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Hitler Strikes North The 1940 invasion of Norway by Quarterdeck International  I will start with a question -...

Hitler Strikes North The 1940 Invasion of Norway by Quarterdeck International Hitler Strikes North The 1940 Invasion of Norway by Quarterdeck International

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Hitler Strikes North: The 1940 Invasion of Norway

Hitler Strikes North

The 1940 invasion of Norway


Quarterdeck International

 I will start with a question - why Norway? The answer lies in this quote: "If the mines of Lapland had ceased working, the blast furnaces of the Ruhr would have shut down too" (Rolf Karlbom). You could also add in the much larger threat to British sea lanes if the Uboats etc. could use Norway's ports. The hard part of the operation is that you are literally bearding the English Lion, or in this case, megalodon to come and take a bite. Scapa Flow, the British Royal Navy's main base, is a hop, skip, and a jump away from Norway. Germany's Navy was small and completely untried. Their ships were mostly newer than the British ones, but their worth in combat was an unknown factor. Without there being a naval part to the Invasion of Norway, the German plan was doomed to failure. 

 We will look at the components first. The maps are well done and easy to read. They are composed of most of Norway, the Northern tip of Scotland and some of Denmark. The counters are 5/8" and are also easy to read, but relatively plain. They come However, for the purist, they come with the corners already rounded. So, you can put your clippers away. The Player Aid Cards are in black and white on hardstock paper. There are supposed to be seven of them (1,2,3,3A,4,5, and one sheet that has Contact/Evasion tables). The only problem was that my copy did not come with #2. There is a copy of this sheet on the game's BGG page (I will post a link). So I just printed out that one card. This is actually a Chinese/English version. The Chinese Player Aid Cards are actually in color and laminated, and there are three of them. The problem with them is that the printing on them is very small, to fit all of the information on three double-sided PACs. The rulebook is in black and white, but the rules are succinct and easy to follow.

 This is what comes with the game:

2 x 22 x 17 inch maps
6 Player aids
216 Die-cut playing pieces
24 page rule book

 The game is interesting, because the German player rolls the dice to see what his goals are for the actual game. The player checks the die roll against the German Goal Determination Table (this is on the missing #2 card). The German Player's goal is either to exit Raiders into the Atlantic or to invade Norway. Strangely the German Player can choose to invade Norway if he rolls for Raiding. The Allied Player is only shown what his opponent's goal was at the end of the game. 

 This is the sequence of play:

5.1 Introduction of any Reinforcements takes place for both sides. Airfields adjacent to captured cities become German. Detach any destroyers at this time. Bardufoss and/or Weather roll if appropriate (See 9.51 & 15.0).
5.2 Movement.
Players may attempt to evade and/or divide up forces being shadowed (see 6.44).
Shadowed forces move and declare where they stop at and shadowing forces proceed with them.

5.3 German Air Reconnaissance Phase (see 6.22).
5.4 Mutual Search Phase. At night, only surface warships may call out a hex. Any sighted forces now proceed to evaluate the contact and if combat will occur (See 6.4).
5.5 Combat takes place. Combat occurs in the following order:
Submarine combat.
Surface ship combat at sea, followed by any combat with Coast Defense Batteries (EXCEPTION: see 9.21).
All ships on each side are revealed to each side (see 8.21).
All Gunnery is allocated before rolling dice.
Salvo Chasing is declared before gunnery combat (see 8.26).
Shielding is declared (see 8.27).
Gunnery Combat takes place.
Torpedo attacks are allocated and then executed.
Air combat.
Paratroop drops are now resolved (only in daylight). Check to see if any ports/airfields fall.
Norwegian and Danish warships are retreated if appropriate (See 9.31).
5.8 Complete the turn and move the turn marker forward one box.

 One of the game's greatest strengths is the amount of what ifs that can be played out in the game. There are Optional Rules including: The Bismarck and the Graf Zeppelin among many others. Luck plays a large part in the game, or actually die rolls. If the Royal Navy catches you with its big gun ships, it is usually lights out. The German Player must rely on his speed to get him out of trouble. One thing I was not aware of was the lackluster performance of German torpedoes in this campaign. The Luftwaffe, which became a large threat to the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, is not anywhere near as potent here. This is as it was historically so it fits right in. As you can see below, there is even a chance for the French Navy to get involved in the melee.

 The is the games second release. It was originally released in the 1980s. The original release was thought of highly by wargamers. It seemed to make an even larger splash when it was released in Japan. The game has had some large changes from the first edition. Many of these were added by the developer Jack Greene from co-writing a book called "Hitler Strikes North". The price of the game is worth it if only for this one paragraph from the designer Jack Greene: "These game rules are not to be picked apart by a rules lawyer. They are an attempt to use logic and historical understanding of the period and players should adopt the same attitude. Otherwise, play somebody else's game". This should be made a standard and stamped on the face of all game rulebooks.

 I was given this game to review and did not pick it. The Norway Campaign or the surface raiding campaign in WWII does not really interest me that much. Much to my surprise, the game actually grew on me and is a very good representation of the campaigns. I now know this because the game made me do a lot of reading and investigating into the campaigns themselves. Any game that can do that has already paid for itself in opening up closed minds. This one not only did that, but as a game plays very well. Because of time constraints I was only able to play it solo (you can play any game solo). Its nuances would make it work as a very good two player game. Thank you very much Quarterdeck International for allowing me to review it.

 I somehow missed an email from QI about the missing Player's Aid Card. They had let me know that it was MIA and had sent a replacement for me to print off. I just found the email after the review was posted. 

Here are links to QI and some of their games: