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Hunt Down German Fleets, Deal with Turmoil in Europe Again, and Battle on the Great Lakes or in the Austro-Prussian War

by Candice Harris

• In December 2022, Spanish publisher Salt & Pepper Games announced The Hunt, an upcoming 2-player, asymmetric, card-driven, cat-and-mouse strategy game from designers Matthias Cramer (Watergate, Glen More II: Chronicles, Lancaster) and Engin Kunter, which plays in 25–45 minutes.

In The Hunt, one player plays as the British Royal Navy and is trying to hunt down German fleets in World War II, while the German Kriegsmarine player tries their best to stay hidden, as described in the publisher’s high-level overview below.

September 1939: the commander of the Admiral Graf Spee receives the order to sink as many British freight ships as possible in the South Atlantic. The objective is to intercept the ships crossing the Atlantic and prevent supplies from reaching the UK and other destinations.

The plan seems to work in the first months: within a few weeks, the Admiral Graf Spee sinks 9 freight ships and sends almost 50,000 gross register tons to the seabed. The gigantic loss put the army command in London Whitehall under pressure. In order to protect their freighters in the best possible way, the Admiralty had no choice but to reinforce the English fleet in the South Atlantic by sending three cruisers in what is known as The Battle of River Plate.

Goal of the game:

The Hunt is an asymmetrical duel where one player will assume the leadership of the British Royal Navy, while the other player will represent the German Kriegsmarine. Each player will have their own deck of cards. In order to win, the German side must stay hidden from the British while attempting to sink five cargo ships.

Instead, the player leading the British must hunt down and fight the Admiral Graf Spee in a final naval battle, in which case the side that ends up with lesser damage wins. Will the Royal Navy be able to take advantage of their numerical superiority or will the Kriegsmarine be the ones who, with their cunning and refined strategy, manage to overthrow their rival?

An exciting and determining battle begins that will define the fate of the Second World War.

• In January 2023, Compass Games launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter (KS link) for 1812!: War on the Great Lakes Frontier, a 2-player, card-driven, multi-scenario historical strategy game from designer Ken Repel.

Here’s a bit of what you can expect from 1812! War on the Great Lakes Frontier as described by the publisher:

1812! War on the Great Lakes Frontier is a card-driven strategic wargame that simulates the naval and land actions fought on and around the Great Lakes of North America during The War of 1812.

This is a two-player game with either player commanding the naval and land forces of the United States of America or the British Empire.

Players will alternate playing Strategy cards, spending Operation Points and causing historical events to occur. Operation Points are the currency used to move and fight battles with military units.

The scale of fighting units is regimental and single ship.

Each leader, regiment and naval vessel has been researched to determine its relative strength and weaknesses based on battle performance, unit size, and type. With armies rarely exceeding a few thousand men, the forces are manageable and the clashes are skirmishes in comparison to the battles fought in Europe.

• For another 2-player card-driven game from Compass Games, check out Europe in Turmoil II: The Interbellum Years 1920-1939 , which is a re-implementation of Kris Van Beurden‘s 2-player, Twilight Struggle-inspired, political card-driven game Europe in Turmoil: Prelude to the Great War.

Europe in Turmoil II follows in the footsteps of Europe in Turmoil I. Once again, two players take sides in this political CDG set in the Interbellum era between the two World Wars, this time one representing the Moderate Left (socialists and liberals), and the other player representing the Moderate Right of the time (conservatives and nationalists).

The mechanics of the game are rather similar to those of Europe in Turmoil I, with the main changes being the replacement of the Naval Arms Race by seven concurrent Rearmament races (for each of the six scoring regions of the game plus the Soviet Union) and the removal of the stability and mobilization decks in lieu of a new extremist marker that facilitates support checks.

While players represent moderates, the cards they are using contain some of the more extreme people and factions of the period. It is possible to harness their large political prowess in order to make quick gains, but at the cost of becoming less and less moderate, which may eventually hamper your possibility to win the long game.

The map represents the political reality of Europe in the Interbellum, divided in six scoring regions (Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain and the Little Entente of Yugoslavia, Romania and Czechoslovakia).

Play progresses over three periods: The Roaring Twenties, followed by the Great Depression and finally the Appeasement period.

Europe is in Turmoil again! Will you be the one to extinguish the forces of extremism, or will you fan the flames on your way to Domination?

By Iron and Blood is a unique 2-player wargame from Hermann Luttmann (Dawn of the Zeds, In Magnificent Style, At Any Cost: Metz 1870) and White Dog Games covering the Battle of Koniggratz, which was fought during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about the Battle of Koniggratz, or you’re just curious to see what Luttmann’s cooked up for us now, keep an eye out for updates on By Iron and Blood. The publisher’s description below nicely summarizes the historical setting of By Iron and Blood, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the gameplay as well.

“The position of Prussia in Germany will not be determined by its liberalism but by its power … Not through speeches and majority decisions will the great questions of the day be decided… but by iron and blood.”

– Otto von Bismarck, Sept. 30, 1862

By Iron and Blood is a two-player wargame depicting the final, decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War. The Battle of Koniggratz (or Sadowa) occurred on July 3, 1866 and it was the largest European land engagement fought between the Battle of Leipzig (1813) and the mammoth battles of the First World War. Koniggratz involved over 450,000 men from multiple European nations and principalities. The battle would decide the destiny of Europe, determining whether Prussia or Austria would be the dominant force binding the various German states together to form a new potential super-power, born with a united Germany. The Prussians under General Helmuth von Moltke invaded Austria in late June of 1866 with three major armies, each following a separate axis of advance. Using divergent approaches was risking defeat in detail, but Moltke counted on superior Prussian maneuverability to outflank the Austrian North Army under Feldzugmeister Ludwig von Benedek. Battles were fought at Nachod, Tratenau, Skalitz, Soor and Gitschen with the Prussians prevailing in nearly all those encounters. The demoralized Austrians gathered their remaining strength in front of the fortress of Koniggratz, hoping that one last titanic defensive battle would win them the war. The Prussians rushed ahead with the 1st and Elbe Armies, engaging the Austrians in their prepared positions. Prussian commanders then looked to the north for the approaching 2nd Army, hoping it would arrive in time to deliver the killing blow. But where was that army and how long would it take to deploy effectively to the battlefield? The race was on – could the North Army defeat the outnumbered Prussians before 2nd Army closed the vise or would the war end under the walls of Koniggratz?

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