A two player strategy game from Paolo Mori, Blitzkrieg!, promises gamers a World War II campaign in 20 minutes.

Though it initially looks a bit overwhelming, with lots of icons on the board and different tokens to make use of, it’s actually really straightforward and once learned, players really will be playing the game from beginning to end in 20 minutes or less.

Each turn, players draw tokens from their beautifully illustrated bags and use them to claim territory in a currently active campaign. Ground spaces can be occupied by armies or air forces, water by navy or air force and any space that’s both land and water can be occupied by any unit.

Once the token is placed, the special ability granted by the newly occupied space is carried out. There’s lots of these abilities, which include scientific advancements to place into your bag for future turns, as well as more immediate bonuses.

Each token has a strength level which determines the number of spaces they’ll move along each battle track in that specific Theatre of Operations (each of which are made up of one or more campaigns).

The battle track will ebb and flow as players vie for control of each Theatre of Operations; if one player reaches the end of the track, they can claim the entire Theatre for themselves regardless of how many spaces are left on the campaigns there – and they immediately get every single bonus ability that’s left uncovered too.

Once the token has been placed, the ability carried out and battle track taken care of, the active player draws a new token from their bag (to add to the selection they have behind their handy player screen, which they’ll choose from next turn) – and then play passes to the next player.

The game’s end is triggered when a player reaches 25 victory points, which are earned for claiming campaigns, from certain token spaces and Theatres of Operations. At that point, once players have taken an equal number of turns, the player with the most victory points wins.

Despite the large number of icons and abilities in play, each player’s screen – which hides their tokens, as players both start the game by drawing three and keeping them secret until used – has a handy reference chart to explain the function of each space, making it incredibly easy to pick up and play a game of Blitzkrieg, at least once you understand the very straightforward turn order.

It’s a short, fast moving, satisfying and strategically interesting game. Despite its apparent simplicity, there’s always agonising decisions to be made as to where to place your token on any given turn and plenty of options that can cause interesting effects to stack up.

Included in the current edition is the Nippon expansion, which takes place on the reverse of the standard game board and includes an alternate history post-WW2 situation in which Japan turn on the victorious Axis armies – and bring Godzilla with them!

That’s not all either; a Solo Mode is also included, making Blitzkrieg! an incredibly fully featured and flexible experience for one or two players. Though its length and simplicity may make it seem like a ‘filler’ game, its wealth of choice and variety of consequences make it a different experience each time you play.

The board is well laid out and always clear; the bags are beautifully illustrated and the tiles – though fairly plain – are always easy to read and understand. Given its price, it’s genuinely great value considering there are two ways for two players to take part and even the solo mode in addition to that.

Blitzkrieg! is a game I’d unequivocally recommend to virtually any type of board gamer – even as a gateway game for players not used to more complex, less mainstream games. Though the luck of the draw in getting what you need from your bag is sometimes a factor that can swing a game one way or the other, clever play and the variety of options on the table at any given time do mitigate the luck factor somewhat.

At it’s core, Blitzkrieg! is a very impressively designed game – and it’s one that I’ll no doubt be revisiting quite a lot.

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