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GMT    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood    Average price online £60.00
The last Night-Bombing game I played, Duel in the Dark, didn’t live up to expectations so I went into playing Bomber Command with an open, but slightly critical, mind.  I was pleasantly surprised.
To begin with the rules are considerably briefer than one would normally associate with a war game and then the maps and counters are top quality and easily recognizable for what they represent. The rules may be light but the game, with its highly tactical  system of raids, certainly isn't.
BOMBER COMMAND encompasses the tense anxiety of the Bomber Crew and the follow through on the ground. For the latter GMT have provided paper maps that are so sharply folded (as if ironed) that it is unlikely you will manage to dodge causing even the slightest damage just by unfolding and spreading it out. The game counters punch out of their die-cut sheets with ease and are of the expected GMT quality.
There are two major scenarios for this game. The headliner is BERLIN and that is what the rules are mainly written for and the direction the game is aimed towards. The other scenario is for the more advanced player who has already played and discovered all there is to know about BERLIN.
Berlin – Autumn 1943 to Spring 1944, the Battle of Hamburg to the Battle of Berlin.
Downfall – Autumn 1944 to Spring 1945, the period of the Reich's collapse.
BOMBER COMMAND is better balanced than you might think and this makes for an intense head to head for the 2 players involved.
There is, as you would expect, a fair amount of secret play. Most of this takes place before the game reaches the maps, on sheets peeled from the pleasantly large pad of strategy sheets, printed on both sides to ensure that any need of photocopying is a long way off. Then there is Bombing accuracy. There are many factors that decide this, it is not just a case of pointing to a hex and saying the bombs will land there, then rolling a die to determine a hit or a miss.
There is visibility - cloud, haze, fog (plus of course it’s at night). The mechanic for bombing is fairly complex. It involves placing bomb markers to designate the areas, then the markers can be moved by the German player who determines which to move and where through a number of possibilities and finally the AirForce Commander may be able to move some markers back, again depending on a number of variables.
Victory Points are awarded according to the outcome of each bombing raid with the British player having to secure more than 18 points (19-27) for a Victory or 28+ for a Major Victory. It is, as I say well balanced. It is the responsibility of the German player to ensure his opposition do not reach either of their targets.
The game is for two players who enjoy a lot of cat and mouse, seek and destroy, bluff and tactics. I particularly like the fact that LBW hasn’t forgotten that the Germans didn’t just sit and take it, they followed the bombers home and attacked them as they landed - there are rules that cover this aspect and the German player has the decision of whether and when to use them. This may be an expensive tactic but it may also be a surprisingly good strategy.
© Chris Baylis 2011-2021