Review – Blitzkrieg!
|Alan D'Amico, Paolo Mori, Paul Sizer
|PSC Games, Floodgate Games
Blitzkrieg! is touted as a wargame for non-wargamers. In it, 2 players vie for supremacy across 5 areas of the globe. Let’s check it out!
“World War II in 20 Minutes” claims the box for Blitzkrieg! In this game, players take on the roles of Axis and Allied forces as they vie to tip the scales of conflict in their favor.
The game is played on a shared board, which is divided into 5 theaters of war. The goal is to earn 25 points, and this is accomplished primarily through controlling theaters.
At the start of the game, each player shuffles the tokens of their color into a bag and draws 3. The tokens primarily consist of navy ships, tanks, and planes.
The theaters of war are made up of rows of spaces for these tokens, and each space is designated as land, sea, or both. Naturally, ships can only be placed on sea spaces, tanks can only be placed on land, and planes can be placed on either.
On a player’s turn, they begin by playing a token from their hand onto an empty space in the theater of their choice. Tokens must be placed in the topmost row that has a vacancy.
If the chosen space has an action symbol on it, the player resolves that action. Possible actions include:
- Draw extra tokens from the bag
- Gain special units
- Move an influence marker
- Make the opposing player discard a token from their hand
- Gain victory points
Next, the player moves the theater’s influence marker toward their side, according to the number on the played token. For example, if the Axis player played a 2-strength tank, they would move the influence marker 2 spaces toward the Axis icon.
Whenever the last space of a row is filled, players look at whose side the marker is on—that player earns the victory points shown next to the row. Then, to end their turn, the active player draws 1 token from their bag.
Certain board spaces allow players to draw special tokens. These are drawn at random from a common supply, and they provide powerful effects such as stronger units, spies who can copy an opponent’s last play, and scientists who can be placed anywhere, rather than just a top-row space.
Players take turns placing tokens until someone reaches a winning score. The game also includes an expansion, which uses the other side of the board. Based on an alternate-history premise, players play as Axis and Japanese forces. The board geography works slightly differently, and the Japanese player even gets a Godzilla token. (I’m not making that up.) This variant adds replay value to the game without much extra rules overhead. It’s a great inclusion.
I had heard nothing but good things about Blitzkrieg! before, and I wholeheartedly agree with the positivity. This game is superb, really delivering on its promise of a wargame in 20 minutes. It has great tension, tough decisions, and lots of room for clever plays.
I like that this game is not just tug-of-war, but 5 separate, simultaneous tugs-of-war. It is very tactical, which fits the theme. If someone goes in heavily on a particular theater, should the opponent try to counter and push back on that theater? Or should they focus their attention elsewhere and apply pressure from another area? Should a player concentrate their attack in 1 region, or spread out across the board, grabbing the best bonuses in the process? Nuanced decisions like these make the experience.
The production of this game is very basic, but it works fine. The back of the rulebook has a helpful reference for the action symbols, and the draw bags have different art on them, corresponding to the Axis and Allied factions. The “wartime propaganda” look helps accentuate the theme, and the rules are clear and concise.
Bottom line, I am really impressed with Blitzkrieg! Wargames have never been my thing, but I love how this game packs a tense battle-of-wits—and the feeling of a big, grandiose experience—into a small box. Highly recommended.
A review copy was provided by Floodgate Games.
The Bottom Line
Blitzkrieg! is a banger, one of the best 2-player games out there. Highly recommended.