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Subject: Bulge Recommendations rss

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G. Harding Warren
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I have really tried to limit my purchases, but I must face the fact that I simply need a game covering the Battle of the Bulge. Let me know the way to go, when taking into consideration the following:

1. Complexity. Squad Leader is the exception to the rule for me. I like games on the low end of what Avalon Hill used to call "Intermediate" complexity. The Russian Campaign, Anzio (basic game), A Victory Lost, D-Day, Panzergruppe Guderian. You get the idea.

2. Solitaire. I play two player games by myself most of the time. Any mechanic which assists in solitaire play, such as chit pulls or other randomizing turn elements, untried units or what have you is a huge bonus, but by no means necessary.

3. Duration. A four hour game is wonderful. Anything shorter is even better. I don't mind playing scenarios instead of a full campaign (I happen to be a tremendous fan of the GCACW scenarios. Panzerkrieg's short scenarios covering the various battles in the Ukraine are a model, I think).

4. A Certain Preference. I really like Anzio and GCACW. I notice that both put a huge premium on keeping road networks open and functioning. I really like identifying key crossroads, bridges, etc. and figuring out good defenses based upon them. I know that this is a basic thing, and I have a feeling that given the scale, games which deal with the Battle of the Bulge would have to reflect this (indeed, I think that's mainly why I'm drawn to Bulge as a subject), but I must say I would be disappointed if this were not the case.

I am looking hard at Bitter Woods (1st ed), as it can be purchased cheaply. Perhaps the L2 version would be better, but if it's a matter of graphics mainly, the cheap bastard in me will win out. I would also consider AH's Bulge '65 or '81, if they are fun--I played them years ago, but honestly can't remember much about them. And I want to hear about any others, of course. I know there are tons.
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Hunga Dunga
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Take a look at Bastogne: Screaming Eagles under Siege
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Doug Poskitt
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I would take a look at the L2 edition "Deluxe Bitter Woods".

Admittedly, while I have a copy, I have not played it yet. However, I have read through the rules and they do not appear overly complex at all.

This game has many of the key issues you state and - while not your "holy grail" does sport a great map and cool counters. Graphics are very nice. And it can be had for a reasonable price ... either thru' BGG or e-Bay.

Another one I would say to have a look at is "Ardennes '44" by GMT ... maybe a little more complex than Bitter Woods by L2, but has many favourable comments and quite a few respondents cite it's suitability for solitaire play.

As I say, while owning both I have not actually played either. But, when purchasing games on the Battle of the Bulge, these were the two I settled on.

Whatever you eventually choose, hope you enjoy!
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Bitter Woods (fourth edition) is right up your alley - it is the ultimate expression in Avalon Hill style wargames.

I have played it several times - a great wargame.

If you have to own just one, it is the one.
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Alex McCusker
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I think Ardennes '44 (GMT) is the best of the bunch but I think it will be too complicated (actually I'd describe it more as fiddly).

You might like SPI's Ardennes Quad (Battles for the Ardennes). Pretty simple but it does help you to focus on important locations.

Rick Young's Fast Action Battles: Bulge (GMT) is pretty good and quick. However it is a block game which means you lose some of the "fog of war" in a solitaire game. However it is usually pretty obvious what is going on and what units are where, at least initially.
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p55carroll
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If you don't get enough suggestions here, take a gander at this Geeklist of Bulge games.

A new one that's not on the list is Bulge 20. Take a look at that too; it's something different.


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Stephen Harper
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Sounds like you want a game of the entire battle, and, given your comments on complexity and duration, one of these two would suit you:

1) Ardennes from the Gamer's SCS line. It is out of print, but you might find a used copy. Has two maps and a fair amount of counters, which should allow you to fight for the road net, but also has short and simple rules which will keep playing time down to what you desire. And solitaire should not be a problem.

2) FAB Bulge from GMT. A very different and unique approach that in my mind captures the essence of the scenario and is very playable. Even with blocks, can still be played solitaire, and although it is area movement you still find yourself fighting for road junctions and river crossings. Look it up on the GMT website and take a gander at the ruleset.

Many of the other highly esteemed games of the full battle are most likely too complicated and too long, again based upon your criteria.

Special mention must go to the Avalon Hill Battle of the Bulge. This game started me on this hobby, and I remember many late weekend nights in the mid-sixties battling it out for Bastogne and the Oure River. But not recommended in this day and age.
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Judd Vance
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I have the 1965 version of Avalon Hill's version (yes pink/blue). It meets your qualifications: time, complexity, solitaire suitability, and important strategic positions.

I have also played Battles for the Ardennes and One-Page Bulge and I thought Avalon Hill's was better.
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Greg Blanchett
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Given your descriptions, we have similar tastes. My suggestions would be Iron Tide: Panzers in the Ardennes, Bitter Woods (fourth edition), and with a little extra complexity (but great simulation), Ardennes '44. Although OOP, Ardennes is also a relatively simple, good Bulge game.
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Bertrand Russell
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Andrew C
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has great reviews of both Bitter Woods Deluxe and Iron Tide: Panzers in the Ardennes. I think Iron Tide's unknown unit strength would really suit solitaire play. Here's what he says about it:

Quote:

Unknown unit strengths. Each brigade/regiment is rated on morale, A, B, or C. Additionally, each is rated as ‘large’ (denoted by a red square around the letter) or ‘small’ (denoted by blue). The first time a unit enters combat, you draw either a red or blue strength chit, and use the value associated with the letter on the unit. For example, for blue chits, the average strengths are about: A=9, B=6, C=4, whereas for red chits the average values are A=11, B=8, C=7. The strength chits, though, have some significant ranges, so expect to be disappointed (or pleasantly surprised) from time to time. One neat twist is that elite units like the German 1st SS Panzer, or the US 82nd and 101st Airborne, are allowed to pull two chits and keep the higher.
...
Solitaire play. If you’re like me, and solitaire play of two player games is your fate, this one fits the bill nicely. Due to the significant fog-of-war elements, its much easier to play one side the best you can, then flip sides and do it again. Unless you have an amazing memory, you won’t remember the strength of any but a few of your best units. Also, which bridges are successfully blown can have a dramatic impact on the flow of the battle and the Germans line of advance. So, depending on a few die rolls, the German side may find himself redirecting a an entire panzer corps from one axis of advance to another (much as happened in the real battle when tough resistance on the northern shoulder prompted Hitler to shift several panzer divisions south).

...

Iron Tide definitely gets the nod with it's unknown unit strengths versus BW’s chess-like pre-calculation of odds. And in BW, units are more mobile generally and ZOC’s are less sticky. While that gives the BW player more flexibility, I prefer Iron’s Tide’s treatment since, while its possible to change an axis of attack, the armies feel more ponderous, as I believe, they should.



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Leo Zappa
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Bitter Woods is a great choice, and works great as a solitaire game. If you like Anzio and Russian Campaign, Bitter Woods will be right up your alley (and mine as well). [warning - the following can be considered shameless self-promotion] In fact, here is a session report of just such a session that I played a couple of years ago!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/296502/bitter-woods-day-...

I know I had a great deal of fun doing this. Now, I don't know if you are going to get a whole game of BW completed in four hours, but at least for solitaire play, I found that playing an hour here and there over the course of a number of evenings was quite enjoyable - theraputic even!

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Scott Hill
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I have played Panzer grenadiers Battle of the bulge lately and it is pretty good AP as I can see has a good system with that title and the rest of this series (Panzer Grenadier).
 
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Wolfgang Kunz
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beta.lyrae wrote:
Andrew C
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has great reviews of both Bitter Woods Deluxe and Iron Tide: Panzers in the Ardennes. I think Iron Tide's unknown unit strength would really suit solitaire play. Here's what he says about it:



Another vote for these two games - especially Iron Tide should be what you are looking for.
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Gene Baker
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beta.lyrae wrote:
Andrew C
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has great reviews of both Bitter Woods Deluxe and Iron Tide: Panzers in the Ardennes. I think Iron Tide's unknown unit strength would really suit solitaire play. Here's what he says about it:

Quote:

Unknown unit strengths. Each brigade/regiment is rated on morale, A, B, or C. Additionally, each is rated as ‘large’ (denoted by a red square around the letter) or ‘small’ (denoted by blue). The first time a unit enters combat, you draw either a red or blue strength chit, and use the value associated with the letter on the unit. For example, for blue chits, the average strengths are about: A=9, B=6, C=4, whereas for red chits the average values are A=11, B=8, C=7. The strength chits, though, have some significant ranges, so expect to be disappointed (or pleasantly surprised) from time to time. One neat twist is that elite units like the German 1st SS Panzer, or the US 82nd and 101st Airborne, are allowed to pull two chits and keep the higher.
...
Solitaire play. If you’re like me, and solitaire play of two player games is your fate, this one fits the bill nicely. Due to the significant fog-of-war elements, its much easier to play one side the best you can, then flip sides and do it again. Unless you have an amazing memory, you won’t remember the strength of any but a few of your best units. Also, which bridges are successfully blown can have a dramatic impact on the flow of the battle and the Germans line of advance. So, depending on a few die rolls, the German side may find himself redirecting a an entire panzer corps from one axis of advance to another (much as happened in the real battle when tough resistance on the northern shoulder prompted Hitler to shift several panzer divisions south).

...

Iron Tide definitely gets the nod with it's unknown unit strengths versus BW’s chess-like pre-calculation of odds. And in BW, units are more mobile generally and ZOC’s are less sticky. While that gives the BW player more flexibility, I prefer Iron’s Tide’s treatment since, while its possible to change an axis of attack, the armies feel more ponderous, as I believe, they should.


Crud I guess Andrew left BGG? I get profile does not exist.
 
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Jason Roach
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Ardennes '44 is the best Bulge game I have ever played and I think it is the most historical overall. If you want the Bulge, I'd go with it.

However, if you are looking for something with lower complexity that is a bit more balanced, I'd go with Bitter Woods (fourth edition). The rules were very clean in the Lux ver. and it's also better looking, so I'd pass on the older AH copies.


Also, you may want to check out Dark December; It is not the "looker" of the 3 here, and I haven't played it as much as the other two, but a Buddy of mine thinks it is the best Bulge game out there, with A44 a close second. It is not as complex as A44.
 
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G. Harding Warren
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Many, many thanks to all of you. I just knew you all would be a big help.

Regards,
Britt.
 
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Jack
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gbaker59 wrote:
Crud I guess Andrew left BGG? I get profile does not exist.


Try again. He's still here.
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Or, for something completely different, if you can find it - One-Page Bulge.
 
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