July 17, 2024

Unboxing Battle of the Bulge from Compass Games

Billy Riley, 20 August 2020 ~ #UnboxingDay

One of my favourite battles of WWII! An interesting operation from the Germans – arguably always doomed to failure with far-reaching objectives – but caught the somewhat-unsuspecting Allies asleep at the wheel.

It required some extremely fast mobility of units – completely unprepared for the onslaught or the weather – and the re-focussing of several armies to stem the tide of the German advance, though it had started to falter.
I’ve read a few books on the subject but age and drinking has taken it’s toll on my memory so every time I read about it it’s a new battle.

Anyway – I found this little gem. Watched some videos and read some very pleasing reviews of the game so thought it should be in my collection. It’s not normally my scale – but it looked like a fairly fast paced, easy to play gem.


Typical Compass Games box art

click images to enlarge


A pleasant addition was a set of baggies. Can’t get enough of these really



Counters used to display areas of control on the map. It also has square blocks used to mark activated units.



Another thing you can’t have enough of – 10 sided die – and plenty of them



The manual is good quality – as usual from Compass Games – and is of fairly thick semi-gloss paper. It’s 20 pages front to back with about 11 pages of actual rules.



An example of the rules. I’ve had an initial read through the rules and they’re pretty simple – as I would’ve expected from what I had read about the game…it’s not overly complicated. It’s got plenty of picture examples that are not just helpful but break up the dreaded walls of text that some games provide in their rules.

Unfortunately, neither the manual or the Sequence of Play or even the Play Sequence Example make it very clear exactly what happens in the sequence of play. I did give it a quick read through so perhaps it will be clearer on a re-read.


There are 2 double sided Player Aid cards – for 2 players


As I said earlier – it’s not totally clear what a sequence of play consists of – mainly because it’s the same font type as Special Rules, Date Conventions, unit elements, Movement, Combat etc…I’m assuming both sides are the full sequence of play…personally though I think the Sequence of Play text should be of a larger font to show the sub-sections of that Sequence of Play.

It’s just not clear to me and I will have to read through the rules again to make sure I understand what a Sequence of Play consists of.



This one is a Sequence of Play example – and again, it’s not clear. It mentions nothing about combat or movement – where exactly do they take place in the Sequence of Play?



This is the Allied Order of Battle card you can use to organise your units



And this is the German OOB card



This is Counter Sheet 1 containing (mostly) German units



This is Counter Sheet 2 containing (mostly) Allied units.

It’s worth pointing out that the counters are of thick card stock and pre rounded and good quality



And last but not least – the map board. It’s a cracking looking board and mounted too.


Again – not normally my style (area controlled and large scale units) but the game had excellent reviews.

Whilst the Sequence of Play seems a tad confusing, I have no doubt, given what I’ve read about this game, that it will all fall into place with a decent read of the manual.

I hope you enjoyed this and I look forward to taking it to the table at some point in the future.

Thanks for joining the Armchair Dragoons for this month’s #UnboxingDay and we hope you enjoyed the regiment inspecting their new games.
You can always leave us your feedback in our discussion forum, or in the comment area below.
The regiment also occasionally musters on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and occasionally at a convention near you.

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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