Rifles in the Ardennes is a fun, quick playing – if somewhat abstracted – squad level World War 2 solo game.
The game dispenses with a map, zones of control and many other standard wargame features. Instead there is a more narrative, almost RPG-style, approach with the option of playing the game as a campaign.
The game begins with choosing a scenario, the moves to customising your squad of soldiers. Weapons are selected with an almost free choice, limited only by available Army Points. Powerful, but expensive, weapons like mortars and heavy machine guns sit alongside the much more common rifles and hand grenades.
Once selected, you can give your squad names – OK, that’s not in the rules but it fits with the RPG trappings and, hey, why not? Then its onward into battle. Rifles in the Ardennes has a somewhat unique board that is – dare I say – something of an acquired taste. However, what those six stripes lack in aesthetics they more than make up for in functionality. Rifles’ sports pitch of map houses, among other things, events, terrain features, mission objectives and the enemy.
The ‘enemy’ in Rifles the Ardennes is one of the US, Russia or Germany – this is a ‘war in Europe’ game despite in locality specific title. Each army has unique-to-a-point weapons and gameplay style but, in the main, this a roll the dice and see what happens solo AI. It works well, however, as with all such systems the dice inevitably issue some curious orders.
Overall, Rifles in the Ardennes is a blast to play. Small enough and short enough to play in a single sitting yet sufficiently detailed to satisfy that war game itch when you don’t have the time, space or energy for anything bigger.
I enjoy playing Rifles so much that my one off ‘how to play’ video turned into a full campaign. I’ve included a few of the videos here in this post and the full list of videos is on the Diagonal Move YouTube Channel.
I hope you enjoy them and they help you decide if Rifles in the Ardennes is a game that you might enjoy.
Until next time…happy gaming!