Iwo: Bloodbath in the Bonins – First Look!

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Unbagging DG’s solitaire Fire & Movement folio ~

Michael Eckenfels, 2 May 2018

Released in 2013, this game is one of many Folio-style games that Decision Games (that’s a lot of ‘games’ in one sentence) has done. I’ve never owned one and figured it was time to check one out. While there are several at cheaper prices than this one, I picked it up for about $20 on Amazon.

It comes in a folder, within a large, clear, plastic bag.



Truly, it IS a folder…see? It’s very strange to get a full-on wargame that’s in a folder, like one I would have carted around in school.



Opening it up, the map is on the left, rules on the right, and clipped counters on the left.


Wait…clipped counters? Yes, I was a bit of an overachiever and clipped these myself. Punching them out of the sprues was something of a chore and difficult to do without damaging some of the counters. I kept this down to a minimum. Mainly, it involves backing from one side of the counter coming off as it does not separate well from the sprue. Decision Games really needs to get a better cutting machine, or a manufacturer with a better one.

The map looks great, though. The overall desolation of Iwo (not a hobbit movie), with a lot of browns, serves as a good backdrop for this volcanic island. The red dots, which I understand govern appearance of Japanese units, stand out very well.

A close-up of the historic landing beaches, as well as Mount Suribachi. Looks like the Japanese concentrate a lot of troops there (as one would expect, and as they did historically of course).

A close-up of the map, showing more detail such as locations like the Turkey Knob and Sulfur Mine, as well as many locations that were fought over.

A close-up of the counters in the baggie. The counters are okay looking; I zoomed in quite a bit for this pic. Besides the difficult duty of punching them out without tearing them up, they’re rather thin and difficult to manipulate, so a pair of tweezers is essential, it seems.

The rules – fairly plain, simple, and few (few pages, that is). I noted at least one reviewer had said the rules were something of a mess, referring to hexes that didn’t exist on the map, for example.

So why would I order this if the counters and rules suck? Because said reviewer actually recommended the game, despite its flaws. Also, a big plus for me is that it is solitaire, and seems a bit simpler than Decision Games’ other more complex but very fun games, D-Day at Omaha Beach and D-Day at Tarawa (as well as D-Day at Peleliu, which I do not own).


I might have to try doing a finished AAR of this one, or a review, if you guys are interested.

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