Having played the game a couple of times now I would like to share my first impression on it.
The game comes in a ziplock bag, not the tight squeeze that we see so often, but one with plenty of room.
There's a 22"x17" map done by Mark Mahaffey which shows the cold and wet Ardennes quite well. The hexes are 'soft' bordered, so from a short distance it still looks like a regular map. Very nice!
All the hexes only show one type of terrain, terrain that has its influence on movement and combat.
The 5/8" counters, olive for the Americans, brown for the British, and gray for the Germans are color coded, making the formations easy to recognize. The Action chits are used to activate the formations and are adorned with divisional insignia.
There are a couple of markers for VPs, Action Limits etc. and Tactical chits in white. The counters are not special in any way but do their job well.
On the back of the coversheet is the Celles Player Chart with the various charts and tables. There's a 12 page rulebook that includes the rules, designer and player notes, and the set-up information.
The rules are easy to read and quite clear. Only a few clarifications were needed.
The game is played by the use of Action chits, with each player having his own cup to hold the Action and Tactical chits. Using an initiative dieroll the first player is determined that next draws a chit from his own cup.
If he draws a Tactical chit he can put it aside for later use. These chits represent air power, artillery, extra fuel, and replacements. Drawing an Action chit the player can move and combat with the units that are part of the formation, or use the chit to do this with an individual unit of another formation. The Tactical chits can be used to improve an attack or make an extra move.
All the available chits, as shown on the Allied and German Chits table, go into the cup but each turn will show the Action Limit on the Turn Record Track. So the number of available actions and the chits drawn determine what the players can do. As can be expected, the Germans will have the edge at game start, but a shift towards the Americans starts after turn 3.
Combat is determined by an odds ratio and adding modifiers to the dieroll. Twist is that the number of movement points limit what a unit can do during a turn since these points are also used to determine the extend of the attack. So, a heavy attack by motorized units will cost 9 MPs and a light attack 3.
Both sides will have to decide what their plan is to defeat the enemy's intentions. The Germans need to push their units to the Meuse River while the Americans need to stall the German advance and next inflict heavy losses on the German units.
This is a very nice game, both in execution and system, that will and can be played both ftf and solo. The playtime of around 3 hours makes this a nice evening filler.
I hope to see more titles in the future!