Battle of the Bulge is a game that began as a Kickstarter campaign, which reached full funding back in May of 2012. Shenandoah Studio used the money that it made, just over $37,000, to create an impressively realistic wartime strategy game to the iPad.
The developers of Shenandoah Studio are veteran game designers who specialized in both classic board games and strategy games, with a collective 160 years of experience, which really shows in the meticulous game design.
This is a turn-based historical simulation game, which aims to recreate the famous World War Two battle. Since it is turn-based, you can play in three different ways: by yourself, as Germans or Allies, in person passing the iPad back and forth, or asynchronously using Game Center.
You can play multiple games at one time, so this is perfect to pick up if you’re looking for a war simulation that you can play at anytime with friends. Be warned: Single player is tough, because the AI will show no mercy.
Battle of the Bulge is not a game that you can jump into, so be prepared to spend some time learning the rules. The game takes place on just one map (though there are two scenarios), and because this is board game based, you will not spend time creating buildings and collecting units, as you might in other strategy war games.
When starting a game, you can choose to play as Allies or Axis, and there are two different opponent personalities: the cautious defender, and the bolder defensive fighter, and each of these choices will tweak the game just a bit.
You will have objectives to complete during each mission. The map is divided into spaces, and you’re given three unit types: infantry, armor, and mechanized.
During each turn, a player is able to activate a space, which allows friendly units in the space to move and fight. Each unit can only be activated once per day, and each turn takes a random amount of time, which keeps the game dynamic.
Map spaces are controlled by the last side to occupy the space without an enemy present, and during turns, your units can move one space (there are detailed rules for movement).
The game’s combat takes place when active units enter enemy space, and there are quite a lot of factors that go into combat too. This game is incredibly detailed and complex. For example, there are different aspects to a battle, such as defensive terrain, rivers, clear terrain, small defenders, elite infantry, and combat modifiers, among other things, that must be taken into account when fighting.
Everything is dated, to coincide with the historical Battle of the Bulge, so expect special events and happenings throughout the game. Winning the game is done by meeting specific conditions for each scenario, which ends the game.
It would be impossible for me to go through every aspect of the game, but I did spend the time to learn it and I can say that those of you who enjoy turn-based strategy titles like Risk and those of you who enjoy historical war games will find this to be one of the best games that you’ve played. Winning will take cunning and strategy, so if you can find the right opponent, you’ll have a blast learning the ins and outs of Battle of the Bulge.
What I liked: The asynchronous multiplayer works well, and the gameplay, once you learn the rules, is entirely enthralling. The game is also gorgeously designed, with simple but attractive graphics and a fantastic UI.
What I didn’t like: This game has a target audience in mind – serious war game fans. The average casual player may not enjoy this game, especially because of the difficulty of playing single player against the computer.
To buy or not to buy: Battle of the Bulge is geared towards a specific type of gamer. If you like historical war games, it’s well worth the $9.99 investment.
- App Name: Battle of the Bulge
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
- Category: Games
- Developer: Shenandoah Studio
- Price: $9.99