Dampenon Fabien
France
Paris
flag msg tools
badge
Rookies talk about strategy, Grognards about Logistics
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You have watched all U-Boat Movies (and of course the famous "Das Boot" from Wolfgang Petersen) with tremor ?
Now, there's a game to let you make this war (with the same hope and fears but much less risk).
So, let's go for a (brief) review.

1) Components
A large box (perfect size to store all the components), filled with 12 colourful countersheets, one map, rule book and scenario book, and a lot of reference sheets.

Map is functionnal with some tracks and tables. Size is large but not huge (some displays will have to be near the map). All you need is on the map : aerial cover, maritime traffic for each period of the game, spanish hidden resupply and bases like Toulon (a naval base on the French Riviera, don't forget I'm French).

Counters are gorgeous (really !), each class and type of U-Boat is differencied (experts will note the subtle difference between Type VIIA and VIIB for example). There's a lot of ships (Aircraft Carriers, Battleships, Liners and of course Merchants/Tankers) of all nationalities (Greek, Panamean, Polish, Free French,...) who fought in the Atlantic.

Rule Book is very well organized and number of pages is incredibly low for the level of realism. Rules are clear, well written wtih examples and historical background. An extended example of play is missing but Designers are said to be working on.

Scenario Book is full of historical convoy/wolfpacks attacks, lone patrols of famous subs (including Italian), small campaigns (Paukenschlag, special mention for the war-long campaign of the 7th Flotilla, a campaign with Vichy French Submarine Force, Cocorico again ) and Battle of the Atlantic in different periods. The masterpiece is of course the FULL Battle (1939-1943 in all theaters) which is proposed to be played in 150 hours.

Eventually, Reference Sheets are colourful, well designed and illustrated (special mention for the three sheets with all subs at scale and technical details).

2) System


The only wrong point (minor, see below), common to all solitaire games, is the handling of repetitive tasks and counters (War mix Cup, large convoy setup for example).
But, personnaly, each smoke spotting is a blessing (You will hunt loners like a shark and watch over convoy and Task Force with a little fear but big hopes).
You will travel all over the Atlantic (from North Cape to Cape of Good Hope, from US East Coast to Indian Ocean). You will lay minefields and be afraid of Diligent Escorts (Johnnie Walker is the ultimate nightmare of every skipper). You will hate dud torpedoes and incompetent engineers and (often) you will taste the cold bottom of the ocean.

Briefly resumed, each sub moves (risking an adverse event or encounter), search (with modifiers like B-Dienst-German Intelligence Service-, Enigma, too rare Luftwaffe) and fight. Then, if you are lucky to survive, you have to return to base (or resupply secretly in Spain or with a milk-cow in the middle of the Atlantic). Then, after some weeks (exact time depends on the quality of the base and U-Boat Readiness factor, variable for each type) you can start a new mission. Wolfpack may be formed (with the shadowing sub which could be detected HF/DF and hunt by escorts).

Combat System is well designed, each fight is tense with some tough decisions (may I maneuver deeper in the convoy but at greater risks of counterattack, for example).

Eventually, Political System will enable you, as BdU, to request some production priorities (radar detector, new torpedoes,...), timing of reinforcements, or oppose the stupid decisions of OKW, OKL and Chancellery (like sending your precious U-Boats in Artic or Mediterranean) all of this with prestige points gained by your great achievements.

3) Conclusion

The full campaign will take some 150h playing time, you are aware. Some small campaigns are also interesting but the full campaign MUST be played by every fan of U-Boat war !

I haven't played Silent War, so I can't compare but Steel Wolves is a GREAT DESIGN. I have played scarcely my other games on Vassal (which I invite you to support) but I think it will be the case with Steel Wolves.
Great design, historical accuracy, gorgeous components, full support on BGG by the designers for your questions.

The last word will be THANK YOU Stephen C. Jackson, Brien J. Miller and Compass Games !

Nota Bene : Don't forget to download the excellent "Additionnal Play Aid" designed by Fizz41.
34 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Hughes

California
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Thank you for review. Too few on this game. How many hours have you played?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dampenon Fabien
France
Paris
flag msg tools
badge
Rookies talk about strategy, Grognards about Logistics
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Too few

I made three wolfpacks scenario, one incomplete 7th flottila campaign and one month of full campaign, twenty hours I think.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Antoine SAULIERE
France
LAGRAULIERE
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi french pal !

I've ordered mine last week and i'm waiting for it now, im' reading silent war rule to try to wait without getting mad !

Thanks for this good review.

Is there a scenario better for first game ?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dampenon Fabien
France
Paris
flag msg tools
badge
Rookies talk about strategy, Grognards about Logistics
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hello.

I think beginning by a convoy/wolfpack scenario is a good start.

SL-34 is a good choice (War Period 1) and only two subs but you have to read the rules about wolfpack ( a little different than the rules with one sub against a convoy) which are only possible in War Period 2 in the campaigns.

After two or (preferably) three SL34 scenario, you could start Patrol Game "U-30's First Patrol" which use the same counter mix in cups, or go straight to a small campaign like 7th U-Boat Flotilla (same counter mix and no Political Rules).

Eventually, after reading Political Rules, you will be ready for Campaign 2 "The Not So Phony War" or Campaign 1, the "Full Campaign", if you have 150 hours in front of you
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Antoine SAULIERE
France
LAGRAULIERE
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your answer, can't wait to receive mine.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.