Updated: Dec 17, 2019
With the subtitle ‘World War Two in 20 Minutes’, you know up front that Blitzkrieg! is unlikely to be setting itself up as a hardcore simulation war game. Designed by Paolo Mori (Libertalia, Ethnos, Pandemic: Fall of Rome), Blitzkrieg! is a fast-playing abstraction of WWII which certainly lives up to its name (the German word blitzkrieg translates to ‘lightning war’).
The central board represents the five theatres of operation of WWII: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa & the Middle East, South East Asia and the Pacific Ocean. For each there is a track representing the balance of power between the Axis and the Allies. There are also two or three rows of battle spaces where chits can be placed out by either of the two players: chits representing armies can only be placed on spaces representing land; chits representing naval forces can only be placed on sea spaces; chits representing air power can be placed on either.
Each side has a similar array of chits representing air, land or sea forces. Players will each be drawing chits from their bag and deciding where to place them out; taking the effect indicated on the space they play to. Players don’t know what chits their opponent has drawn (each player’s chits are concealed behind a screen) so this is a game that involves both strategy and a strong push-your-luck element.
Despite its apparent simplicity and ease of play, Blitzkrieg! is a surprisingly tense tussle between the players. Do you focus your placement on a particular theatre of operations in the hope of capitalising on your scoring advantage at the risk of giving your opponent the advantage elsewhere? Do you place your chits where they will yield the better production advantage (including giving you access to more powerful ‘special weapons’ chits) or do you make your placement where it will close off a campaign and score you immediate points? You will have to make choices on every turn, yet this is not a game where you are likely to be bogged down with dithering indecision: it is ‘lightning war’ after all! So, yes, the game really does play in around 20 minutes. Although it involves neither dice nor scribbling, if you enjoy playing roll & write games then you’ll almost certainly love Blitzkrieg!
Shown here on Board’s Eye View is a pre-production preview copy of the game that was supplied in advance of the game's launch on Kickstarter. Blitzkrieg! is published by PSC Games and is now available at retail.