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Schnell Boats: Scourge of the English Channel is a solitaire, tactical-level wargame. You, as Kommandant, will lead a squadron of 4 German Kriegsmarine torpedo boats or experimental hydrofoil boats on night missions against Allied forces in the English Channel during 1943-1944.
Sleek, fast, and heavily-armed, German Kriegsmarine Schnell Boats (or Schnellboote) were a feared and respected adversary which exacted a heavy toll on Allied shipping.
Schnell Boats covers the months from June, 1943 to June, 1944. Based in Cherbourg, France, your primary goal is to intercept and sink as many Allied cargo ships and tankers as possible in an attempt to prevent them from transporting troops and supplies to England. But that’s easier said than done, as enemy air patrols and Royal Navy gun boats will do their best to destroy you and your squadron.
You may also occasionally be assigned a special mission, such as minelaying or downed Luftwaffe pilot search and rescue. Other hazards you and your squadron will likely face are bad weather with heavy seas and a multitude of random events.
Schnell Boats models 2 playable boat types- the S-100, and the experimental Projekt 5b Tragflügelboot. There are up to 14 individual Schnell Boat crewmen or crews which may be injured or killed during missions, but if they do survive long enough, their skills will improve. The game also models individual Schnell Boat equipment and components, such as radio, engines, cannons, bilge pumps, etc. These components may be damaged or destroyed, perhaps forcing your Schnell Boat squadron to break off the patrol early, or maybe even disabling one of your boats in the heat of battle. Also modeled is Schnell Boat squadron management, allowing you to conduct boat assignments and repairs.
As a Schnell Boat Kommandant, your ultimate goal is to survive for up to 12 months, while at the same time destroying as many Allied ships as possible without suffering too many squadron losses yourself. But be careful- play recklessly and lose too many boats and you may find yourself relieved of command and sent back to Germany, or even court-martialed and sent to fight on the front lines as an infantry soldier! But do well and you will earn medals, Knowing you successfully served the Fatherland.
Schnell Boats was designed to be detailed, yet remain accessible to even new players with no prior wargaming experience. Gameplay has been greatly streamlined by avoiding the need to memorize a bunch of complicated rules, yet it still retains a certain level of content, detail, and unpredictability which add to replayability. Most patrols can be completed within 20-30 minutes, with the occasional 1-hour patrol if multiple enemy convoys are encountered. The option to play quicker Short and Medium campaign games of 4 or 8 months is also included. One thing is certain- no two missions will ever play the same!
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