Ardennes ’44. What took me so long?

So we are taking a break from WW3, as the butt hurt got too bad, and my pride needed a salve. So Steve was gracious enough to play a game I have waited a long time to learn. It ends up that the game is very simple to learn with a knowledge partner…but I guess that is true for any game.

The downside of the Simonitch approach to games for me is the exception based mindset. The history lesson is deep of course but the impact means that the bones of the system have to accommodate exception to allow for this whacky set of circumstances. Yes, whacky. Because no sane man would have launched this attack.

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Thus we use one of two or three movement types and recall the extra movement points for one type versus another, and then account for which benefits accrue to what colored square on the counters for attack and defense.

The game really does a superb job of distilling this down into consumable chunks, and leverages the art work (Simonitch’s artistic sensibility shines thru all of the game), and graphical clarity in the main.

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Thankfully most of the exceptions are captured on tables and charts, which are easily read (mores the pity tho as the box comes with just one copy of the charts).

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I already like the CRT much more than Caucasus campaign. The prohibition of 15 combat factors maximum for the Germans in a given attack seems lop sided and is now mitigated by a FAQ based optional rule. With that rule in effect many attacks would never get beyond 3:1 driving the Germans to the why fricken bother stage pretty quickly. We opt to use the optional rule and allow a greater # of factors but ensure that the 2 division per attack rule is strictly enforced. The game feels similar to Panzers in the Ardennes with more fluid ZOCs.

The Prelude:

Opening positions are important in this game. With very low movement rates and sneaky Tac Moves, the Germans must capitalize on Turn1 to have a chance. So Steve has thoughtfully placed his units for the opening attack.

Opening attacks South:

Echternach 12 v 4 = 3:1 DR2

Berdorf is attacked for a 3:1 DR3… so begins the battle of the bulge.

From Berdorf to Diekirch the Allies are punched about:

Krutchen Fire Fight for the 382/915 scores an A1/D1, then Hosingen a DR2 and finally in the center a reprieve! As you can see from the image below the River line is rapidly punctured, and Infantry units stream across. The application of bonding ZOCs and a tactical movement is an unusual beast that s going to take some getting used to.

But first the Northern flank, Krewinkel is a 6:1 and the 14th Cav survives but it’s a Firefight! A1/D1 they die gloriously. In Murringen the Allies retreat 2. Here in the North the Allies hang tough, with not much effort going on until the Panzers roll Turn2.

In Marnach the Allies are usually swamped and this opens the road to Clervaux, forcing a lone tank force to attempt to hold this critical junction.

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But not this time.

The men earn an Engage result….we buy a turn of good fortune for $3.99!

Lutzkampen a DR4 occurs breaking the unit and we retreat him back to Weiswampach. Other units retreat to Heinershied, that is the old stomping grounds of the TCS classic Bulge tactical game which explores the 29th ID’s adventures during this time.

Final locations. The Traffic jams are a neat idea. Easily applied and cleverly managed. I really like the concept. More carefully placed are roadblocks is done below.

German progress as at the end of Turn 1. German units are poised to leap across the bridges they built and exploit West towards Bastogne, while South and North avenues also offer fertile grounds.

More Soon.

3 thoughts on “Ardennes ’44. What took me so long?

    • Carrick – Hard say I’m not a huge fan of Ardennes and have played a lot of older stuff. Funnily enough I like AH The Bulge. I enjoyed SCS Bastogne [smaller action], I found Bitterwoods requires..mandates certain moves at the open…it feels like a tourney play game. Dead sexy but scripted to get history. A’44 is new to me. iron tide is excellent but get bogged down easily and feels a bit dated with the VitW system. I eagerly await playing of Ardennes (John Butterfield), seeing great reports from guys I trust.

  1. I really enjoyed following this game. Excellent graphics. This makes me want to take another look at this game. Thanks.

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