SEELÖWE: The German Invasion of Britain, 1940, is a hypothetical (what if?) simulation, based on the KURSK Game System, of a German invasion of the British Isles following the Fall of France. SEELÖWE was designed by John Michael Young, and published in 1974 by Simulations Publications, Incorporated (SPI).


Hitler and members of the OKH.
SEELÖWE is a quasi-historical (fantasy) simulation of the proposed, but never executed, German cross-Channel invasion of Britain in the fall of 1940. Unlike the majority of hypothetical situations that somehow show up as game designs, this one, at least, has some basis in fact. It is clear, for example, that — in the months immediately following France’s surrender — the OKH did at least consider the feasibility of a major seaborne attack against England. However, the German High Command believed, rightly, that such an amphibious operation was fraught with risk, even under the best of circumstances. Thus, the OKH and Hitler both concluded that, at a minimum, a cross-Channel assault against Britain would demand that two preliminary conditions be met before such an operation could be seriously even contemplated. First, such an invasion would require that the Luftwaffe decisively defeat the RAF and drive it out of range of the Channel Coast; and second, it would also require that the Germans devise a foolproof method for neutralizing the powerful British Royal Navy. An unfettered Royal Navy would represent an enormous danger to the initial German assault, and — even if the first landings were successful — to the Wehrmacht’s follow up efforts to reinforce and resupply German troops once they had gained a beachhead in England. Given the outcome of the “Battle of Britain” and the many other obvious risks, it is not difficult to see why Hitler decided not to invade Britain. Nonetheless, the tenuousness of the British military situation following the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk does make this hypothetical situation interesting. What would have happened if the preconditions for a German invasion had actually been met, and the Wehrmacht had managed to land on the English Coast in September 1940? John Young’s game, SEELÖWE, attempts to answer that question.


SEELÖWE is a two-player operational (regiment/brigade/division) level simulation of the planned-for, but never executed invasion of England in the summer/fall of 1940. Since the Germans would not have attempted an invasion as long as the Royal Navy and the RAF were still in a position to seriously challenge their cross-Channel operations, the game begins at the point at which (hypothetically-speaking) both of these bulwarks of the British defense have been either eliminated or, at least, largely neutralized. Thus, the vessels of the Royal Navy play no role at all in the game, and the strength of the RAF is represented as being significantly diminished prior to the beginning of the German invasion. To describe SEELÖWE as an “invasion” game, however, is probably still a bit misleading. This is because the German landings, at least in the “Historical” Scenarios, are all unopposed; which is to say: the game begins with the Wehrmacht simply wading ashore without being obliged to overcome any serious resistance at all from the British army. And although this unexciting start to Hitler’s planned air and sea-borne campaign against Britain is probably justified from a historical standpoint, it does, nonetheless, impart to the game a rather unusual play dynamic.

For starters, this means that any “drama” associated with the German invasion actually occurs in the game turns following the initial landings; hence, instead of worrying about the fate of his first-wave invasion forces, the German player will usually find himself mainly concerned with the turn-by-turn success of his reinforcing “follow-up” waves in reaching England. Available German sealift is limited and, to add the the German player's worries, it is vulnerable both to British air attacks and, more importantly, to the vagaries of Channel weather (more on this, later). Thus, SEELÖWE is not so much concerned with illustrating the possible challenges that the Germans might encounter in gaining a lodgment on the southern coast of England, as it is in simulating the Germans’ problems building-up and then expanding their beachheads once the first landings had actually come ashore. This makes a certain amount of sense, viewed strictly from a design standpoint, because the early German follow-up operations represent, for both sides, the most critical phase of Hitler’s plan: after all, it would be during this relatively short time period that the German invasion force would be most vulnerable to a British counterattack. Not surprisingly then, the German problems actually simulated in the game are primarily those concerned with expanding and linking-up the initial beachheads as quickly as possible, followed by the seizure of useable ports, and then by the rapid build-up of the combat forces necessary for a future major push into the English interior. In contrast, the British challenges presented in SEELÖWE are essentially those of containing and limiting the build-up of German forces in the south, and then of assembling and transporting British units into positions from which they could launch attacks against the Nazi invaders.

Because any German invasion of Britain would begin with landings aimed at seizing English ports directly opposite the French Coast, SEELÖWE is played on a two-color hexagonal map of England [interestingly, as is the case with 'NORMANDY', the SPIUK version of the game uses a more colorful map than the US game] which covers most of the southern coastline and which stretches from the Channel Coast in the south to Birmingham in the north. Each map hex is five miles from edge to edge, and there are only six types of terrain represented in the game: clear/beach, hill, marsh, river (hex sides), all sea, and cities. There is also an “Extended Range” line printed on the game map which indicates the boundary between normal and extended range Luftwaffe missions over southern England. Terrain effects are the usual combination of variable movement costs and modifications for combat die rolls (+2, in this case). However, the game design does include one ingenious wrinkle when it comes to terrain: for purposes of movement (only), British units — as well as German mountain, paratroop, and air-landing units — treat all terrain on the map, including river hex-sides, as clear hexes; this means that terrain effects apply only to regular Wehrmacht combat and supply units. [Please note that certain hexes on the original map were printed with the wrong terrain symbols; this error, however, has been corrected in the game’s errata.] The matte-finished game counters represent the various combat units (as well as abstract air assets and British partisans) that potentially could have taken part in the battle for England. A game turn in SEELÖWE is equivalent to two days of real time, and each of the game’s several scenarios is fifteen turns (30 days) long.

The mechanics of play in SEELÖWE will, in most cases, be familiar to experienced players. Ground movement follows the usual KURSK pattern: an initial movement phase, followed by a second movement phase for eligible mechanized units. In addition, the British player (only) may transport units up to thirty hexes by rail. However, because units traveling by rail must expend one full turn to entrain and another to detrain, most rail movement will be confined to those British units entering the game as reinforcements after turn one. As might be expected, the action of the game is organized around traditionally-structured game turns which are further divided into two asymmetrical (Igo-Ugo) player turns. Each game turn follows a set sequence of player actions — the German player is always the first to act — and begins with the Weather Phase (the German player rolls to determine weather for the entire game turn). Next, the German player executes his Landing Phase, followed by his Reinforcement Phase, the Supply Judgment Phase, the German Air Attack Phase, the Initial Movement Phase, the Combat Phase, the German Mechanized Movement Phase, the German Disruption Removal Phase, and finally, the Embarkation Phase. The British player turn is next and proceeds as follows: British Reinforcement Phase; Unit Activation Phase; Supply Judgment Phase; Air Attack Phase; British Initial Movement and Rail Movement Phase; Combat Phase; British Mechanized Movement Phase; Entraining/Detraining Phase; and the British Disruption Removal Phase.

Not surprisingly — given that all but one of the game’s scenarios takes place in September and we are, after all, talking about the English Channel — weather plays a significant role in the operations of both sides in SEELÖWE. Starting with turn two, the German player begins the play sequence by rolling a single die; the outcome of which determines weather conditions for both players for the balance of the game turn. These weather conditions will fall into one of four categories: Clear (C) — no restrictions on air or naval operations; Rough (R) — no restriction on air operations, but German units transported by sea may only disembark in ports; Rough with “zero” Visibility (RV) — no air missions permitted and disembarkation is restricted (as before) to ports; and Storm with “zero” Visibility (SV) — no air missions allowed and German units already at sea may not disembark, but must remain at sea until the weather changes for the better. To add to the German player’s problems, on game turn seven — the turn immediately after he receives a big influx of fresh combat units and supplies, the weather table changes for the worse. By way of illustration, beginning on turn seven, the chance of a Clear Weather die roll drops from 33% to 16%, and the chance of a “0” Visibility game turn increases from 33% to 50%.

Britsh Home Guard, London, 1940.
One interesting feature of the SEELÖWE game system — particularly, given the preceding discussion of weather effects — is the two-stage procedure required to transport most German follow-up combat units and supplies across the English Channel. Although the German player has a modest amount of airlift capacity, the bulk of the invasion force’s reinforcements will inevitably be transferred from French ports to Britain using naval transport. However, to successfully get his reinforcements across the Channel, the German player must first organize his combat and supply units into “Waves” based on his current sealift capacity (reckoned in terms of combat factors). Once a Wave has been created, the actual naval transfer requires, at a minimum, two game turns to complete; which is to say: the German player embarks his units at the end of one game turn, and disembarks those same units (if possible) at the beginning of a subsequent turn. For example, in the Navy Scenario, the Germans may embark up to fourteen points worth of combat units in the first, second, and third Waves of reinforcements following the invasion. The main difficulty with this multi-turn process is that all of the units in one Wave must be completely landed (whether in England or back in France), before the next Wave can be loaded onto transports. What this actually means to the flow of the game is that on “clear visibility” game turns, the RAF may be able to interfere with German landings by attacking and disrupting units at sea; more importantly, however, in “rough” weather, already embarked German units may only land at ports; and in “stormy” weather, German units may not land at all, but, instead, must remain at sea until the weather improves. Thus, although the transfer of German reinforcements and supplies from France to England can require as few as two game turns, the actual process may, depending on either the success of the RAF or the weather conditions in the Channel, take considerably longer.

British Defiant Squadron.
The combat rules in SEELÖWE are pretty much what one would expect from a game of this sort. Combat between adjacent enemy units is always voluntary, and — fortunately for the British player’s defensive plans — “overruns” are not included as part of the game’s movement or combat rules. Defending stacks must be attacked as a unitary whole; in contrast, different units in an attacking stack may choose to attack the same or a different adjacent hex, or even to make no attack at all. One feature that does set SEELÖWE somewhat apart from other similarly-scaled designs, however, is its Combat Results Table (CRT). Although Retreats and Exchanges tend to predominate among the possible combat outcomes of all but high-odds attacks, Defender Eliminated (DE) results — unlike the combat outcomes that show up on the CRTs of most other members of the KURSK family of games — first appear at odds as low as three-to-one. This means that SEELÖWE is actually surprisingly bloody when compared to other comparable SPI games. The zone of control (ZOC) rules are also relatively standard fare for World War II operational-level games from this period: ZOCs are semi-rigid and “sticky,” and block both enemy supply paths and retreat routes. All units pay two extra movement points to enter, and one extra movement point to leave an enemy ZOC, and mechanized units may, assuming that they have sufficient movement points, move through enemy ZOCs.

German Wehrmacht infantry assault Gruppe.
Although there is a great deal that is relatively commonplace about Young’s basic game platform, there are also a few design elements — in addition to the unusual terrain rules mentioned above — that make the play of SEELÖWE an intriguing (if frustrating) challenge for both sides. To begin with, unlike the other members of the KURSK family of games, stacking for both sides is limited to only two units per hex (German supply units are exempt from this rule). Also, although there is a “Free Deployment” option (which is highly recommended, by the way) in both the standard July and September “Historical” Scenarios, the starting positions for all British combat units as well as the allowed German invasion zones (seven are actually marked on the map, but only certain zones may be used in each scenario) are pre-designated prior to the start of play. Moreover, British movement is severely restricted during the first few turns of the game; in fact, almost two-thirds of the British player’s on-map units begin the game “frozen” in their starting hexes; furthermore, until turn five — when this restriction is finally lifted — each of these frozen units requires an “activation” die roll of 1 or 2 in order to be released and allowed to move normally. And perhaps as an acknowledgment of Churchill’s “We Shall Never Surrender” speech, the game also includes rules covering local militias and partisans; however, the actual effect on play of these British irregular forces, in most cases, is negligible.

The air rules in SEELÖWE are quite unusual. Unlike the air subroutines in other operational-level SPI games in which air units may be assigned to perform one of several different tasks, in this game, air power really has only one mission: to deny mobility to key enemy units by disrupting them through air strikes. That is to say: the effect of air attacks, when successful, is to reduce the movement allowance of affected enemy combat units to only one hex per movement phase. And because the British player possesses very few powerful combat units to start with, German air attacks tend to seriously retard the Commonwealth player’s ability to assemble the forces necessary for a credible counterattack against the invasion beachheads. The powerful British 1st Motorized Infantry Division, for example, will probably be attacked on every game turn that the Luftwaffe can fly. The Germans, on the other hand, have air-related problems of their own: as noted previously, the RAF can, and usually will, attack sea-borne follow-up waves, rather than the German units that are already ashore, in an effort to delay or turn back the German player’s seaborne reinforcements before they can actually land in England. Also, it should be noted that, although there are no provisions for counter-air attacks in SEELÖWE, air missions nonetheless still carry with them a certain amount of risk for the attacker: every time an air attack is conducted (whatever the odds), the phasing player takes a chance on losing one of his air units. Moreover, the likelihood of such losses double from 16% to 33% whenever air missions are conducted at “extended” rather than at normal range.

Britsh Home Guard prepare defenses.
The supply rules in SEELÖWE are, on the whole, both logical and comparatively straight forward; and although certain elements of this important part of the game system will immediately be recognizable to most experienced players, other aspects will be relatively unfamiliar. German units, for instance, can only be in one of three supply states: supplied (normal attack and defense strength), unsupplied (zero attack strength, but defend at full strength), or isolated (zero attack strength, defense strength is halved); British units, on the other hand, can only be either supplied or isolated. Interestingly, the game’s supply rules — at least when it comes to the Germans — seem to have been at least partially lifted from PANZER ARMEE AFRIKA (1973). In fact, this design element represents the single biggest advantage in the game for an otherwise badly out-numbered and out-classed British army. The reason for this is simple: British combat units are supplied (for all purposes) so long as they can trace a supply path through any unblocked line of hexes (no matter how circuitous) which ultimately connects with the northern or western map-edge or, alternatively, to any friendly-city that is two or more hexes in size; German combat units, on the other hand, except for the first “invasion” game turn during which all landing units are in “attack” supply, are completely dependent on supply units to power their offensive operations. Thus, while German units within three hexes of a friendly-controlled port are considered unsupplied rather than isolated, for the Wehrmacht to actually attack a British-occupied hex, the attacking Germans must all be within five hexes of a supply unit and, furthermore, the supporting supply unit must then be expended (removed from play) at the end of the combat phase. The good news for the German player is that a single supply unit can sustain any number of different attacks (shades of AFRIKA KORPS), but only so long as all of the attacking German units are within the five-hex supply radius of the supporting supply unit. The bad news is that the Germans start the game with only three supply units and DO NOT receive any more until the sixth game turn, at which point ten additional supply counters finally appear in France ready for transport to Britain. This means, in essence, that the German player — even taking into account the special invasion turn "automatic" supply rule — may not support attacks during more than four of the first five game turns; in addition, if weather conditions do not cooperate, the Germans may be unable to freely conduct new assaults against British positions even after new supply units enter play on turn six. This built-in limit on German supply capacity rather than the combat power of the British army — particularly when England’s defenses are at their weakest and most disorganized — is, without doubt, the single greatest obstacle in the German player’s path to achieving a quick knockout against the beleaguered British during the early stages of the game.

The winner of SEELÖWE is determined both by the number of German-controlled British ports, and by the ratio of (supplied or unsupplied, but not isolated) German versus British combat strength points present in England at the end of the game. By way of example: German control of eight ports with a one-to-one or better ratio of combat strength points is good enough for a Substantive German Victory; ten controlled ports, and a two-to-one or better ratio of German to British combat factors, on the other hand, is the minimum requirement necessary to give the German player a Decisive win.

German Junkers Stuka.
SEELÖWE offers three different invasion scenarios, each of which is fifteen turns in length: the OKH “Dream” (September) Scenario — this is what the German high command would like to have done; the Navy (September) Scenario — this is what the Kriegsmarine (German navy) was more likely capable of; and the German “Early” (July) Scenario — this is what might have been possible if the OKH had decided on an ad hoc post-Dunkirk, amphibious assault. In addition, as a means of increasing the scope and variability of the basic simulation, players can also experiment with a “Free Deployment” option as a substitute for the set-up and invasion beach restrictions mandated in the “Historical” game.


HMS Nelson battleship, flagship of
Home Fleet Commander Admiral Forbes.
Of all of John Michael Young’s many game designs, this one and the S&T #39 magazine game, THE FALL OF ROME are probably the two that I like least. In the case of the largely unplayable THE FALL OF ROME, I seem to be in agreement with the general consensus within the hobby; however, when it comes to SEELÖWE, my generally unfavorable opinion — at least, based on the game’s relatively impressive “Geek” rating of 6.23 — appears very much to be a minority viewpoint. This puts me in an awkward spot because when it comes to game designers, both past and present, John Michael Young is one of my all-time favorites. Nonetheless, SEELÖWE, despite displaying a number of really quite ingenious design touches, is still an oddly unsatisfying game. And even more distressing — at least to me — is the fact that it is unsatisfying on several different levels.

First, there is the real versus the potential scope of the game. What I mean by this is that, although much of southern England is depicted on the map sheet, very little of the playing area will actually see much, if any, action in the course of a typical game. In point of fact, quite a lot of the map surface seems to serve little purpose other than to display terrain over which the British army must trudge during its determined, but usually painfully-slow march to the coast. The problem, for both players, is that while the Germans can benefit from driving inland — capturing part or all of Greater London, for example — given the game’s victory conditions, there really is no reason for the Wehrmacht to do so. Thus, the opportunity presented in the game for either side to experiment with unorthodox or creative tactics is really quite limited. In short, there is seldom much chance for truly clever play in SEELÖWE; once the Germans grab the ports they need for at least a Substantive Victory, they can simply turn their attention to building up their forces and methodically pushing inland, while picking off the odd British unit or two whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Winston Churchill during The Battle of Britain.
Second, there is the “luck” factor. Obviously, almost all wargames incorporate “chance” in one form or another into their design platforms. In SEELÖWE, however, luck exerts a disproportionate — I would even say an excessive — amount of influence over the flow and tempo of the game. This factor significantly affects the narrative arc of the game starting with the critical, but unpredictable British “unit activation” die rolls on turns one through four. Moreover, if the German player is treated to better-than-average weather conditions in the Channel, particularly after the flood of German reinforcements belatedly arrive on turn six, then the British player will be hard-pressed to prevent the Wehrmacht from gaining at least a Substantive Victory; and the British commander can almost certainly put aside any thoughts about scoring a win for King and Country. On the other hand, if the German player is particularly unlucky with his weather rolls, then his invasion force will be forced to sit impotently on the English coast, while stormy weather in the Channel blockades both his reinforcements and his desperately-needed supplies back in French ports where they can do him no good.

RAF C-I-C, Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding
Finally, there is the issue of the underlying premise of the game. By completely eliminating the Royal Navy as a factor in the battle for England, the designer more-or-less abandons any pretense of presenting SEELÖWE as a plausible historical simulation and, instead, opts to make the strategic situation for the British — which, without the determined intervention of the Home Fleet, would probably have been untenable — as interesting (purely in game terms) as possible. This problem, of course, is not really the fault of the designer; the historical record of amphibious operations, both in the Pacific and in the European Theaters, shows pretty conclusively that, if a powerful enemy force was able to establish a reasonably secure, supplied beachhead during the critical first few days of a sea-borne invasion, the defender would not subsequently be able to drive the invaders back into the sea. This last point brings me to my main complaint about the game’s design; that is: since the basic premise for SEELÖWE is that the Wehrmacht will land successfully in England, and, once ashore, will not have to contend with any interference from the Royal Navy, it seems reasonable — at least to me — that the game would have been far better if it had been lengthened to cover the battle for the English heartland. The challenges to both belligerents implicit in the planning and conduct, especially in winter, of a protracted ground campaign — besides introducing both operational depth and scope for maneuver into the design — would also have posed, I think, a much more interesting set of game problems for the players to solve than the ones actually presented in the standard game. That being said, there are many gamers (perhaps, even a majority) who will disagree with me on some or all of these criticisms; I completely understand their point of view, even if I don't share it; to such players, no changes or improvements are necessary because they like the game just the way it is.

Luftwaffe leader Hermann Goering
 speaking to German fighter pilots, 1940.
In accounting for the standing of SEELÖWE in the eyes of many contemporary gamers, I suspect that at least part of the popularity that SEELÖWE continues to enjoy probably stems from the fact that it has had very little real competition when it comes to other titles on the same topic. Marc W. Miller’s Operation Seelöwe — one of the three games that, along with two different air campaign treatments of The Battle of Britain, make up GDW’s THEIR FINEST HOUR (1976) — is certainly not a viable alternative. This is because despite several rules revisions and reams of post-publication errata, it still comes perilously close to being unplayable, even for experienced and dedicated EUROPA fans. FIGHT ON THE BEACHES (1985) — which was the insert game in The Wargamer #40 — is not a terrible rendition of the German plan for the amphibious assault against England; nonetheless, the map is a big disappointment and the air rules can lead to some very odd results; perhaps most frustrating of all, however, is the fact that the newer title, by completely ignoring the British Home Fleet, largely retraces the same path as Young’s version, yet fails to match many of the clever design elements that characterize the earlier SPI game. Undoubtedly, of the several games depicting the (hypothetical) German invasion of England that have followed the publication of SEELÖWE, the best one — at least, that I know of — is probably GMT’s BRITAIN STANDS ALONE (1996). Designed by Jim Werbaneth, this integrated air-sea-land simulation — like the 1976 game published by GDW — restores the Royal Navy (even if it seems somewhat weakened) and the Kriegsmarine to the design mix and, in the process, adds a significant amount of additional historical texture to the game’s air-sea operations. Admittedly, the complicated nature of the naval subroutine can be a little cumbersome, but the game plays well (if not particularly quickly) and tends to produce historically plausible battlefield results. The only real problem with BRITAIN STANDS ALONE is that, because of the “guess/double-guess” multi-step nature of naval missions and interceptions, it is virtually impossible to play — or, for that matter, to really even experiment with — as a solitaire game.

Humber armored vehicle, Yorkshire.
In the end, I suppose that I would have to give SEELÖWE a “lukewarm” recommendation. BRITAIN STANDS ALONE is undoubtedly a better and more compelling historical simulation, particularly for experienced players; on the other hand, the less detailed SPI game is probably both more accessible to the typical gamer and, because of its clear-cut advantage when it comes to solitaire action, also probably much more likely to see multiple replays. Finally, for those gamers who, like me, are interested in a post-invasion scenario for John Young’s design that picks up where the basic game leaves off, A. McGee has designed a Variant for SEELÖWE titled “The Lion’s Tail.” Instructions for this intriguing alternative to the standard game can be found at: http://www.grognard.com/zines/ph/p1106.txt .

Design Characteristics:

  • Time Scale: 2 days per game turn
  • Map Scale: 5 miles per hex
  • Unit Size: regiment/brigade/division
  • Unit Types: armor/panzer, mechanized infantry, amphibious armor, infantry, mountain infantry, motorized infantry, partisan, parachute infantry, airlanding, air unit, supply, and information counters
  • Number of Players: two
  • Complexity: average
  • Solitaire Suitability: high
  • Average Playing Time: 2-3 + hours (depending on scenario)

Game Components:

  • One 23” x 28” hexagonal grid Map Sheet (with Turn Record/Reinforcement Track, Scenario OOB Set Up Locations, German Invasion Boxes, and German and British Available Units Holding Boxes incorporated)
  • 200 ½” cardboard Counters
  • One 6” x 11½ ” accordion-fold Rules Booklet
  • Two 6¾” x 6¾” combined Combat Results and Air Attack Tables
  • One 6¾” x 9½” combined Terrain and Supply Effects Chart
  • One 8½” x 11” back-printed combined Player Notes, Designer’s Notes and Errata Sheet
  • One small six-sided Die
  • One SPI 12” x 15” x 1” flat 24 compartment plastic Game Box (with clear compartment tray covers) and clear plastic game cover with Title Sheet

Recommended Reading

These titles are recommended for those readers interested in further historical background.


  • Another great review! I like the larger format! I enjoy the personal comments and the detailed sequence of play. Now if we could get examples of play with graphics......


  • Greetings Mark:

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Presently, I am experimenting with the Zun Tzu online game platform; once I get a little more experience with it, I will probably try my luck at using it to make a few "screen captures" to help illustrate my next Game Analysis piece.

    Thanks Again and Best Regards, Joe

  • Joe, this is another terrific in-depth review. Even though you think this title is a disappointment, you exert quite meticulous care in the analysis of the game to the same degree seen in other simulations you like much better. Such even-handed treatment is commendable and very much appreciated!

  • We're happy to have spotlighted this article today at consimworld.com. Keep up the great work, Joe!

  • Greetings Eric:

    As always, thank you for your kind words.

    I guess, when it comes to a 'Seelowe' invasion game, what I would really like to see is a simulation that combines the playability (both F-T-F and solitaire) of Young's design, with the historical detail and rich operational texture of Werbaneth's treatment.

    In the meantime, I suppose that SEELOWE and BRITAIN STANDS ALONE are just going to have to suffice for those players interested in this topic.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Greetings John:

    Thanks again for thinking of me and my eccentric ramblings; I sincerely appreciate your interest!

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Excellent review, it's obvious you put a lot of time into it and know the game well. I love reading about the old 70's SPI games. I think one under appreciated aspect is the graphics. Almost monochrome but very clean, unambiguous and playable. "FIGHT ON THE BEACHES" might play better but what miserable colors and graphics.SPI's approach (born out of limited budgets I'm sure)has aged well IMHO.
    One question I have is I own a copy of "BRITAIN STANDS ALONE" (there always seems to be cheap copies available on e-bay)but have never read the rules or played it. Graphically it is wonderful but I'm sorry to hear it's almost impossible to play solitaire. Has anybody ever come up with rule variants to make it playable solitaire?
    One other thing that always amused me about "BRITAIN STANDS ALONE" is that the German soldier who's face is visible on the cover bears a stunning resemblance to Gilbert Gottfried!
    Anyway again real nice job on the review.


  • Good Morning Eric:

    Thanks, as always for your encouraging comments.

    The solitaire problem with "BRITAIN STANDS ALONE" is a thorny one. I am reminded that one of my opponents once observed that trying to experiment solitaire with the GMT design was a lot like trying to play "Texas Hold'em" while always being able to see your opponent's hole cards. The main problem is that, for the Germans to succeed, they must rely heavily on misdirection and sheer bluff when it comes to their naval operations. And this requirement, when playing by oneself, is a problem, to say the least.

    So far as solitaire fixes for "BRITAIN STANDS ALONE" go, I don't know of any. However, I'm sure that Jim Werbaneth has probably encountered this question before, so he might actually have developed a solution to this flaw in his otherwise excellent design.

    Your comment about Gilbert Gottfried induced me to pull out my own copy of "BRITAIN STANDS ALONE" and, sure enough, you're right, one of the German soldiers really does look like Gilbert Gottfried. The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to believe that the use of familiar faces in his game graphics is a sort of "inside baseball" joke on Roger MacGowan's part. For example, if you look closely at the box lid of GDW's "OPERATION CRUSADER," you will recognize the tank commander's face as that of Michael Caine. I can't be sure, but it really looks to me like Roger lifted his idea for the cover art for Chadwick's game from the movie, "A Bridge Too Far."

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Wonderful review as always!
    Seelowe has been and still is a favorite of mine that I play each year. I have the UK version also with it's much more colorful map and added in rough/hills hexes-at least something different to play on.

  • Greetings Again Kim:

    Thanks, as always, for your kind words.

    I confess that I and my friends played this game quite a bit right after it came out; however, unlike a lot of Young's other titles it just didn't have any "staying power" for me. But then again, whenever I played the Germans, the weather always seemed to seriously gum up my plans, and when I played the British, the Germans always seemed to have great weather and my "activation" die rolls tended to be awful! In that respect, I suppose that I have to place this game in the same category as Dunnigan's "THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION": an interesting design, but very tough on the British if the "dice gods" are unkind.

    Best Regards, Joe

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