Anzio (game)

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Anzio is a board wargame published by the Avalon Hill game company first in 1969 and again in 1971, 1974, and 1978. The title is misleading as the game is not an operational-level treatment of the Battle of Anzio but is in fact a strategic level game covering the entire Italian theater of operations in World War II from the autumn of 1943 to the end of the war in Europe.



The playing surface consists of two mounted mapboards placed end-to-end, with major terrain features including the mountains and rivers which in reality impeded the Allied advance. The heel and toe of Italy's southern regions are not shown.


Combat units are depicted in a wide variety of colours. Luftwaffe units are shown in a separate shade of blue, German Army in grey, and Waffen SS units in black. U.S. forces (including a Brazilian division) are shown in yellow, while the cosmopolitan 8th Army includes British, Canadian, Indian (red), Polish (pink), South African and New Zealand (pale blue) units, as well as a Greek and a Jewish brigade. There are also several Free French units (dark blue). Some U.S. and Free French forces are removed from the game in the summer of 1944 to take part in the Dragoon landings in the south of France.

The counters represent divisions, but the game also contains numerous extra counters for divisions to reduce in strength as they take combat losses or else break down into their component regiments.

The game[edit]

The time frame of the game begins with amphibious landings of the U.S. 5th Army, which may take place at Salerno as in reality, or else at any of another set of initial landing areas (the permissible size of force which may be landed varies for each area), while the British 8th Army forces enter the map from southern Italy. The German player has a chance to build fortifications, which may well cause the line to solidify for some months across the narrowest part of Italy, i.e. the Gustav Line through Monte Cassino, which the Allies may eventually break with airstrikes. The Allied player also has the chance to conduct a second invasion (the Anzio landing in reality).

Critical reception[edit]

The original game was criticized for poor box art and research; later versions received higher praise.[1]

In a review in "The Best of Board Wargaming" (1981) Tom Oleson praised the game's "satisfying realism", while criticizing some points of obscurity on the map (e.g. roads which nick the corner of a hexagon), the crudeness with which the Allied "thermonuclear" airstrikes of May 1944 are simulated and an anomaly whereby weak enemy units left near the front line can be destroyed in combat, thus generating extra exploitation movement for the victorious attacker.


Although the published game can only be started in September 1943, alternative scenarios for the "Diadem" offensive (which broke through the Gustav Line in May 1944) and for the autumn 1944 assault on the Gothic Line (north of Florence) were published in the Avalon Hill "General" magazine. Extension maps covering Sicily and the heel and toe of Italy have also been created by enthusiasts.


  1. ^ "Squad Leader 10 Years On" Fire & Movement Magazine, July 1987 Issue

External links[edit]