WW II Submarine Games - an Updated GeekList for 2020
Lou Correia
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In the past few years some excellent Submarine games have come out, making previous lists obsolete. This is my attempt to get us up to date.

Your submarine game preferences may be determined by:
1) Time Period - I've already limited this list to World War II.
2) Theater - Atlantic vs. Pacific - I've got both
3) Tactical (focus on a single sub) vs. Strategic (squadron or larger fleets) - I've got them all, though my preference is tactical.

What did I miss?

I did not include any naval games where submarines exist in the periphery , yet they are really games about surface or air action. (i.e. Flat Top or The Doolittle Raid)

Original Geeklist put out in 2018. Updated in 2020.
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1. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:1104] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43
Lou Correia
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This may not be my top game, but in the gaming community this is #1.

The Hunters is a solitaire game where you are in command of a single German U-boat during WWII. Definitely a tactical game. The mission is to sink as many Allied merchant and warships without dying. Do well and you and your crew advance. Advancement improves survival.

The game experience has been compared to B-17 Queen of the Skies or Target for Today, except underwater. If you can imagine the narrative - the smells, the pings, the click of the depth charges - it becomes an immersive experience. If you can't imagine the experience then the tables and die rolls may turn you off.
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2. Board Game: Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45 [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:2032]
Board Game: Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45
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This is my top game. Instead of Germans in the Atlantic you are in command of a lone American sub in the Pacific.

A similar mechanic and experience to The Hunters, described above.N A tactical, solitaire experience. Also, as the war goes on and you gain experience your chances of surviving are better than in The Hunters.

The game experience has been compared to B-17 Queen of the Skies or Target for Today, except underwater. If you can imagine the narrative - the smells, the pings, the click of the depth charges, and in this game the frustration of dud torpedoes - it becomes an immersive experience. If you can't imagine the experience then the tables and die rolls may turn you off.
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3. Board Game: Silent War [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2907]
Board Game: Silent War
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This solitaire strategic game puts you in the office of the Commander of Submarines in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor. You can send out one sub for a quick experience, or manage the fleet for a monster campaign. Not as complicated as Steel Wolves.

An expansion Silent War: IJN – Imperial Japanese Navy is available.

Update as of September 2020: Compass Games is producing a combined second edition. This new edition includes the expansion, IJN that brings a greater depth of detail by providing all the major warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy. This new edition features a mounted game board, consolidated rule book with all changes and improvements incorporated, a number of revised tables, additional scenarios not in the original game, and all the additional playing pieces that were added in the Steel Wolves game. https://www.compassgames.com/silent-war-and-ijn-deluxe-2nd-e...
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4. Board Game: U-Boat Leader [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:4842]
Board Game: U-Boat Leader
Lou Correia
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The strategic solitaire alternative to the tactical Hunters. Here you command and manage a group of German U-Boats, choosing where to send them on patrol.

From the creator: "When a patrolling U-boat comes into contact with an enemy force it can call other boats in the same patrol zone to form a wolfpack or attack alone. The action then shifts to the tactical display where the U-boats try to close with and attack merchants while avoiding the escorting warships. When an attack starts you will have an idea of the number and general type of ships in the group, but you have to close with the ships to actually identify the ships."
 
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Board Game: Steel Wolves: The German Submarine Campaign Against Allied Shipping – Vol 1
Lou Correia
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This solitaire game covers the gamut, from single German U-boat missions to campaigns where you are the Supreme Commander of U-Boats. Maps cover the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, and Western Indian Ocean. Lots of special/optional rules. If there is a complaint, it is that the game tries to do too much making it long and complicated.

Expansion: German Fleet Boats
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6. Board Game: Submarine [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:4954]
Board Game: Submarine
Lou Correia
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A two-player game from Avalon Hill, and the first submarine game I played back in the 70s. Until the player running the sub is detected, he uses secret, pre-plotted movement. Whereas the previously mentioned games include only German or American subs, this game has a number of nations (Japan, Russia, France, etc.) available as hunters and the hunted.
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7. Board Game: Beneath the Med: Regia Marina at Sea 1940-1943 [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:5901]
Board Game: Beneath the Med: Regia Marina at Sea 1940-1943
Lou Correia
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Beneath the Med is a solitaire tactical-level game placing you in command of a single Italian submarine during WWII. This is the fourth game in the The Hunters series, and covers one of the largest fleets of submarines in the world at the time. You command one of many submarine models available starting in 1940, and look to successfully complete patrols until the armistice in September 1943.

Shipped in late July 2020.
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8. Board Game: Gato Leader [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:8569]
Board Game: Gato Leader
Lou Correia
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Solitaire. Haven't played it. Though it is supposed to be the U-Boat Leader system moved into the Pacific (which would be my preferred theater) it has significantly lower ratings and complaints about the cards.

Is it too similar to U-Boat Leader?
Has the problem with the cards been fixed?
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9. Board Game: The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats, 1943-45 [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:4335] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Board Game: The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats, 1943-45
Lou Correia
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Continuing the Battle of the Atlantic later into the war, where it gets more difficult to survive, as the Allies overwhelm the U-Boat campaign with numbers and technology. Solitaire game where you command a single sub.

From the Publisher: "Your mission is to destroy as much Allied Shipping and as many Capital ships as possible.....and still come home. Players will find it EXTREMELY challenging to survive an entire tour from 1943 to 1945, at which time, if still alive, you will surrender at port, having done your part on the front lines. If desired, a player may start with a more advanced model of U-boat which may actually increase their chances to survive."
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10. Board Game: Atlantic Storm [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:4548]
Board Game: Atlantic Storm
Lou Correia
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A "trick-taking" card game created by Avalon Hill which plays best with 4 to 6 players. A lighter filler game for a group.

"I can't call it a war game, but it is chock full of history; playing it aroused my curiosity of the Atlantic war. Great for five or six players whose interaction will make it fun." - Gerry Germond


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11. Board Game: Wolfpack: Submarine Warfare in the North Atlantic, 1942-44 [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:9664]
Board Game: Wolfpack: Submarine Warfare in the North Atlantic, 1942-44
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SPI's solitaire game from S&T magazine, where you are a German U-Boat Captain.A good game in the 1970s, but surpassed by 21st century offerings.
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12. Board Game: Torpedo! [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Board Game: Torpedo!
Lou Correia
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Haven't seen it. Two-player game.

SimCan says: "Special rules cover the actions of submarines, convoys, ASW aircraft, mini subs, and even ASW blimps. The weapons of Japan, America, Netherlands, France, Canada, Russia, England, Italy, and Germany are included and scenarios range from one on one sub vs. destroyer actions to combined sub, surface, & air actions against the Murmansk runs."
 
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13. Board Game: ORP Orzeł [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:11447]
Board Game: ORP Orzeł
Lukasz M. Pogoda
Poland
Warszawa
Mazowieckie
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I expect it may be something that would please you.

Edit (to add more clarity): 2-player, asymetrical game with hidden movement, sudden death and randomness introduced by dice rolls. Not exactly a wargame despite similar outlook, strong military theme and WW2 background.
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14. Board Game: Atlantic Wolves [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Board Game: Atlantic Wolves
Lou Correia
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Atlantic Wolves is a solitaire game based on this important World War II naval campaign. It covers the decisive part of the campaign, August 1942 to May 1943. The player, assuming the role of Admiral Karl Doenitz, controls the German Kriegsmarine and tries to achieve success against the Allies, played by the game system. The game is a deluxe re-implementation of Gary Graber's classic game Battle of the Atlantic, now out of print.
—Description from the publisher
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15. Board Game: UBOOT: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1151]
Board Game: UBOOT: The Board Game
Lou Correia
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Released in 2019.... so far reviews love it or hate it. Can be played solitaire.

From the Creator:
"U-BOOT: The Board Game is a fully cooperative, real-time tabletop game of WW2 submarine warfare, designed by Iron Wolf Studio. It allows 1 to 4 players to assume the roles of the Captain, the First Officer, the Navigator, and the Chief Engineer on board of a type VIIC U-boat. The game is driven by a companion app, allowing for an unprecedented level of realism, as well as a challenging enemy A.I. which will push your skills to the limit. The action unfolds both on the strategic and the tactical scale, always demanding teamwork, efficient crew management, and quick situation assessment...each of the four officers commands his own group of crew members by issuing orders within a worker placement system.

The idea behind the companion app is to deliver a real-time, realistic gameplay experience. To that end, the app features the most essential instruments of the u-boat (such as the periscope, the hydrophone, and the Enigma, among others). Rest assured, however, that the vast majority of gameplay traditionally takes place on the game board, with the instruments revealing otherwise hidden information, and the app requiring only certain data (such as the U-boat's course, speed, etc.) in order to generate an adequate A.I. response of the enemy force. It is also responsible for all the ambient sound effects, thus immersing the players even deeper into the claustrophobic interiors of the type VII C. But fear not! With open & play being a design priority, you will be launching torpedoes in no time, thanks to streamlined rules, video tutorials, and variable difficulty levels for each player."
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16. Board Game: U-Boat [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Board Game: U-Boat
Lou Correia
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Citrus Heights
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No map. Plays on a tabletop, or floor; with miniatures or pieces you cut out.

"Great little British tabletop game. Simple, yet tense and very enjoyable."
- Ron Jongeling
 
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17. Board Game: Operation Drumbeat [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Board Game: Operation Drumbeat
Lou Correia
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Citrus Heights
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Print and Play solo game regarding German U-Boats prowling America's coastline.
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18. Board Game: U-Boat [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:17724]
Board Game: U-Boat
Lou Correia
United States
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One of the earliest Avalon Hill games. A simple walk down memory lane. Two or more players.

"This game plays like chess with a WW2 theme (and that's not a criticism). It's beautiful in its simplicity." - Wesley Williams
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19. Board Game: Pacific Subs [Average Rating:5.53 Unranked]
Board Game: Pacific Subs
Very Stout
United States
Back and to the Left-
Up a Bit, Perfect
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An Elf, a Human, and a Dwarf walk into a bar... so yeah, the bar must have been set pretty low.
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Haven't had a chance to get it to the table, but glad to have it in hand.
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20. Board Game: U-BOAT COMMANDER: A Solitaire Game of U-Boat Warfare during WWII [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Board Game: U-BOAT COMMANDER: A Solitaire Game of U-Boat Warfare during WWII
Lou Correia
United States
Citrus Heights
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Print & Play solitaire from Beserker Games.
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21. Board Game: Depths of Courage: The Attack on New York Harbor (Volume 10) [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
Board Game: Depths of Courage: The Attack on New York Harbor (Volume 10)
Lou Correia
United States
Citrus Heights
California
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Mini-subs!

Depths of Courage is a solitaire game on a proposed Italian mini-sub attack on New York Harbor during the summer of 1943. An Italian raid with by their frogmen was seriously planned and approved by both the Regia Marina and the Decima Mas. The player takes on the role of the commanders of the three, two-man crew S.L.C. (siluro lenta corsa) Maiale (Pig) class and CA 2 mini-submarines.

Other solitaire games featuring the Italian mini-subs (aka "human torpedoes"):
Depths of Courage: The Attack on Gibraltar Harbor, September 1941
Depths of Courage: The Raids on Algeciras
By Stealth and Sea
Board Game: By Stealth and Sea
 
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22. Board Game: Unterseeboot: U-Boat Solitaire [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Board Game: Unterseeboot: U-Boat Solitaire
Mircea Pauca
Romania
Bucuresti
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Solo-only Print-and-play by Etienne "smic".

Similar to Hunters but quicker. Dice themselves as reminders of target size and successes. Can play with a VII A (7 torpedoes only) or VII C (14) and some expanded options.
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23. Board Game: Run Silent, Run Deep [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:15741]
Board Game: Run Silent, Run Deep
Lou Correia
United States
Citrus Heights
California
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Unfamiliar with this game.

"OK and Playable. But some aspects are overly simplified. There is only one type of 'Sonar' in the game, and no distinction between active and passive mode. And only one type of torpedo -- Japanese subs have no Long Lances." - Hiroyuki Nishimura

"A simpler version of "Submarine", from AH. A good way to intro new players who have an interest in naval war. Also plays faster than Submarine." - Kevin Roach

Two-player, not solitaire.
 
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24. Board Game: Loups gris en Atlantique [Average Rating:6.09 Unranked]
Board Game: Loups gris en Atlantique
Lou Correia
United States
Citrus Heights
California
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French game.

"This rather simple game provides stressfull situations when you try to survive to air strikes and navy escorts. The only problem is that the volume constraints for the rules in the magazine probably prevented the author to present clearly enough the sequence of play and the consequences of some of the combat results." - Johann
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25. Board Game: Mit "Prien" gegen England [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Mit "Prien" gegen England
David Patterson
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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"Has fortune dealt you some bad cards. Then let wisdom make you a good gamester." - Francis Quarles
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Let's not forget submarine games published during WWII, this one published in Germany after Gunther Prien's (in)famous raid on Scapa Flow in 1939, where he sank the British battleship Royal Oak.
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