Enemy Action: Ardennes


Enemy Action: Ardennes is on the table. It’s designed by John Butterfield, published by Compass Games, and gives you three Battle of the Bulge games in one box: Two player, German solitaire, and Allied solitaire. It uses four km hexes, turns of a day, and units at the regiment/brigade level.


I am starting off with the two player game as that is the recommendation. Each game uses a different map, with the same terrain covered, but different sets of symbols used as part of the card driven artificial intelligence in the solitaire games. The cards are also used in the two player game, offering unit activations, reinforcements, events, and tactics. There are many innovations on show here, but one that stands out is the absence of a combat results table. All combat is resolved by drawing chits from a pool, and applying them according to circumstances. For example, one chit might apply if the attack is at greater than 2:1 odds. Another chit might apply if the attacker has air support. And so on.

The components look beautiful, though there’s a let down because of some minor errata for the map and cards. One day, game companies will master the art of quality control.

I have set up the game, read the rules once, and am now rereading them for comprehension.

John Butterfield’s previous designs have been favorites of mine, and I do not expect to be disappointed here. The fact that this is apparently the first of a series of games with a similar approach is a mouthwatering prospect. I’ll post some more after playing the game.