right out there and say General Orders: World War II is a war game. Yes, thematically this is a military conflict game against an opponent, but above all else it is a worker placement game.1 More directly, I can tell this is not your usual wargame if for no other reason than the small, oddly sized box. How small? How about ~6.25″ x ~4.25″ x ~3.25″…smaller than even the Undaunted: Normandy box.

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Not your usual wargame box size (photo by RMN)

click images to enlarge

Opening the box for General Orders: World War II one quickly discovers it is full to the top.

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Orders to the top (photo by RMN)


Unlike many GMT Games box inserts, it is also immediately obvious that the box insert for General Orders: World War II forms an acceptable—and usable—storage solution.

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General storage (photo by RMN)


Surprisingly, for such a small box General Orders: World War II packs plenty of content including a mounted map, wooden bits, cards, a small amount of chitboard, dice, and a rulebook.

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Plenty of content in this little war (photo by RMN)


The mounted map board in General Orders: World War II is double sided with the Italian Alpine on one side and a Pacific Beachhead on the other. Beware though; the split-fold board compacts down to a small size factor but it doesn’t lay flat out of the box. It’s not only my copy—I have seen other photos/videos where the board doesn’t lay flat and “bounces” when touched.

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Italy looks so well laid out… (photo by RMN)


Given General Orders: World War II is a two-sided game, the color tokens are different enough from each other but don’t necessarily look like any particular military uniform. Custom dice are also included.

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Side A, Side B (photo by RMN)


It took me a hot moment but I finally realized the maps in General Orders: World War II are done in portrait orientation; i.e. the players sit along the short edge of the maps, which aren’t all that big to begin with.

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A small, narrow beach (photo by RMN)


General Orders: World War II is a war game with cards. Fortunately, I don’t think the artwork is AI here (though it is nicely abstracted). Alex Green is given credit for the illustrations.

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Orderly cards now but shuffled later (photo by RMN)


The rulebook for General Orders: World War II is a short 24 pages and nicely illustrated.

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Colorful orders generally laid out well (photo by RMN)


The real test of General Orders: World War II will, of course, be how well it plays on the table. This “Worker Placement Wargame – Historical” title is rated at 30 minutes playing time. In my book that firmly makes General Orders: World War II a lite, family war game—with the emphasis in this small-box game on light components and rules.

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A lite war game (photo by RMN)


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  1. Per BGG: n. A term used to describe the game mechanic which involves a “token-based, turn-limited, locking action selection menu.” Players, in turn order, place tokens (aka workers) to select various actions presented on a board, cards, tiles, etc. Once an action is selected, it usually cannot be selected again on that round. Often players may think of this as a supervisor deploying workers on various jobs. A very popular game mechanic used in many recent games such as: Agricola, Caylus, Stone Age, Pillars of the Earth, etc.

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