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  Brotherhood & Unity War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 by Compass Games  I believe Compass Games is four out of four, for sending...

Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 by Compass Games Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 by Compass Games

Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 by Compass Games

Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 by Compass Games

 Brotherhood & Unity

War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995


Compass Games

 I believe Compass Games is four out of four, for sending me games about pieces of history I know very little. I had small children and had started a new job just when this war broke out. Although I know the bare minimum about the fighting, I do know the history or the area. So, that gives me at least a leg up in my research about the war.

 The Balkans have been a hotbed of European history since the Roman Empire was still intact. Many of us are aware that the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) into the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was the match that lit the fuse that started World War I. Thirty years before the war Otto von Bismarck had exclaimed "It will be some damn fool thing in the Balkans that sets it off.", referring to the start of the next European war. Winston Churchill made the statement "The Balkans produce more history than they can consume.".  The problems in the Balkans are numerous, but the two main ones are ethnic and religious. The three ethnic groups that live in Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosniaks, Serbians, and Croatians. Bosniaks tend to be Muslim, Serbians tend to be Orthodox Christians, and Croatians are usually Catholic. The Ottoman empire ruled the area for hundreds of years, which is why Islam has a foothold there. We have seen throughout history how religious and ethnic diversity in a small area can cause bloodshed. The creation of Yugoslavia after World War I did not alleviate any of the long standing issues. World War II saw the different ethnic groups on different sides of the partisan war in Yugoslavia. With the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1990-1992 the fuse was once again lit. This is from the Designer's Short History of BiH:

"The war was characterized by bitter fighting, indiscriminate
shelling of cities and towns, ethnic cleansing and systematic
mass rape – mainly perpetrated by Serbian, and to a lesser
extent by Croat and Bosniak forces. Events such as the Siege
of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre later became tragic
reminders of a conflict that should not have been fought in
the first place.
The Serbs were initially militarily superior due to the
weapons and resources provided by the ex-Yugoslav Army
(JNA), but they eventually lost momentum as the Bosniaks
and Croats created an alliance. As a result of the Serbian
atrocities committed at Srebrenica and Markale, NATO air
forces intervened in 1995 with Operation Deliberate Force
targeting the positions of the Army of the Republika Srpska.
The war was brought to an end after the peace negotiations
held in Dayton, Ohio and signing of the General Framework
Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Paris on
14 December 1995.
It is presumed that more than 100.000 people died, and more
than 2 million people were displaced."

 This is the write up from Compass Games:

  • Complexity: 5 out of 10
  • Solitaire suitability: 5 out of 10
  • Time Scale: 1 year per turn, 2 months per action round
  • Map Scale: Point-to-point strategic level
  • Unit Scale: Brigades
  • Number of Players: 2 to 3
  • Suitability for Solitaire: Medium
  • Average Time to Play: 2 to 3 hours

 This is what comes with the game:

  • 1 22"x34" Mounted Map
  • 260 9/16" Counters
  • 96 Strategy cards (in 3 decks: Serbian, Croatian and Bosniak)
  • 3 Player aid cards
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Ten-sided die
  • 1 Box and lid set


  I have been buying and reviewing Compass Games for about three years now. I have seen some older remarks about the components of their games. If at one time they left something to be desired, that ship has long sailed. The games I have from them all have wonderfully manufactured components. This game is no exception. The map is especially thick and well done. The colors are vibrant and it is easy to read, with every table etc. that you need to play on it. It is a point to point movement game. The map also has an inset to deal with the fighting for Sarajevo. Does that city's name ring a bell? If not for a driver's wrong turn in that city, what might the 20th century history have been? But I digress. The counters are large at a size of 9/16". They are mostly plain, and use NATO symbols for the units. There are both standard and elite units in the mix. For control counters, there are either the separate areas' flags or heraldic symbols. These lend a nice change from the otherwise plain unit counters. The three decks, one each for Serbian, Bosniak, and Croatian player, each have the heraldic sign on the back. Each of the cards are very easy to read, and are also easy to understand how to use them. There is only one double-sided Player Aid, three of them, one for each player. The Player Aid is in full color and easy to read. The rulebook is setup a little different than most. It goes through the different game concepts in the beginning pages, along with the breakdown of what's what on the cards and counters. This takes up pages one through nine. The Game Setup and Sequence of Play start on page ten and run until page nineteen. Then you have two pages on how to play with only two players. The rule book continues with two variants and then goes into the Designer's Short History of BiH. Pages twenty-three to twenty-eight have notes on the cards of all three decks. Next is a large bibliography; thank you, I needed it. It also comes with an index, and a two page spread of both counter sheets back and front, just in case. As I said, the components are all what you would expect from a Compass Games effort.

 The game can be played as either a two-player or a three-player one. As a two-player, one player plays the Serbian forces, with the other player having control of both the Bosniaks and Croatians. In the three player game each player gets one of the sides of the conflict to play. This is the Sequence of Play:

Game Sequence: The game is played in turns, each
of which is subdivided into phases. Game Phases are played
in the following order:
1. Start of Turn Phase
Players draw cards, place reinforcements, and deploy
Foreign Units.
2. Action Phase
Players successively play cards to perform actions. This
phase ends when all cards have been played.
3. End of Turn Phase
Players check if Victory Conditions have been met, and
advance the Game Turn marker.
 Order of Play: Each Game Phase is played in the
following order:
• Turns 1-2: Serbian -> Croat -> Bosniak
• Turns 3-4: Bosniak -> Croat -> Serbian

 The normal game only has four turns to it. You can play a variant that extends the game by adding cards to everyone's deck, or you can play the variant 'Fight to the End' in which you just keep playing turns until someone surrenders or is defeated. Which player goes when each turn is set up in the rules. I did not try it yet, but I wonder if a die roll for who goes when will unbalance the game. It might give it a longer life on your table with not knowing where you are in the turn sequence, or it is possible that it was looked at in testing and was found not to work. The game itself, although dealing with anything but a straight up war, has many of the rules we are used to such as: stacking, movement, and reinforcement. The Serbian player starts out in a very strong position and can try to roll over his opponents in the first turns. However, this is where Foreign Attitude and NATO come in. If you are doing too well, you might just have to deal with some Thunderbolts and other air assets of NATO on your tail. This goes for all the players. So, like any good wargame, Brotherhood & Unity is a juggling game. If I am on a streak of good luck, do I keep pushing it, or sit back and dig in? The Foreign Attitude part of the game makes it that much harder to keep all the balls in the air. With a play time of two to three hours, it is perfect for game night and also doesn't need to take up the table except for those hours. As long as the cat or dog doesn't get involved, everyone should have space and time for the game. Thank you Compass Games for allowing me to review another winner from your stable. The game is extremely well produced and judging by other peoples comments they find the game just as enjoyable as I do.

 My apologies to the designer. I tried numerous times to find out how to put a caron above a C.


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