Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Game Report - 12 May 2015 - Duel in the Dark

My good friend Chris is a co-founder of the local board games club, Posh Games. While I'm not a regular attender, Chris does drop around occasionally for a game, and in conversation during a game of Lords of Waterdeep the other Sunday, we got to discussing the insane price of out-of-print games. I happened to mention "Duel in the Dark" as an example, and to my surprise, Chris owns a copy. So, while James was at ceicket (about 5 mins up the road from Chris') I finally got to play it. I've wanted to play this excellent game of the Bomber Command raids on Germany since one of the first Meeples episodes I ever listened to reviewed it, and I have to say it didn't disappoint.

For a really detailed review, I'd strongly recommend that episode of Meeples. In short, each mission pits a British bomber raid, plotted ahead of time on a hex board using movement cards, with prior knowledge of weather etc but not defences, against German fighters and flak.

For my first time, I didn't do too badly as the British: I feinted towards the Ruhr with the Mosquito Pathfinders, and curved north of the Ruhr and Kassel, past Hamburg (a bit of a poor routing choice with hindsight, given the dense concentrations of flak and searchlights along the Rhine: I should have gone outbound over the much more lightly defended Kassel) before bombing a well-marked Lubeck,

On the good side the wind was blowing from the NE, which meant that once the German fighters had bitten on the the feint they had no choice to land and refuel, so my actual bombing run was cloud-free (thanks to a fortuitous change of wind blowing the clouds clear of Lubeck), uncontested (barring the aforementioned flak and searchlights) and worth 20VP. I took advantage of the rule that allows me to replot my homeward route, and elected for a fast run straight out across the North Sea with the Mosquito providing escort. Again, I think with hindsight I could have eked out a few VPs by better use of the Mossie, but in the end Chris won by 6, largely due to the amount of flak I flew through.

As far as the theme of the game goes: as I think I may have observed in the past, whatever one's views on the rightness or otherwise of the WW2 bomber offensive, I salute as among the bravest of the brave, the young men that willingly got into our aircraft night after night, knowing all too clearly the odds on their return from the count of empty chairs at their mess, to carry the war to the enemy in aircraft protected by a couple of mm of aluminium.


  1. I've been looking at this game for a while - Is there anywhere in the UK I can pick up a copy?

  2. This game has been languishing on the shelf for years, rarely getting an airing. It was good to get it out and give it a play, hopefully we will have more chances in the future.

    Can't believe how much it is going for. But I'm not selling! :)

  3. I've been wanting to give this game a go ever since I heard that episode too.

  4. I got this game for a birthday a few years back, and have only be able to manage a single solo game (which the scripted bombers allow for), and it was quite fun plus the components are gorgeous.

    There are a couple of expansions, one dealing with early war, and one with the "baby blitz" allowing the Germans to give the British some return ordinance.

    Main game currently only USD $25 on Amazon.com...


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