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Autumn Mist

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Autumn Mist, designed by Brian Train. Published by Fiery Dragon Games as part of their CounterStrike Games division. $21.95.

Reviewed by David W. Nicholas

This is a game that deals with the battle of the Bulge during World War II. For those who arenít aware, this is one of the most simulated battles (perhaps the most simulated battle) in the history of commercial wargaming. The situation (surprised and stretched out Americans vs. Germans attacking in lousy weather) is rather stereotypical by now. Some of the features of the game (poor German infantry, stronger armor, vs. uneven American armor and infantry; terrain thatís very restrictive; weather that assists first the Germans, then the Americans) are by now familiar to any person whoís been playing commercial wargames for twenty years or so. Weíve all seen this before.

Whatís different about this game is the scale of everything. First, the game comes in a small metal box, and has a tiny map. While it has 350+ counters, the combat units are divisions rather than the expected regiments or battalions. Thereís a considerable amount of abstraction going on, as a result. There are a lot of charts and tables on small cards. My one real complaint with the physical components is the counters, which are printed on perforated paper rather than actual cardboard.

The game system, however, is interesting, and different. For one thing, units move via activation from a headquarters. HQs can only activate units that havenít already been activated that turn, allowing each unit to only move and fight once per turn. However, skillful use of this rule can result in units fighting through holes in the enemy lines, exploiting the opening made by a previous activation. The combat system is unique too: thereís no Combat results table, as in other games. Instead the players select ďmissionsĒ and cross-reference them on a table, determining whether either side takes casualties and advances or retreats.

Autumn Mist is a strange little game, and having played it a couple of times, Iím not sure what to say about it. It has design concepts I like (the impulse activation, and the combat system) but itís also got some physical problems (the size of the game, and the qualities of the counters. I would therefore recommend it, but only conditionally.


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