Period: World War II, ETO
-- Turn: 15 seconds
-- Map: 10 feet
-- Unit: one man
Box: 12x9" flatbox.
Components: 12 unmounted 9x11.25" geomorphic mapsheets, 32 page rulebook, 756 1/2" counters (3 sheets with 252 die-cut counters), 8 cardstock sheets with upper floors (66 sections to cut out), 20 sided die.
Counter Manifest: 140 green on olive, 112 green on tan, 168 black on gray, 84 black on white, 126 red on pink, 126 red on white counters. Click here for a more detailed manifest.
Balboa says: "The game is designed to recreate, as close as possible, the 'feel' and 'flavor' of infantry combat and the problems and decisions faced by the small unit leader . . . The combat units involved represent the average organizations of the U.S., Germany, and the U.S.S.R. The playing area represents typical European buildings and streets. All names on the maps are in German, but represent typical small town architecture and street plans left over from the Middle Ages . . . Proceed with caution: the town is unfriendly, the enemy is experienced and your men aren't expendable. You have your mission and your organization. As soon as you read the rules and set-up, it will be H-HOUR."
The designer says: "A game is one man's view of a particular subject, and is only as good as the author's research and experience. I designed this game from the viewpoint of a professional soldier who has spent 6+ years in the infantry, including two combat tours, and who has been an instructor in small unit tactics and map reading. My training has been in all aspects of infantry combat, and my research has included not only books but interviews with combat infantry veterans of WWII . . . The game is, honestly, an attempt to combine a miniatures game and a boardgame together. Most of the rules are written from a boardgame viewpoint, but can be readily applied to miniatures."
Comments: I was beginning to believe that this game didn't actually exist until I finally found a copy. Part of the doubt was founded on my inability to locate any reviews of H-Hour, contemporary or otherwise (certainly not in the major magazines of the era). Was it viewed as superfluous, coming so close on the heels of the popular man-to-man SPI games Sniper and Patrol? Were gamers scared off by the amateur box and poorly printed rulebook... or perhaps it was the multi-floor building levels to be constructed using legs made out of toothpicks?
Despite it's absence from the literature, H-Hour shows a great deal of attention to detail. Each soldier counter bears a surname and rank insignia. The random scenario system offers variable forces and objectives (somewhat similar to Victory's Shell Shock). Variety is also added by the twelve geomorphic mapsheets. Nonetheless, the game seems to have dropped right off the radar and there are no signs that it is regularly played or discussed today.
If you have played and enjoyed the other WWII man-to-man scale wargames out there, you would probably be interested in taking a look at H-Hour (if you can find it!)
Collector's Notes: H-Hour was a tough one to find. I hunted around online for a couple of years before finally winning a copy on eBay. I later managed to track down another copy that was unpunched and complete (from a seller in Italy - talk about the game taking the long route to get back to California!)
There don't seem to be that many people looking for this one. If you find one up for auction, there may not be much competition. Boone's Internet Wargames Catalog (3rd edition) lists low/high/average auction prices of $7/$20/$13.50 and low/high/average sale listings of $12/$40/$22.33.
During my search I passed over an overpriced copy ($80) from an online dealer. When I made what I thought was a reasonable counter-offer, the dealer justified his asking the price by claiming that while most copies of H-Hour were mis-cut, the one he was selling was "close to perfect." Caveat emptor - each of the three copies I've purchased were cut just fine.
Other man-to-man WWII games: Ambush (Victory Games), Battle Cry (3W), Battle Hymn (Victory Games), Behind Enemy Lines RPG (FASA, The Companions), Close Assault (Yaquinto), Combat (Gameforms), Commando (SPI), Iron Cross - S&T 132 (3W), Patrol (SPI), Shell Shock (Victory Games), Sniper! (SPI, TSR), Soldiers (West End), Up Front (AH).
This article was originally published in issue 12 of Simulacrum, July 2001
- Last edited Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:54 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Fri Jul 25, 2003 5:18 pm
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Re: User Review
The Maverick wrote:
There don't seem to be many people out there looking for this one. If you find one up for auction, there may not be much competition. Boone's Internet Wargames Catalog (3rd) lists low/high/average auction prices of $7/$20/$13.50 and low/high/average sale listings of $12/$40/$22.33.
During my search I passed over an overpriced copy ($80) from an online dealer. When I made a counter-offer, the dealer justified the price by claiming that while most copies were mis-cut, his was "close to perfect." Caveat emptor - each of the three copies I purchased were cut just fine.
I managed to find a mostly unpunched version which was only missing the d20 on ebay, and ended up paying 70 dollars. Can't guarantee bidders will remain sane, but I was sweating bullets as it is one of the last on my list of games I need to complete my collection of tactical level stuff, and so my high bid was 1000 dollars! But there were only 5 bidders or so, so the conclusion there isn't much interest seems accurate. Yaquinto's games routinely draw much more interest, and higher prices.
Re: User Review
Finally! I found some of the components of this game in my Miscellaneous box and couldn't remember for the life of me what game it was. Now I know, and it all came back to me after seeing the name of the game company and reading this review.
I bought this one many many years ago directly from The War House in Long Beach, CA which was the store front for the Balboa Game Company. I remember liking the individual soldier focus of the game, and I do remember playing this one quite a bit after I bought it. I also remember the oddness of the square grid for movement. No vehicles in the game though, just a straight up infantry slugfest. The game was likely supplanted for me by Squad Leader.
Now, alas, all that remains is a plastic tray with the counters and two of the maps, though it is possible I may also have the rules laying about, I kind of doubt it as I think the other parts of this game became water damaged years back and were tossed. Anyway, thanks for the review and reminding me of a fun little game that I had forgotten totally about.