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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

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare

 The Hunted

Twilight of the U-Boats 1943-45


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:




Brazilian Coast

British Isles


Indian Ocean

Invasion (Atlantic)


North America


West African Coast

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

Type VIIC/41
Type VIIC-Flak
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:

Homing Torpedoes
FaT Ladder Search Pattern Torpedoes

However, the Allies also have these counter measures:

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

 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. 


GMT Games:

The Hunted:

My review of The Hunters:


Heart of Leviathan Wave 2 Expansion by Image Studios  Image Studios Heart of Leviathan is a game many o...

Heart of Leviathan Wave 2 Expansion by Image Studios Heart of Leviathan Wave 2 Expansion by Image Studios

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare

Heart of Leviathan

Wave 2 Expansion


Image Studios

 Image Studios Heart of Leviathan is a game many of us have been awaiting for a long time. The age of the Dreadnought, and especially the naval war during WWI, catches many people's imagination. The original game was and is excellent with a miniature look, and a rule set that does not take the combined forces of a CPA and an attorney to play it. Heart of Leviathan hits the sweet spot right between playable and fun, and a true simulation where every shell fired has to be counted and examined through two or three data charts to see if it hit, if it penetrated, and what was the damage if it passed the first two checks. Image Studios has not stopped with just the original game with two Dreadnoughts per side. They added the Wave 1 Expansion and allowed you to complete the Iron Duke and Konig classes of English and German Dreadnoughts respectfully. So, after the Wave 1Expansion you would be able to have four battleships apiece fighting each other, unless you just wanted to buy more and have a slightly non-historical giant free-for-all.

 The Vail family and their co-conspiritors have not stopped there. They have now completely changed the game with the Wave 2 Expansion. This gives the players two German and English Light Cruisers apiece. Big deal, you might be saying to yourself. What can Light Cruisers do against a Battle line of Behemoths? Turns out they can do a lot more than you would think. The Light Cruisers now bring not just one, but two of the most dangerous weapons to face Dreadnoughts. One is the torpedo, and the second are mines. Both of these weapons gave the respective Admirals the fits during the war. Jellicoe was especially afraid of getting lured into a mass of torpedoes heading his Battle Fleet's way, so much so that one of the reasons the German High Seas Fleet had escaped at Jutland was because of one such German tactic during the battle. The entire British battle line was forced into a 180 turn to escape the deadly fish. Do not discount the power of laying mines for your enemy's fleet to sail over either. Many capitol ships were lost in WWI to mines. 

 So, the Wave 2 Expansion adds a ton to the game as you can see from the above. The separate ship miniatures come in their own beautiful little cases, just like their big brothers. If possible, the cruiser miniatures look even better than the larger ships. The rules for the new weapons take up only three small pages in one of the three booklets that come in the case with each ship (The Light Cruiser named ship Log Book, Secondary Weapons Operations, Cruiser Operations). Each ship package comes with:

The three mentioned booklets.
Plastic model of the ship.
Bag of small metal parts to enhance the model.
Two laser etched thick cardboard sheets of the Ship Base, Seven Mines, Fourteen Torpedoes, Six Smoke Clouds, etc.
Four Ship Captain Cards.
Eight Refit/Upgrade Cards.
One Ship Command Placard, made of thick cardboard.

The four cruisers you get are:



 I do not know how, but Image Studios has managed to top their game and first expansion. Thank you very much for letting me review this excellent upgrade to an already excellent game. You will find below their website and the two other reviews I did of the game and the first expansion.

Image Studios:

Heart of Leviathan review:

Heart of Leviathan Wave I Expansion:


A Naval History Of The Peloponnesian War by Marc G. Desantis   I love books, but once in awhile you will come ...

A Naval History of The Peloponnesian War by Marc G. Desantis A Naval History of The Peloponnesian War by Marc G. Desantis

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare


 I love books, but once in awhile you will come across a book like this that is very memorable. The Peloponnesian War was one of the seminal conflicts in the history of the Western World. It is hard for us to imagine, but Athens was able to bloody the nose of the Persian Empire. This is after the events of the last Persian invasion of Greece. In the process, she gained numerous allies in her fight against the Persians. Athens had a chance to lead, and did for a bit, a crusade against the Great Kings. Unfortunately in her hubris Athens started to look at her allies as conquered people belonging to an Athenian Empire. Without this, Sparta would never have been able to fight a war to 'free the Greeks' from Athenian despotism. In a nutshell, this is the cause of the war. There were many other smaller reasons that also made the Peloponnesian War seem inevitable. It might also have been possible that if the Greeks had not fought each other to exhaustion, that Macedon would still have remained a backwater. 

 This book is filled with everything a history lover would like to know about the era. From its in depth delving into the monetary cost and upkeep of the navies, to the actual tactics used by both sides during the war, it is all here. The actual history of the trireme is shown to the reader. The author also goes into the day to day maintenance of the ships; from why too dry ships were slower, to the Teredo Navalis (shipworm), it is in the book. How many talents Athens had on hand at the beginning of the war is shown. Then it is broken down to show how long this surplus would last under wartime conditions. On hand cash, is shown to be as important in warfare then as it is now. The reader will see how the massive funds, although dribbled out to Sparta, of the Persian Empire helped to tip the scales against Athens. 

 This war has had many books written about it. In actuality Thucydides, an Athenian general, wrote the first history of the war. The book we are looking at is one of the best on the subject, but also one of the best books about any war. As the author points out, Greece's coastline is actually longer than Italy's. So almost all of the fighting took place fifty miles or less near the Aegean or Ionian Seas. This was a well written and fascinating book on ancient warfare. From the physical problems that the rowers themselves endured (read for yourself), to how the Corinthians strengthened their bows, it is in this book. I am looking forward to reading more from the author.


Book: A Naval History of The Peloponnesian War
Author: Marc G. Desantis
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishers