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Winter Thunder


Game Design: Brian Train
Art: John Cooper

Players: 2

Duration: 60-90 minutes

Complexity: Medium

Solitaire Suitability: High

WWII. The Battle of the Bulge!

In late 1944, in the wake of the allied forces' successful D-Day invasion, it seemed as if WWII was all but over. On December 16, with the onset of winter, the German army launched a surprise counteroffensive through the densely forested Ardennes that was intended to cut through the Allied forces in a manner that would, the Germans hoped, turn the tide of the war in their favor. You can call it Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine"), Bataille des Ardennes ("Battle of the Ardennes"), or the Ardennes Counteroffensive, but it is best known today as the "Battle of the Bulge".

WINTER THUNDER is an operational-level game on this famous battle. Designer Brian Train has substantially revised and streamlined his 2004 design, Autumn Mist, incorporating a newly-researched and more accurate order of battle with revised counter values and reinforcement schedule. The rules have been cleaned up and include an improved solitaire play system. There's even a drastically revised map with a different scale and treatment of terrain. 

WINTER THUNDER utilizes the same "nearly diceless" double-blind mission matrix system from AUTUMN MIST, SUMMER LIGHTNING, and THE BALKAN GAMBIT. This unique system sets the game apart from the rest of the pack.

The game includes a campaign game scenario that runs from December 16 to January 3, a bit longer than many Bulge games, but playing in a fraction of the usual time—just around 3 hours. There is also a short “Home for Christmas” scenario which assumes the Germans launch an offensive with more localized aims and fewer resources.


  • 176 counters to manouevre
  • 1 striking 22x17-inch map (both full-size and split for home printers)
  • 1 rulebook to rifle through
  • 1 Player Aid Card to call in reinforcements
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Reviews (0)
Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Lesley N December 02, 2023 4:19 pm UTC
This won't be my first Battle of the Bulge game, but I think it has potential. Big massively detailed and hard to play has limited appeal, so I'm hoping this is a nice change.
Customer avatar
Julen M January 29, 2023 4:25 pm UTC
Hi there, is this game playable in solitaire controlling the german forces?

Thanks for your time
Customer avatar
Neil S April 15, 2020 11:20 pm UTC
Wish all the files were in pdf format: much easier for me to download and print on my iPad. I can convert jpeg front and back rule book covers to pdf, but as the rules are protected I can’t combine to produce one printable rule book.
Customer avatar
Nathaniel W December 10, 2015 9:32 pm UTC
Looks interesting---I love gaming the battle and have a renewed interest in board games. I have a few questions:

Could you explain a bit of the "double blind mission matrix system"?

How big is the map?

What size are units?

How many counters? (Related: Are there lots of non-unit counters to show game conditions and the like?)

How much emphasis is there on logistics? Old SPI style (stay within a certain number hexes of a Corps HQ and you're fine) or more involved?
Customer avatar
Beck S December 12, 2015 2:47 am UTC
Hi Nathaniel,

1. This is the same system that Brian Train used in Summer Lightning and the Balkan Gambit. The attacker chooses an Attack Mission chit and the defender chooses a Defense Mission chit, these are revealed simultaneously and compared on the Mission Matrix to find out what happens (retreat, check for losses, etc.)

2. The map is 22x17. You get a full map if you would like to have it printed in its entirety. And it also comes split in four if you will be printing it on a home printer.

3. Units are at the Division, Brigade and Regiment levels.

4. There are 176 counters total and 33 non-unit counters (like Block, Out of Supply, etc) including the Mission chits.

5. It's close to the SPI model and fairly simple. There are effects on movement and combat, but there's no supply attrition.

Please visit us at to see our complete line of folio games.

Happy gaming,
Mary Russell...See more
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File Last Updated:
April 30, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on December 08, 2015.