Plague Diversion: the Heroes of Telemark.


I enjoy small format microgames, with a conflict simulation feel to them.  One of the few companies still filling this niche is Decision Games, with their prestigious Quad and Minigame line, which goes back to the 1980s.   They get a mixed reception from diehard wargamers.  I like some of them quite a bit.  Joe Miranda, who has done the lion’s share of design work for DG, has pushed for standard systems for micros, if I’m not mistaken.  Tonight’s little chestnut was THE HEROES OF TELEMARK, which recreates, in a very broad manner, the events around the sabotage of Norwegian Telemark heavy water facilities during world war 2.  In history, the British sent a team of Norwegian and British commandos to Norway to provide recon and sabotage actions against the various infrastructure components built up around heavy water research.  Heroes of Telemark (the game) is solitaire, from the “Folio” line, costs about 11 to 14 dollars and a map, an operations and missions card deck, and a few counters.

Setup was.. interesting. The rules were not edited well, with a few instances of referring to the same things with different descriptors and sometimes a little poorly organized. There were two rules inserts; one multi-pager and one double sided single sheet. They appear to be independent of each other (maybe the “mini rules” was a shorter version? It’s never said anywhere.). So after a turn doing an Airborne insertion, I found myself above a line of three OBJ markers. See below (the red stars).

The map is point to point, the terrain isn’t really defined anywhere. I thought the Mountains slowed you up somehow but it’s not written down anywhere.

This is part of the RAIDERS series of games. I noticed the similarities to an earlier game I purchased in this series, called CONGO MERC. The basics are there. Mission cards (which are basically scenarios) and Operations Cards (which represent random events and possible hostile encounters). I chose the entry level mission, Operation Grouse, which is only a reconnaissance mission.

Flip just Three OBJ markers? Count me in.

My entire mission was to flip three OBJ tokens. Which were, conveniently enough, located on the areas marked with red stars. I had SEVEN OPS CARDS to conduct the mission (e.g., seven cards). I purchased three raiders for the scenario and had 2 points left to bank for later. After landing via the Airborne insertion table, I moved to the first objective.

… it landed me directly above a line of spaces with OBJ markers! Three in a row. See the row of three red starred areas?

So if all the stars align, I could just move directly south in a line. This is exactly what I tried to do. As the turn sequence was “check to see if the alert level goes up”, then I had the option of reconning the objective. If I rolled even, I could see what was in the area. That was handy. So the first OBJ marker flipped.. Whoah!

Yikes. Maybe I could side slip that one?

So that first OBJ marker was a bummer. I didn’t want to engage in combat just yet, so I decide to take the long way around. IN the next phase, I move West around the German Military force I uncover from the AMBUSH! marker I flipped over, revealing some local hostile forces (see the light recon armor above). I just left it there and went around when the next OPS cards flipped.

So the second OBJ marker flipped in two movement phases. This one was a real objective, the Plutonium marker. Yay!

This scenario is moving along! Victory is in sight. Two of three objectives found. The alert level, which starts at 1, has not moved up yet. My second op card pulled wasn’t productive, but didn’t hurt us, either:

So the MILORG camp being established is an event.
The OPS Card states the MILORG (communications and supply point for the raiders) gets established, and it’s clear across the map. Not very useful.
Humph. Not impressive.

So I have two of three OBJs flipped. All I really have to do to WIN that mission (see the card above), is to Recon the next geographical area due South of me successfully. I rolled for the recon attempt, I needed an even number on a 1D6 to flip (reveal) the objective.

Well, what do you know about that.

And… VICTORY.

It wasn’t bloody. It wasn’t that eventful, and it was altogether easy. But it counts, thanks!

I could maybe try to get more OBJs in the remaining 4 objective cards, but the next ones were pretty far away on the map. Ehhhh okay, no need. I’d never make it. My raiders, their reconnaissance troops having achieved their objectives of their mission, strap on their skis and ski off to their MILORG camp, a ridiculous amount of distance away.

Summary: ehhhh meh? It was fun enough, but not a really heavy duty wargame, and the mechanics weren’t much to speak of. It was very event card dependent, so very random. I did like the subject matter, and the rules do treat the subject matter decently. Overall, I liked it, but I’m going to have to play the campaign out to really “get it”. Not a waste of time, but not a system to make you break out in a sweat worrying about strategy.

One comment

  1. Great walkthrough. I bought the game myself to play in lockdown but haven’t yet got round to it so I found this rather useful.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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