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Digital Subscriptions > The Best Games of 2019 > The Best Games of 2019 > BLITZKRIEG!

BLITZKRIEG!

A quick-witted dice-chucking challenge remains fun to play

BLITZKRIEG!

A quick-witted dice-chucking challenge remains fun to play

World War Two in 20 Minutes” seems like an awfully ambitious tagline for a game. But Blitzkrieg!, the latest release from Libertalia designer Paolo Mori, attempts to pull it off. The result is a slick and surprisingly rich offering that crams a globe-spanning, century-defining conflict into about as much time as it takes to make and eat a sandwich.

The game hands players command of allied and axis forces fighting for control of different theatres of conflict around the world, from the bloody beaches of western Europe to the steaming jungles of south east Asia. As the war grinds on, you’ll deploy your land, sea and air forces to various regions to seize control of territories before your opponent manages to grab them.

What makes things tricky is that you’ll never be certain exactly what sort of forces you’ll have at your disposal. With each passing turn you’ll draw a succession of chips from a cloth bag representing different units. Army tokens can take control of land spaces, navy tokens can occupy the seas, while air squadrons are more flexible, able to be dispatched to any type of terrain. But with your units jumbled up in your bag, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have access to the ones you need at any given time, forcing you to fight as well as you can with the troops you have at hand.

It forces players to react to unpredictable and rapidly fluctuating circumstances, but while the heart of Blitzkrieg! lies in deciding how best to use your tanks, ships and planes, there are some other important elements to consider as you play.

different territories come with an array of useful bonuses for their controllers. Some let you mount bombing raids which wipe out your enemy’s units before they’re able to enter the fray. Others let you draw additional chips, giving you a wider selection of forces to choose from. And some allow you to add special tokens to your bag representing spies, scientists and powerful advanced regiments, all of which can help edge you closer to victory.

It means that sometimes you’ll consider throwing units into fights you can’t hope to win, purely to secure bonuses which are vital to your strategy. While your turns are always quick and simple, they require real thought, and it’s crucial to work out which regions to aggressively fight for and which you can afford to let go.

The result is a tight, taxing and cerebral back-and-forth battle. It’s undeniably abstract, but here that almost becomes a statement in itself. In this top-down view of conflict, there’s no room to consider individual sacrifice, suffering or heroism. The human toll of war – the shattered lives and burnedout cities – fades into the background. Soldiers, sailors and air crew become anonymous resources thrown at the objectives which you as their commander have decided are necessary to victory. In that, Blitzkrieg! captures a fundamental truth about armed conflict that’s absent from many far more nuanced and detailed simulations.

OWEN DUFFY

WE SAY

Unlikely as it seems, Blitzkrieg! really does manage to cram a meaningful Second World War game into around 20 minutes. It unavoidably sacrifices thematic realism in favour of speed and simplicity, but it still presents plenty of hard choices and opportunities for strategic master strokes.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

► 5 symbol dice

► 4 double-sided player boards

► 4 dry-erase markets

► 12 shapescoring tiles

► Sand timer

TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED… TWILIGHT STRUGGLE

Like the lauded two-player Cold War game, Blitzkrieg is all about judiciously taking control of different regions and attempting to turn the tide of conflict in your favour. Here, though, it’s condensed into a fifth of the playing time.

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About The Best Games of 2019

Must Plays and more in our Best Games of 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Over the next 196 pages discover all of the most positively reviewed games of the year. With a massive 181 games reviewed, this is the definitive “what to play next” guide of 2019! Games reviewed include: Wingspan Copenhagen Hellboy: The Board Game Res Arcana Lifeform Century: A New World Megacity: Oceania Pandemic: Fall of Rome Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Rough Nights & Hard Days Azul: Stained Glass of Sinatra Tapestry Letter Jam Hako Onna Everdell Battle Ravens Dune + Many more!

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