01 November 2023
An awesome aeronautic combat game that is a welcome addition to the Undaunted Series
Review by George Barker
Undaunted: Battle of Britain leaps to the skies in this fresh twist on the already classic series. Up to 2 players (recommended aged 14 and above) battle it out as the Royal Air Force and Luftwaffe across 11 different scenarios which take about 45-60 minutes to complete. These scenarios depict the fall of France, the Battle of Britain and the beginning of the Blitz.
What is Undaunted?
For anyone unfamiliar with the series, Undaunted is a deck-building game that offers an accessible entry to the world of historical wargaming. Each turn you’ll play a hand of cards to control your units on the battlefield (or in this case, your aircraft in the skies). Combat cards control your aircraft on the board while communications cards represent ground control providing assistance via radio.
As aircraft take hits, you’ll permanently lose cards from your deck, while the chaos of the battle might add discord cards to your hand, making it harder to reliably control your units. However, you can also bolster your deck with new cards from the supply and use your communications cards to remove discord. Winning Undaunted requires you to both manage your deck and make the best moves with the cards drawn.
What new elements does Battle of Britain add to the Undaunted series?
In previous titles, movement wasn’t so much a tactical puzzle but a strategic consideration. You worked out where you needed to send your units and then tried to build your deck around getting them there as fast as possible. In contrast, every turn of Battle of Britain is a constantly evolving puzzle, as you balance attack runs against incoming threats. Can you line a plane up to shoot on your next turn? Will that position leave you vulnerable? What’s more, planes in the same section need to stay within communications range of each other, or you’ll risk adding discord cards to your deck. The choice between breaking formation for an opportunistic attack or keeping wingmen in comms range for the long-term benefits adds an extra layer of depth.
Battle of Britain does a fantastic job of conveying a sense of speed and dynamism through its simple flight system. With each combat card you play, you must choose between shooting and manoeuvring. Movement is always mandatory and shooting means you must move in a straight line. To turn the aircraft, you’ll have to forgo shooting to manoeuvre, letting you adjust the aircraft's heading instead. This core decision between lining up a shot or pulling the trigger not only rewards good positioning, but forward thinking; draw multiple copies of the same aircraft and you’ll get to zoom it around the board, all guns blazing.
Battle of Britain focuses much more on the board than on your deck. How you move (and divisively what you roll) are more important than ever. Higher lethality, smaller ‘health’ pools and the value of drawing duplicates make the bolster action more important. In previous titles, the bigger scenarios came with the decision of which units should be brought onto the battlefield during the mission. The choice of unit composition is absent in Battle of Britain and the decision space around how you manage your deck is generally smaller, which is a welcome change of pace to the series. As with the previous entries, some scenarios do feel stacked in favour of one side, which can be frustrating. However, the core flight system is so quick and satisfying that replaying a scenario is more appealing than any previous entry.
Should I get Undaunted: Battle of Britain?
Yet again, Benjamin and Thompson have turned out another winning entry. Battle of Britain’s new spin on the formula gives long-time fans reason to add another box to their collection, but remains as accessible as ever, making it another great entry point for new players.
After the ruined streets of Undaunted: Stalingrad, the azure skies and verdant fields found in Battle of Britain are just as refreshing as the new combat flight system, leading to the most dynamic entry to the series yet.
Play it? MUST PLAY
What's included in Undaunted: Battle of Britain?
The game has the following contents:
- 116 Cards
- 31 Map Tiles
- 4 D10
- 58 Tokens
- Rules and Scenario Booklets
Who designed Undaunted: Battle of Britain?
This game was designed by Trevor Benjamin & David Thompson and published by Osprey Games.
What games are like Undaunted: Battle of Britain?
Battle of Britain distills the same satisfaction of dogfighting found in Wings of Glory down to a simple system that integrates perfectly with Undaunted's other core elements.
This review was originally published in Tabletop Gaming Magazine Issue 82 (September 2023)
If you're interesting in learning more about this important part of British Military History, check out this commemorative 80th Anniversary look at The Battle of Britain in Colour, or for those who want to discover what technological advancements ensured the RAF's success, why not read Battle of Britain – RAF Operations Manual Magazine