Hitler's Last Gamble: The Battle Of The Bulge, Designer Signature Edition
Hitler's Last Gamble: The Battle of the Bulge, Designer Signature Edition, marks the return of a true wargaming classic by Danny Parker first published in 1989, faithfully remastered and updated with this all-new, supersized edition. The CSR award-winning designer is well renown as an author and expert on the Battle of the Bulge, having designed no less than six games on the battle. The original release showed great promise with an excellent order of battle, but did contain considerable errata that curtailed game enjoyment. These shortcoming are now fully addressed in this new edition along with additional refinements and game enhancements. This new Designer Signature Edition promises to realize the full potential of this two-player operational level simulation covering the Battle of the Bulge in a highly detailed yet imminently playable format.
This edition of Hitler's Last Gamble features super-sized map and counters and is another Classic Reborn! by Compass.
Hitler's Last Gamble covers the last major German offensive on the Western Front during World War II, which took place in the Ardennes during the winter of 1944. The objective of Hitler’s last desperate gamble to win the war, code-named Wacht am Rhein, was Antwerp. This Belgian coastal city was the largest port in Europe and Eisenhower planned on using his facility to supply his final offensive into Germany. Hitler was certainly correct in judging that its capture would be a devastating blow to the allied forces. Ultimately, the Germans failed to reach Antwerp or even get a single tank across the Meuse River.
This Designer Signature edition goes far beyond a mere culmination of errata and player comments collected through the years; it now features many new innovative game features and several new scenarios, including perhaps the most comprehensive order of battle published to date. Five full-map scenarios are provided covering The Last Blitzkrieg and various phases of the battle, including a plausible "What-If?" exploring the Ardennes Offensive starting six days earlier as originally proposed (10 December) ; along with a new introductory scenario covering the Battle Before the Meuse, 23-26 December. In terms of superior physical presentation, all aspects have been upgraded, including super-sized components; larger game map and 5/8" counters. Some of the enhancements made in this edition include:
- • Classic Ardennes game with many new innovative features designed for both maximum historical accuracy while providing a playable experience
- • Super-sized components feature 5/8” counters and larger map hex grid makes for ease of play
- • Thoroughly organized game charts and Orders of Appearance to convey more information at a glance for ease of play
- • Game map includes severe terrain-- a key Ardennes terrain feature. Delineation of settlements is based on 1940 census data: hamlets, villages, town, cities and castled towns. Terrain has been completely re-examined using both Google Earth and period maps to re-classify highways, roads and trails.
- • Unit original deployment carefully researched so starting positions are accurately positioned and reinforcement arrival in an accurate fashion and at the proper locations
- • Order of Battle based on recent archival information with first accurate rendering of British forces and breakdown of U.S. 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions into their fighting organization. Very detailed OB for units as well as a detailed historical information is included in the game.
- • All-new rules treatment backed by many illustrations, an index, and clarifications and examples of play to reduce potential questions. Some rules were simplified, others enhanced.
- • A major improvement in the game is that all units are rated on their relative morale which has strong impacts on combat resolution and unit staying power
- • Bridge status and carrying capacity accurately represented with realistic uncertainty for many bridges over the Meuse and other rivers
- • Air units are realistically represented along with their capabilities
- • All unit strengths (including artillery) have been meticulously researched and computed based on firepower score methods and are fully documented.
- • Optional Rules include realistic road space rules, commandos, armor interactions with terrain, fuel dumps and capture, optional reinforcements and "what if?" scenarios including better German logistical preparations
- • New rules emphasize differences between day and night turns with different CRTs, potential for nighttime breakout, infiltration movement in forested terrain at night and forced march movement during hours of darkness
- • Peiper breakout rules accurately depicts the initiative and specialty of that unit to pierce enemy lines and carry out a rapid advance at night
- • Map extends to the north to show the pivotal battle for Kesternich that compromised the right wing attack of the 6th Panzer Army
- • Partial map, "Battle Before the Meuse" scenario depicts turning point tank battle of the conflict and can be played to an exciting conclusion in 4 hours or less
- • Two major full map scenarios: "The Last Blitzkrieg" which showcases the initial German offense as well as "We Cannot Force the Meuse" which takes up on 22 December at the height of the battle
- • An intriguing 10 December scenario depicts the potentially pivotal impact had the German offensive started nearly a week earlier. Many elements of this potential What If? scenario are depicted correctly for the first time.
- Complexity: 7/9 out of 10 (standard game/with optional rules)
- Solitaire Suitability: 9 out of 10 (no hidden units)
- Time Scale: 8 hour day turns, 16 hour night turns
- Map Scale: 3.2 km per hex
- Unit Scale: regiments and battalions
- Players: one to four, best with two
- Playing Time: 3-8 hours for scenarios, 20+ hours for campaign
- Two map sheets
- Three countersheets (5/8" size)
- Rules booklet
- Scenario booklet with historical background
- Six player aid cards
- Axis order of appearance displays
- Allied order of appearance displays
- One six-sided die
- Box and Lid
- Designer: Danny S. Parker
- Project Director: John Kranz