Atlantic Sentinels is a solitaire, tactical level game placing you as the Senior Officer of the Escort, shepherding a convoy in the North Atlantic from the attacks of U-boats, both singly and in wolfpacks. You are in command of a convoy escort group, composed typically of 4-10 escort vessels guarding a convoy on its way across the Atlantic. Your mission is to protect as much Allied shipping as possible while simultaneously destroying as many U-boats as possible during the height of the U-boat threat – 1942 to early 1943.
Atlantic Sentinels provides players with a host of decisions as he is assigned to protect merchant convoys, typically ranging from 40 to 60 ships. The placement of escorts to offer front, rear, and flank protection to the convoy is complicated by the size of the convoy and available assets. Additional decisions must be made on where to place the escorts, which are equipped with Type 271 radars, the key to your defense.
As the game progresses, a player’s Escort Group may receive upgrades in the form of additional radars, HF/DF (High-Frequency Direction Finding) equipment, and possibly additional ships. Air support can be key, but until the CVE “jeep carriers” arrive, the “Black Pit” in the center of the Atlantic remains a high threat area.
Players will find it highly challenging to minimize convoy losses and keep them to an acceptable level.
Players may choose any of 9 historical Escort Groups (five British, four Canadian) armed with historical destroyers and corvettes.
These ships include:
B/C/D/E Classes DE
F Class DE
H Class DE
V&W Class DE
Town Class DE (American Lend Lease)
River Class FF
Flower Class Corvettes
Gameplay moves quickly, following a set sequence of events that are repeated until the end of the game. Once your initial Escort Group is set up, play proceeds by rolling for a convoy and escorting it across the Atlantic. Enemy forces range from single U-boats (typically a type VII, but possibly a Type IX) to entire wolfpacks. Wolfpacks increase in size (as they did historically) and will be your primary challenge. Encounters are randomly generated, ensuring no two careers will ever be the same. Weather can impact operations, as well as air support and crew upgrades due to experience. A logical but reasonably simple set of instructions bring the U-boats in to attack you from random directions, making your initial defensive array very important.
Of particular note is the game is designed to integrate with “The Hunters” if players wish to combine the games.
Atlantic Sentinels: North Atlantic Convoy Escorts 1942-43 is meant to be a highly playable and interesting solitaire game covering the actions an Escort Group would have to deal with in fighting the U-boat peril during convoy escort.
Complexity: 4 out of 10
Solitaire Suitability: 10 out of 10 (solitaire game design)
Time Scale: Semi-abstract (Convoy escort missions, 2 per month)
Map Scale: Abstract
Unit Scale: Individual escorts, U-boats, merchant ships (when targeted)
Players: One (with option for two)
Playing Time: 15 to 20 minutes (single mission), 6-8 hours (full career)
One Counter Sheet of 9/16″ unit-counters
Two Tactical Displays (double sided, one for Small Convoys, one for Large Convoys)
Three Player Aid Cards (double-sided)
Three Player Aid Cards (single-sided)
One Operational Display
One Mission Logsheet
Two 6-sided and two 10-sided dice
Designer: Gregory M. Smith
Artist: Nadir Elfarra, Brien Miller
Project Director: John Kranz