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Subject: A Sample Patrol rss

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John Kranz
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Compliments of Mike Lam, one of the playtesters for THE HUNTERS and also well known for his incredible DOWN IN FLAMES tournaments that he hosts at the various game conventions (GMT Games Weekend, CSW Expo, etc.) -- here is his submission of a sample patrol. I hope you enjoy it and note the narrative that the game evokes from players, which is something I very much look forward to seeing once the game is released in June 2012.

========

A Sample Patrol

Hi everyone. I've been asked by the designer Greg Smith to post a more detailed example of a play test patrol using fictional narrative. This how a typical patrol would play out, what decisions players will be making and the types of rolls needed. The die/dice rolls can be either 1d6, 2d6, 2d10, or 2d6 (11-66). Note: G7a is the steam torpedo, the G7e is the electric torpedo. Eels will be the slang for torpedoes in this replay.

Date: 10-1940. U-93 Patrol Log with Oberleutnant zur See Claus Korth commanding his 1st Patrol - U-93, a Type-VIIC u-boat, has been assigned an Atlantic Patrol (rolled 6)

Departing St. Nazaire, the crew is well-trained and their morale is high. The U-93 has been loaded with 6 G7a and 8 G7e, Two G7a and G7e each in the 4 forward tubes & 1 G7e in the single aft tube.

Bay of Biscay Box - U-93 enjoys a safe passage through the Bay of Biscay (rolled 9). The crew bids "Auf Wiedersehen" to their escorting mine sweeper.

Transit outbound - A routine transit to the patrol area is made (rolled 9).

Patrol Box 1 - Nothing but empty ocean is seen (rolled 4). But radio traffic of other u-boats having successes is heard and passed throughout the boat. The crew is anxious to get into action and they want prove themselves in battle.

Patrol Box 2 - Near sunset, a convoy is sighted in the distance (rolled 7) by one of the lookouts and the captain is called to the bridge. On hearing the report, Korth exclaims, "Wunderbar!". He orders full speed to catch up to the convoy. By the time the U-93 reaches the convoy, it is night (rolled 4) and Korth orders a night surface attack from medium range.

Round 1 - U-93 is in the perfect position, on the convoy's port side as the closest targets are silhouetted against the rising moon. Using his high-powered binoculars, Korth picks out 3 large ships and a smaller one. The smaller ship of 2000 (Ship ID roll #33) tons is ignored as Korth focuses his attention on the 3 larger ships. He estimates the tonnage of the ships are of 8500 (#63), 7500 (#26) and a 6300 (#82). Korth orders that these three ships will be attacked. His 1WO, Lt. von Hendy, now takes over using the UZO (U-Boats-Ziel-Optik), a special sighting glass built within the conning tower for surface attacks. The UZO is connected to the torpedo calculator and the vital information coming from von Hendy is fed to the calculator.

When everything is ready, Korth gives the order to fire! Two eels (one steam, one electric) are shot at the 8,500 ship. The steam misses (rolled 9) but the electric hits (rolled 6 +1 DRM for the G7e = 7)! But the torpedo fails to detonate (dud check roll 1)! It was a dud! Two eels (one steam, one electric) are shot at the 7,500 ship. Both hit again (rolled 7 & 5+1=6) but both torpedoes fails to explode (rolled 1 & 2)! Korth curses aloud and wonders, "What is going on?" He orders the U-93 to be quickly spun around to bring the aft tube to fire at the 6,300 ship. Another hit (5+1=6) and this time an explosion is seen (dud check roll 5)! But the ship does not sink (Damage roll is a 6 for 1 hit)

Now the escorts are alerted and they have seen the U-93 and Korth orders "Alarm!," and the conning tower is clear in seconds, with Korth as the last man sliding down to the ladder. The hatch is secured and the U-93 crash dives. The pings of the ASDIC (rolled 8 + 1 DRM for Firing Fore+Aft tubes/1st turn = 9 Detected) are heard and then depth charges explode above! (rolled 7 + 1 DRM for Night Surface attack/1st turn = 2 hits). The U-93 takes on water from flooding (result #43) but the crew is able to contain the flooding (rolled 4) and it appears there were no further damage (result #46 - not seen is the damage to the 2cm Flak) is taken. The crew waits for another attack but the disturbed water from the depth charges allows an escape from further attacks (rolled 5 + 1 DRM previously being detection = 6 for Undetected).

Round 2 - The U-93 surfaces, the damaged merchant is seen but it has an escort close by guarding it (rolled 2). The crew quickly reloads the forward and aft tubes (2 each of steam and electric + 1 electric in the aft tube). It is still night (rolled 5) and another surface attack from medium range is ordered and two electric eels are launched. One eel misses (10+1=11) but the other one hits (6+1=7) and a tremendous explosion (dud roll 6) is seen by the deck crew! Before the deck crew can watch the ship sink, the escort heads towards U-93! The u-boat dives again and the hydrophone operator reports the sounds of a ship breaking up (damage roll on the merchant is a 1 for 4 hit points; 3 hit points are needed to sink it).

Again the pinging of the ASDIC is heard (rolled 10 = Detected) and the crew braces themselves for more depth charge attacks. More loud explosions are heard, this time much closer (attack roll 4 for 1 damage hit). The chief engineer reports the #1 electric engines have been damaged (result #22). Although critical, there is no time to worry about that. The U-93 will have to run at half speed using the other electric engine. The escort cannot be shaken (rolled 8 +1 DRM for previous detection = 9 for Detected) and still more explosions occur above and it rocks and shakes the u-boat (rolled 11 + 1 DRM for having 1 electric engine damaged = 5 hits). More flooding occurs (result #12), and now the batteries have been damaged (result #11 twice), but luckily the #1 Electric engine is the engine that is damaged (result #22 again) and not the #2 engine and perhaps some hull damage was taken (results #52).

The captain orders to dive deeper to 150 meters to try and shake the escort. As the U-93 exceeds its safe test depth of 125 meters, the nervous crew hears ominous creaking but the hull holds (rolled 5)! The crew silently gives thanks to its builders, F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG in Kiel. The sounds of the escort fades, perhaps they have to rescue the survivors and rejoin their convoy? (Rolled 7 +1 DRM for previous detection - 1 DRM for exceeding test depth, so the two DRMs cancel each other out] = Undetected and U-93 escapes). Whatever the reasons, the crew is ecstatic.

After surfacing the ocean is found empty. The water was pumped out, and the chief engineer reports he could repair the batteries (repair roll 4) but the #1 electric engine was "Kaput" (rolled 5). The 2cm flak gun was found to have been torn from its mounts and is missing (rolled 5). The crew loads two more G7e eels in the forward tubes. Checking their ship registry book, most likely the ship they sunk was an old Dutch ship, the SS Polyphemus (6269 GRT), built in 1930.

Patrol Box 3 - Nothing is found but empty ocean (rolled 11).

Patrol Box 4 - Another convoy is found (rolled 9) and at night again (rolled 6) and Korth orders another night surface attack from medium range.

Round 1- Two tankers and two smaller targets are spotted. The smaller ships looked to be 4400 (#92) and 2400 (#64) tons and they are ignored. The main prizes are the tankers: 7800 (#11) and 7000 (#33) tons. Two eels, one steam & one electric apiece, are fired at each ship from the forward tubes. The 7800 tanker is hit twice (rolled 6 & 6+1=7) but only 1 explosion is seen (1 eel failed dud check with a 1 and the other eel passed with a roll of 6, and rolled 6 for 1 damage hit). The 7000 tanker takes two hits (rolled 7 & 5+1=6 with both eels passing their dud checks with rolls of 4 & 5) and it begins to burn (rolled 4 & 6 for DAM = 1 DAM apiece for 2 hits). The escorts are alerted and search the area but they do not see the attacking u-boat on the surface (rolled 4 = Undetected).

Round 2 - It is still night (4) and both stragglers are stalked. And they both have escorts (rolled 2 & 3). The crew loads the last two steam eels in the forward tubes. The attack approach is from medium range and on the surface. The two forward eels are fired: 1 misses (10) but the other hits (7) but no explosion! Another dud (dud roll 1). Korth mentally makes note of this issue for his report to the Admiral when the patrol is over. Again the escorts are unable to find the u-boat (Rolled 7 = Undetected) and U-93 goes undetected on the surface.

Round 3 - Korth have waited out the escorts as they have rescued both crews and depart the area to the northeast to rejoin their convoy (rolled 5 & 6). Korth wonders why the British did not scuttle the tankers. Perhaps they believe the burning tankers were already finished? He sends boarding parties to look for left behind code books but nothing of value is found. The names of the tankers are noted as the Caroni River (7,807 GRT) and the British General (6989 GRT). After picking up the boarding parties, Korth orders the U-93 to get into close gunnery range in order to "Fangschuss" the burning derelicts with gun fire. The gun crew sinks the Caroni River (rolled 3 & 7 to hit and then 3 & 6 for amount of damage; each hit was worth 1 hit and tanker sinks after taking 3 hits: 1 from the torpedo, 2 from gun fire) and the British General (rolled 3 & 12 to hit, one hit is scored and then a roll of 5 for 1 more damage hit and tanker sinks after taking 3 hits: 2 from torpedoes, 1 from gun fire). Low on fuel, supplies and torpedoes, only 1 left in the aft tube, Korth orders a course to be set for St. Nazaire.

Transit Home Box - A routine transit, nothing sighted (rolled 7).

Bay of Biscay Box - Met up with the escorting mine sweeper and the trip across the Bay is uneventful (rolled 6)

St. Nazaire dock - U-93 flies 3 pennants from the conning tower for 6300, 7000 and 7800 for a total of 21,100 tons. A successful patrol.

Rest & Refit Phase: U-93 will take 2 months to prepare for its next patrol because of 2 hull damage taken and U-93 should be ready for its next patrol right after New Year's Day (Jan. 1941).
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Brian Drabek
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Wow! Fantastic! This looks really great. Thanks so much for the narrative. Well written and informative.
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Kevin Davidson

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Good write up. Sounds like this will be fun
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Rob White
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Terrific!

Rob
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Eoin Corrigan
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Thanks for the AAR.

I'm very interested in this game. Although the apparent prevalence of dud torpedoes, notwithstanding the historical basis of the rule, could be anti-fun.
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Chick Lewis
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Thanks for the great report.

Which die are you rolling to get 1s and 2s as dud torpedos?

Are later-war torpedos more reliable?
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Alexandros Boucharelis
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Thanks for the amazing AAR.
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John Kranz
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Hi, Eoin and Chuck. Mike Lam does not have a BGG account so he asked me to assist him as he wanted to address your questions directly...so below are his responses that he asked me to post:

Eoin Corrigan wrote:
I'm very interested in this game. Although the apparent prevalence of dud torpedoes, notwithstanding the historical basis of the rule, could be anti-fun.

Don't judge the game and be put off by my bad die rolling. Duds follow me around no matter if I'm playing "Submarine", "Silent War", "Steel Wolves" or "The Hunters". I am just a dud torpedo magnet. If there is chance to roll for duds, I'll find a way.

Chick Lewis wrote:
Which die are you rolling to get 1s and 2s as dud torpedoes? Are later-war torpedoes more reliable?

Dud rolls uses a 1d6. The dud chances for the G7a is 1-2 during 1939-to-1940. It will improve to just 1 from 1941 onward.

The dud chances for the G7e is 1-2-3 during 1939-to-Mid-1940, then improves to 1-2 in the second half of 1941, and improves to just 1 from 1941 onward.

---

(now my own commentary) Both Greg Smith and I got a bit of a chuckle out of Mike's results because he seems to have a history of very BAD die-rolling throughout playtesting. But do keep in mind that this occurred at the onset of the U-boat campaigns. I just finished a terrific read, "Iron Coffins" by Werner and I did notice they had nearly the same type of patrol occur with a bunch of duds as well at the same time. I think Mike's case may be a bit more exaggerated in terms of unfortunate results, but it can happen (historically). Duds are more likely to occur very early, but the dud chances are much less later on.

Eion -- I really appreciate and 'feel' your anti-fun comment. That is part of the allure of this game, because the game will cause some palatable frustration if things go awry. One gets emotionally drawn into their patrols and you can bet any U-boat captain is going to be extremely PO'd if their eels don't detonate. I'm sure during our tournament play coming up at CSW Expo -- there will be many of cursing heard from the tables during play (especially for the 1939 period!). Speaking for myself, I'd be hitting the frick'n ceiling and cursing to the Nth degree!!

I hope this helps!

P.S. There is a 'tourney' format being playtested right now amongst four players, so we may have more AARs to share later if guys are interested. Greg is preparing a special HUNTERS tournament venue for CSW Expo 2012 in which he will have a big display board to track results.
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Edgar Gallego
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consimworld wrote:

P.S. There is a 'tourney' format being playtested right now amongst four players, so we may have more AARs to share later if guys are interested. Greg is preparing a special HUNTERS tournament venue for CSW Expo 2012 in which he will have a big display board to track results.


Just curious: How many players can play at same time? I read that one can roll for the other, can 4 play at same time with the same game?
 
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Steve Herron
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Thanks for the report, hope to get it when it comes out.
PS: With Steel Wolves & U-boat Leader out it was an excellent idea to design the game covering a single U-boat.
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Clay Cooper
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Thanks - got it pre-ordered and am looking forward to getting it on the table.
 
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Matthew Jones
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Eoin Corrigan wrote:
the apparent prevalence of dud torpedoes, notwithstanding the historical basis of the rule, could be anti-fun.


Very true, just take a minute to reflect on how anti-fun it would have been to be a submariner (on whoever's side) when the torpedo was a dud.

PS- I know you have considered it, it just always takes me aback to imagine how frustrating and hence dangerous sub warfare could be.
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John Kranz
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Sigrdrifa wrote:
PS- I know you have considered it, it just always takes me aback to imagine how frustrating and hence dangerous sub warfare could be.

Amen. If you haven't already, by all means please read IRON COFFINS. Truly an unbelievable account and memoir.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/030681160X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?...
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John Kranz
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Edgar Gallego wrote:
Just curious: How many players can play at same time? I read that one can roll for the other, can 4 play at same time with the same game?

Edgar -- it sounds like you may have read the Designer Notes where Greg talks about how much fun it was when the other player would roll to resolve the escort attacks, etc. For four to play at the same time, you can simply double-up on the concept Greg speaks to (which is also covered in the rules), but I suspect players may want to command their own U-Boats and compare results within the confines of the various tournament play formats we provide. We will also be hosting tournaments online once the game is released.
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Phil Miller
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I just pre-ordered this as the game looks fantastic. Any idea when the rules will be posted?

Thanks, and congrats on reaching the P500!

-Phil
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Chick Lewis
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I just ordered 'Iron Coffins', a used paperback for $4 including shipping.

I am certain I read it as a kid, but will certainly enjoy reading it again now, in preparation for this game.
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John Kranz
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PhilFromIT wrote:
I just pre-ordered this as the game looks fantastic. Any idea when the rules will be posted?

Hi, Phil. First, thanks for your preorder!

The rules are literally the last thing I work on after all components, etc. but I'll be sure to post them when I feel they are ship-shape (please excuse the pun!).
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John Kranz
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chicklewis wrote:
I just ordered 'Iron Coffins', a used paperback for $4 including shipping. I am certain I read it as a kid, but will certainly enjoy reading it again now, in preparation for this game.

Yes, please do tell me when you start reading it. A very gripping memoir that is the perfect mood-setter for this game!
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Phil Miller
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consimworld wrote:
PhilFromIT wrote:
I just pre-ordered this as the game looks fantastic. Any idea when the rules will be posted?

Hi, Phil. First, thanks for your preorder!

The rules are literally the last thing I work on after all components, etc. but I'll be sure to post them when I feel they are ship-shape (please excuse the pun!).


No problem. I'd rather wait to see a complete rule book than one that has been rushed and full of errors.

-Phil
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John Kranz
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PhilFromIT wrote:
No problem. I'd rather wait to see a complete rule book than one that has been rushed and full of errors.

P-R-E-C-I-S-E-L-Y !!
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Pablo Merighi
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Another suggested reading while we wait!!
http://www.ospreypublishing.com
Osprey Publishing - Elite 183 - U-boat Tactics in World War II
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Lance G
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You guys got me all fired up again!!!
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Chris F.
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consimworld wrote:
The two forward eels are fired: 1 misses (10) but the other hits (7) but no explosion! Another dud (dud roll 1). Korth mentally makes note of this issue for his report to the Admiral when the patrol is over.
I'm curious - how would the u-boat commander know the difference between a miss and a hit-with-no-explosion? Sonar, I guess? (Wikipedia is blacked-out for now...)
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Phil Miller
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cjfoster wrote:
consimworld wrote:
The two forward eels are fired: 1 misses (10) but the other hits (7) but no explosion! Another dud (dud roll 1). Korth mentally makes note of this issue for his report to the Admiral when the patrol is over.
I'm curious - how would the u-boat commander know the difference between a miss and a hit-with-no-explosion? Sonar, I guess? (Wikipedia is blacked-out for now...)


Yeah I would assume a loud metallic "thud" heard on the hydrophone.

Btw, you can still get to most wikipedia pages via google cache...

-Phil
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Bob
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Do we have an approximate release date?

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