June 13, 2024

#UnboxingDay – Three times the action in Enemy Action: Ardennes – The Battle of the Bulge, 1944 (Compass Games, 2015)

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?

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Deep box for a deep game? (click images to enlarge)

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…

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Three in one…box

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.

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That’s a lot of printed matter…

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.

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Counters and cards

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.

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Lots of info…

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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