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B-17 Leader by DanVerssen Games    One should not judge a book by its cover, or so we have been told. Equally, one shoul...

B-17 Leader by Dan Verssen Games B-17 Leader by Dan Verssen Games

B-17 Leader by Dan Verssen Games

B-17 Leader by Dan Verssen Games


 One should not judge a book by its cover, or so we have been told. Equally, one should not judge a book or boardgame by its heft. However, I am still pretty much a slave to heft. If I receive a book or boardgame that needs two hands to hold it, I am instantly enthralled. 

 B-17 is one of these games. Holding it in your hands for the first time, you would believe that you have gotten your hands on something special. Once you open the box you would find out that your hunch was correct. The game manual and the parts are gorgeous. For those of us getting older, the larger sized type and counters etc. are especially welcome. The next part of the review will be an unboxing and give you a look at all of the game's finery.

Components: 336 Cards
5 Counter Sheets
1 Commander Counter Sheet
1 Huge 33" x 17" Mounted Display Board
1 Player Aid Sheet
1 Mini Campaign Sheet
1 Single Bomber Sheet
11 Campaign Sheets
1 DIF Crossover Sheet
1 Player Log Sheet

The campaigns included in B-17 Leader include:
• The Air War Begins (Aug 1942 – Dec 1942)
• Operation Pointblank (June 1943 – May 1944)
• Combined Bomber Operations (June 1943 – Sept 1943)
• Allied Invasion (June 1944 – May 1945)
• Oil Campaign (Aug 1944 – Nov 1944)
• Operation Argument – Big Week (Feb 20 – 25 1944)
• Operation Crossbow (Mar 1943 – May 1943)
• Transportation (Apr 1944 – Aug 1944)
• Strategic Targets (Jun 1943 - Aug 1943)
• U-Boat Focus (Aug 1942)
• Aircraft Industry Focus (Aug 1943)

US counters

German counters

More excellent counters


Sequence of play sheet

Player aid sheets

Leader Commander Counters

Some of the campaigns


          Display Board

 The Display Board is so substantial it could be used for self defense.

                                               Memphis Belle card

The game is a solitaire game about the U.S. bombing campaign against Germany in World War II. You are the deputy director of operations for the Eighth Air Force based in England. The German Luftwaffe (planes and flak) are the enemy that you have to out think and outlast. Your mission is simple: to crush Germany from the air. You have to destroy each target that you choose without suffering crippling losses to your bomber force. As it was in reality, the most lucrative targets are the heaviest defended and the furthest away. When first looking at the game, you might have a 'what have I gotten myself into here' moment. The rule book and the sheer amount of what is in the box may give you pause. The truth is if this isn't your first wargame it really isn't that daunting. The sequence of play is rather longer than just moving a counter and attacking, then checking a CRT. The reason for this is due to a few factors. One is for the game system to give you a viable solitaire gaming experience. Two, so that the game has enough variables to keep it from getting stale. Three, to give you somewhat of a simulation experience of actually running the bombing campaign. I have stayed away from solitaire wargames for a good many years, the reason being is that the few I tried in the '70s and early '80s were just missing something. I always found a two player game to be a better solitary experience. Maybe it was that the masochist in me came out when I was able to exploit a dumb move I had made while playing the other side. Those days are gone and I believe that solitary wargames have matured enough to give you excellent gaming options now.

                                                      Official geek pin

 The game itself is much like its predecessor 'Phantom leader'. You are not only in charge of damaging the enemy, you also have to be a pilot/crew manager. A few mistakes on your part and your crews will be useless to you in your aerial attack. The game is very taut in this way. Do you go for broke on this one mission, or play it safe to husband your crews for the next few? I am glad that the game is based upon the U.S. daylight bombing campaign. A campaign about destroying cities would still give me pause. I know that everyone did it. For some reason to me it just seems 'not cricket'.

 There is a player's log that you have to manually keep track of your fighter/bomber groups. A log is a little more time consuming than moving a chit on a printed display, but I have used them many times in the past for games, and it is really not an onus. 

Me setting up to play the U-Boat campaign again

 So the breakdown is this. Do you have the slightest bit of interest in the bombing campaign, or do you just like to own great wargames for their own sake? If either of these are you, I can definitely endorse B-17 Leader for you.

 The geek pin was a nice touch, but I am sure if you ask our partners we really don't need to be labelled.


Designer: Dean Brown

1 comment :

  1. Incredible Game but a bit difficult unless you have days open to sit down and plot the entire game out in detail.