Okay, yeah… I took a solitaire game to board game night. I think this one’s so neat people need to see it, even if it’s just to try a couple of patrols. I have to say though, The Hunters is kind of unique in that people will ask you to bring it back for an encore session. (A solitaire game? For real?! Yes, it’s that good.) Heck, I wasn’t even playing this last time and I had to find out how the war was going to turn out for the other guy’s Kapitänleutnant.
There’s just so much in the game. And it really does come down to the little things. Sure, one game is about the same as any other when it comes choosing your range and selecting targets for your torpedoes. Each sub plays a little bit differently, of course. But you also get fewer dud results as the war kicks into high gear. Of course… the allies get better at detecting subs and shooting them up with their planes. But then the Germans adapt even further by adopting wolfpack tactics!
Even more interesting, the game plays a little bit differently when you gain the rank of Korvettenkapitän. You refit times drop and you gain a little more influence over where your sub will be assigned. And your crew? If they level up you’ll fair noticably better against those pesky air attacks you’re liable to fall afoul of as you cruise out of the Bay of Biscay. Sink enough ships, though, and your Knight’s Cross will give you an edge in racking up even more kills!
By the end of the night the guy had completed nine patrols and sunk 21 ships totaling 149,700 tons. He’d been promoted, awarded the knight’s cross, his crew had achieved veteran status, and his second officer had become an “experte”.
But then in July 1941, his type IXA encountered an enemy aircraft as he was making his transit to the Atlantic theater as part of a wolfpack. His crew shot the plane down, but nut before taking a fuel hit. The mission had to be aborted! Heading back to the Bay of Biscay, the ran into another plane. They had been little more than a nuisance throughout the game, but this one rolled a “10” for its air attack. Adding +1 for the fuel hit and +2 for the usual bonus for air attacks… and the total came out to 13. Which was just enough to sink him in one shot!
This guy had gotten away from the escorts so many times, I was beginning to think he was immortal. It was kind of a shock to see the end come from a direction we just weren’t expecting, though. But them’s the breaks!
This is a great game, one of those rare releases that does something so well it becomes an instant classic. If you’re inspired to track down a copy of your own, then don’t forget to look out for its sequel Silent Victory which allows you to not only play American subs in the Pacific, but also target the escorts defending transports and engage Japanese subs. Check it out!