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Solitaire Suitability: High
In late 1944, in the wake of the allied forces' successful D-Day invasion, it seemed as if WWII was all but over. On December 16, with the onset of winter, the German army launched a surprise counteroffensive through the densely forested Ardennes that was intended to cut through the Allied forces in a manner that would, the Germans hoped, turn the tide of the war in their favor. You can call it Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine"), Bataille des Ardennes ("Battle of the Ardennes"), or the Ardennes Counteroffensive, but it is best known today as the "Battle of the Bulge".
WINTER THUNDER is an operational-level game on this
famous battle. Designer Brian Train has substantially revised and streamlined
his 2004 design, Autumn Mist, incorporating a newly-researched and more
accurate order of battle with revised counter values and reinforcement
schedule. The rules have been cleaned up and include an improved solitaire play
system. There's even a drastically revised map with a different scale and
treatment of terrain.
WINTER THUNDER utilizes the same "nearly
diceless" double-blind mission matrix system from AUTUMN MIST, SUMMER
LIGHTNING, and THE BALKAN GAMBIT. This unique system sets the game apart from
the rest of the pack.
The game includes a campaign game scenario that runs from
December 16 to January 3, a bit longer than many Bulge games, but playing in a
fraction of the usual time—just around 3 hours. There is also a short “Home for
Christmas” scenario which assumes the Germans launch an offensive with more
localized aims and fewer resources.
176 counters to manouevre.
1 striking 22x17-inch map.
1 rulebook to rifle through.
1 Player Aid Card to call in reinforcements.
A non-military issue Ziploc bag to billet your troops.
You’ll need to requisition a ten-sided die from your divisional quartermaster.