Operation Drumbeat: A Solitaire Wargame of U-Boats Prowling America’s Shores

48 Crewmen          1 U-boat          Numerous Targets

Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Germany swiftly joined its Axis partner and declared war on the United States on Dec. 11, 1941. Admiral Karl Dönitz, commander of Germany’s much-feared u-boat fleet, altered his strategy to bring the maritime war to America’s east coast. Where once he relied on German submarines preying on supply convoys on the open Atlantic Ocean, now he deployed long-range Type-IX u-boats to prowl the American coastal waters along which freighters and tankers sailed to convoy assembly points in the Canadian maritime.

Initially u-boat commanders took advantage of America’s unprepared defenses, hunting easy targets with few patrols and even coastal cities lit up, ignoring wartime blackout precautions; but the Americans quickly mustered their forces for war, increasing their patrols by aircraft and destroyers and ultimately chasing the German u-boats from the East Coast and back into wolf pack formations to prowl the North Atlantic once again.

Operation Drumbeat is a solitaire game in which a player assumes the role of a u-boat commander sent to hunt shipping along America’s East Coast in early 1942. The player plots a course on a grid map like the ones used by German submarine captains to travel to the patrol area and hunt targets. A series of charts helps simulate the chances of running into American patrols, encountering freighters and tankers, and attacking them with torpedoes and deck guns. Each turn equals one day; the player tracks the u-boat’s progress in a log much like actual German submarine captains used. How many ships can a captain sink before his u-boat runs out of torpedoes…or luck?

Praise for Operation Drumbeat:

“Classic and new at the same time, Operation Drumbeat is a must-have for the solo gamer!”
– John Fiore, Solo Nexus

“Enough history and rules to make it interesting and not bog you down…. The game has high replay value…. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. You get a lot of value for only a few dollars outlay.”
– Gunther B.