This isn’t a real review either.. I won’t have the time and I’m soon off on a cruise ship without internet for about ten days. I just thought I’d give it a quick first glance.
The Hunters showed up in the post the other day, which will force me to issue an amendment to my year in gaming post– I got Cruel Necessity for review, Cards against Humanity for the cruise and The Hunters (a P500 order) all within a week of each other! So add those to the total– it’s clear I wasn’t quite finished getting board games this year.
The Hunters is a solitaire game of submarine warfare in World War II. You play the captain of a German U-Boat in Allied waters. The game isn’t played on a map, per se, although some folks have tried to make one for the game. Essentially the playing space is a chart that depicts a layout of the sub and what ammunition and damage is where.
The overall effect I had was a game similar to B-17: Queen of the Skies or Patton’s Best, both by Avalon Hill. The focus of the game is the platform, and action revolves around it. Like B-17, players roll on a series of charts to figure out where they will patrol, and cruise from sector to sector rolling for encounters with enemy shipping. They may encounter all kinds of Allied nastiness, such as escort ships and capital ships, which WILL fire back.
The game is very chart heavy (like B-17), but counter sparse. The version I received had several blank counters in the mix, which would have been well served by expanding the game’s options, I think. That’s neither here nor there, the basic game is quite good– very logically laid out and easy to find everything, and the action is mostly resolved with a roll of 2D6. In every sense– design, graphics, visuals.. this was good effort by Consim Press. It’s very clear this game has benefited from a good developer and playtesting– I was never really stuck and hardly needed the instructions after the first combat.
I only had time for a couple of patrols last night. I started with the 1939 scenario with the idea of playing it through as a campaign in different sessions. My X1A type Unterseeboat patrolled the English coast and immediately saw a tasty convoy of two small freighters, one large freighter and a tanker. Alas, all convoys have an escort, so my options were run or fight. I chose to fight, and took her in to close range. My first salvo of two steam torpedoes on two ships damaged the tanker and a small freighter, with only ONE dud. The escort detected me and dropped depth charges, but luckily I rolled “No Effect”. My next salvo was spread out more to three targets and did more damage– finishing off the tanker and previous small freighter, and sinking another small freighter. The escort pounced again. This time I took 3 damage from the depth charge and had to beat a hasty retreat. That’s a sample of the results, it was pretty easy to make this scenario happen once everything was punched out.
I have to say my first impressions are very positive. I really like this game. It’s a bit of a chore to set up but the payoff is definitely worth it. The Hunters has more nuances and depth than I’ve let on here, but you get the general notion of how the game is played, I trust. Highly recommended.