Friday, March 01, 2013

Blood & Thunder

The wargame Blood & Thunder was published 20 years ago (as of this writing) by Game Designers' Workshop.  Its theme and focus is warfare on the Eastern front during World War II.  The game includes close to two dozen scenarios, rules to design your own scenarios, and many different maps that can be combined in different ways, so there is a LOT of game in the box.  In fact, when I started reading the rules and looking at how the game was designed, I could not help but think that the whole project came from someone thinking that they liked the game Panzer Blitz, but felt that they could do more with it.  I was surprised at how similar some of the rules were, but where Panzer Blitz goes for simplicity, Blood & Thunder adds complexity on top.  Not a lot of complexity (the "rules" part of the rulebook doesn't exceed 16 pages), but enough to make me long for the simple yet effective mechanics of Panzer Blitz.  I also feel that this game suffers from a common problem with wargames of its era, where maps that aren't very large get filled by dozens of stacks of counters, such that you have to break out your tweezers to carefully lift counters off of stacks to see what is all in the stacks.  I quickly soured on games like this back in the day, and did not enjoy having to relive the situation.  Admittedly, you shouldn't have more than five counters in any particular hex on the map, but it still drove me to distraction.  Maybe I am just less patient about things as I advance in years.

Bottom line, I did not enjoy this game.  That may have as much to do with me as with the game, but there it is.  I am sure there are others who would enjoy this game, but it is not for me.  I have never cared much about gaming the Eastern front in WWII, and this game does not change that fact.

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