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 The Hunted Twilight of the U-Boats 1943-45 by GMT Games  The German U-boats experienced two 'Happy Times' in World War II. The firs...

The Hunted: Twilight of the U-boats 1943-45 by GMT Games The Hunted: Twilight of the U-boats 1943-45 by GMT Games

The Hunted: Twilight of the U-boats 1943-45 by GMT Games

The Hunted: Twilight of the U-boats 1943-45 by GMT Games




 The Hunted


Twilight of the U-Boats 1943-45


by


GMT Games







 The German U-boats experienced two 'Happy Times' in World War II. The first was right after the fall of France in 1940 and lasting into 1941. This took place in the North Sea and North Atlantic. The second Happy Time was directly after the the entry of the U.S.A. into the war. This took place on the east coast of North America. In the second Happy Time, 609 Allied ships were sunk to only 22 U-boats. Roughly one quarter of all Allied shipping sunk in World War II occurred then. However, those are featured in the first game of the series by GMT Games 'The Hunters'. This is the story of 1943-1945, and it is a totally different tale. In 'Black May' of 1943, 118 U-boats were at sea. The German Navy lost 41 of them in May 1943. The amount of Allied shipping losses continued to fall even before then. German Admiral Dönitz ordered a temporary halt to the U-boat offensive in order to come up with some ideas to stem the tide against his U-boats. This game is a solitaire simulation of U-boat warfare in the last years of the war. As with most of the German 'wünderwaffe' (wonder weapon), the weapons that were being developed for the U-boats came too little and too late.



 As mentioned, this is the second game in the series. I will have a link below to my review of the first game: 'The Hunters'. The series has actually been expanded to include the Italian Submarines in the newest iteration called 'Beneath the Med'. There is actually a fourth title in the series 'Silent Victory', where you play as an American submarine Captain against the Japanese. This is what comes with the game:


One ½” full-color counter sheet

One ¾” wide full-color counter sheet

Rules booklet with designer's notes

Five player aid cards, 2-sided

Six U-Boat Display Mats, 2-sided

Two U-Boat Patrol Maps, 2-sided

U-Boat Combat Mat

Eight U-Boat Kommandant Cards

U-Boat patrol logsheet

Three 6-sided, two 10-sided dice, and one 20-sided die



 These are the areas of the world's Oceans that you can patrol in:

Arctic

Atlantic

Australia

Brazilian Coast

British Isles

Caribbean

Indian Ocean

Invasion (Atlantic)

Mediterranean

North America

Norway

West African Coast






These are the U-boats that you can command during your patrols:

Type VIIC
Type VIIC/41
Type VIIC-Flak
Type VIID
Type IXC
Type IXC/40
Type IXD-2
Type IXD/42
Type XB
Type XII (hypothetical)
Type XIV
Type XXI




 The new weapons and U-boat improvements include these:

Decoys
Schnorkels
Homing Torpedoes
FaT Ladder Search Pattern Torpedoes

However, the Allies also have these counter measures:

Hedgehogs
Squid
Fido
Heavily Increased Aircraft Presence

 The player has the use of twelve different U-boat types. You will be facing both day and night combat encounters. To spice up your patrols you can be assigned these 'Special Missions':

Abwehr Agent delivery
Supply Delivery
Replenish
Minelaying




 The sequence of play (synopsis) is:

Consult U-Boat Patrol Assignment Table
Conduct Patrol
  Check for Encounters in Each Travel Box entered
  Check for Random Events
  Resolve Air or Ship Encounters (Enemy ship engagements is always voluntary)
  Attempt Repairs
  Return to Port
Refit U-boat
  Check for Crew Recovery or Replacement
  Check for Crew Advancement
  Check for Kommandant Promotion or Medal Earning
Take your crew and Kommandants life in your hands once again.




 Your goal in the game is to take your U-boat to sea and to sink as many Allied ships as possible, with the caveat of returning you and your crew home safely. The game adds some RPG elements to its wargame base, by having your Kommandant able to receive both promotion and earn medals. You can even be awarded the coveted Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. For anyone who has played the first game, winning medals and just staying alive is a lot harder in this game, as it should be. The game does incorporate a multiplayer aspect. However, it is not you playing against the other player. You are essentially both playing solitaire and trying to outdo the other player on the tonnage of sunken ships you both inflict. 




 As in the first game, to add a little to the historical side of the game, you can play as a historical U-boat Kommandant. Each of the Kommandants come with certain enhanced abilities in the game. Alfred Eick for example, gives the player both 'Expert Gunner' and 'Vigilant'. Extra Gunner gives the player an additional -1 to hit targets. Vigilant allows the player a +1 on crash dives. These are the historical Kommandants you can play:

Alfred Eick
August Maus
Heinrich Timm
Werner Henke
Jürgen Oesten
Werner Hartmann
Albert Lauzemis
Robert Gysae





 The game components are pretty much exactly what you would get in the first game, 'The Hunters'. The counters are easy to read and very colorful. You will experience no eye strain while reading them. You also get eight counters with portraits of the historical Kommandants to add to the immersion level. The Rule Booklet is in large print, and is also in color. The 'Designer Notes' are interesting, because the designer (Gregory M. Smith) did not even want to do a follow-up game about these years of the war for U-boats. He felt the historic 'brutal aspects' of a game would be uninteresting to players. The first game had such an overwhelmingly favorable response, and the fact that so many players clamored for a 1943-1945 game, that he acquiesced. He states that he did not sugar coat the war or try to tip the game in the U-boats' favor. The seven double-sided U-boat Mats are the main game piece and the best piece of artwork in the components. The Patrol maps that you will use in your cruises are also very well done. The whole ensemble is meant to be both functional and good looking.

 The game is hard, and it is meant to be because that is how it was historically. However, we do not play these games, especially solitaire ones, to win all the time. We play them to try and simulate a certain part of history. I feel that the game captures the moment in time perfectly. If you as Kommandant are sent to the Indian Ocean your crew's life and your stock has just risen. Should you pull the short straw and are given the North Atlantic, good luck and may the fates be with you. Thank you GMT Games for allowing me to review this gem. A big thanks to the designer for listening to the player base and following up 'The Hunters' with this game. 

Robert

GMT Games:

The Hunted:

My review of The Hunters:


 



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