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The Hunters - 2nd Printing



PUBLISHED: 2013          DESIGNER: Gregory M. Smith            DISPLAY & COUNTER ART: Ian Wedge
ART DIRECTOR: Rodger B. MacGowan                                      PRODUCER: John Kranz             Regular Price: $45.00
Before you start to play The Hunters take a trip to page 22 of the Rules booklet. Here you will find an Historical Brief which lists the
top 10 U-Boat Commanders (Kommandants) and, more importantly the number of patrols and the number of ships though sank. This
totals out at: 99 Patrols and 331 ships sunk (1,902,073 tons). So you can see that, by reading this, or by skipping to the back of the book
you have a heck of a lot of game waiting for you. Just a side note (in case you don't read the Brief) Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock is
the Kommandant on whom the commander of the U-Boat in Das Boot was based. He also helped the actor who played the commandant,
Jürgen Prochnow,  get his portrayal as accurate as possible.
The HUNTERS is a solitaire game, not a game for 1 to N players, a game for just one player only - so no cheating ! As that player you
are, as you probably already guessed, the Kommandant of a German U-Boat and thus responsible for its success on missions and in the
sinking of enemy patrols and (mainly) merchant ships. Action takes place up until June 1943 and success is measured in tonnage sunk.
There are 8 U-Boat Display Mats, 4 double-sided card sheets similar to reference sheets to choose from. Each is of a different type of
U-Boat. its date of availability in the war shown under the Type (centre top) on the card. Each U-Boat is fairly similar but has some noticeable
differences due to the type andage of the boat. Everything you need to know about your command is on this sheet including a picture of the
U-Boat and several boxes forits weapons, engines, damage, flooding, miscellaneous (periscope, radio etc) model and random events. For WWII
historians, the U-Boat types and their entry into WWII are: Type VIIB (Sept '39). Type IXA (Sept '39), Type VIIA (Sept '39), Type IXB (April '40),
Type VIIC (Oct '40), Type IXC (May '41), Type VIID (Jan '42) and Type VIIC (May '43). The dates are important as the earlier dates offer more
Patrols while the later dates give you more technically advanced U-Boats. The dates on the U-Boats is also the start date of the first Patrol.

All U-Boats are represented in the game by small cardboard counters. Unlike most wargame counters these have no statistical information, just the
Type, picture and Date. In fact the majority of the counters in the game carry very little information, enough for the game sure, but you aren't hit
with  a number, letter or symbol in each corneras you are with so many counter based wargames. There are 280 counters of which 105 are Blank.

Now you select a U-Boat and name yourself as Kommandant - you do this for storytelling your career as a U-Boat commander, it has no effect on
the gameplay at all. With the U-Boat dispaly mat/sheet in front of you set it up by adding the correct counters to their respective boxes and load up
your torpedoes, creating a mix of G7a and G7e (Steam or Electric) torpedoes of your choice, within the parameters of the U-Boat's capabilities.
Now you are ready to proceed. I should just point out here, in case you think I have omitted to mention it, there is no board, just one Combat Mat
and eight cross-reference Charts.
These Charts are: Small Freighter Target Roster (optional), Large Freighter Target Roster (optional), Random Events, U-Boat Damage and Repair,
U-Boat Torpedo/Deck Gun Fire, Torpedo Dud, Attack Damage, Escort Detection, Escort/Air Attack, U-Boat Damage, Tanker Target Roster, North
America Target Roster, Capital Ship Target Roster, U-Boat Patrol Assignment, Aircraft Encounter, Flak Attack vs Aircraft, and the Encounter Chart.
As you can see there are many Charts and options to consider. Some are referenced according to Patrol, type etc and others by die roll. The dice with
the game are 2 white d6, 1 black d6, 1 white d10 and 1 black d10 and the resuklts odf using these may differ depending on the Chart used and how the
dice are read: 2d6 may give 02-12 or 11-66, a d10 gives result of 01-10, a d10+d10 gives 02-20 and d10+d10 may give a result of 01-100.
The U-Boat Combat Mat has four columns, one for each of 4 targets plus various boxes which include Hits on the U-Boat, Air Attacks and Range. There
is also a 10 point plan for Combat vs Escorted Ships. The U-Boat mats have box rows for the Atlantic, British Isles, British Islea M/A, North America,
Spanish Coast, Norway and the Arctic, along with the U-Boat's weaponry, engines etc, Rank, Medals and crew status.
The Rules Booklet is written extremely descriptively and well marked with bold headers and phases but it is long and requires constant reference. Although
it is clearly defined and spread out over pages 6 and 7 under the header Game Play Outline, I would have preferred a separate card with the sequence of play.
The HUNTERS is all about decision making and planning with a little random luck, good and bad, thrown in. Because you are playing against the
system and not other players the game can be played at a pace that suits you, yet somehow it manages to portray a realistic feeling of caution and
suspense. I could run through a turn but that would just be like me copying words from the rulesbook and no use to anyone as an idea as to whether
or not the game is enjoyable. To like and enjoy The HUNTERS as a game you first have to have an interest in commanding U-Boats, and also a
penchant for solitaire games - there are optional rules and suggestions for multi-player, tournament and other amended games on the last couple of
the 24 pages of rules.  There is very little actual book-keeping involved - just the Hunters Patrol Log Sheet to write on. Nearly all of the other book
work is carried out by moving counters on the displays and rolling dice to cross reference actions and results.
You WIN the game by completing the required number of missions/patrols. You LOSE by having your U-Boat sunk, having your Kommandant
killed in action or if he is captured after scuttling the U-Boat. There are degrees of Victory which are determined by the tonnage of enemy shipping


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015