Available for Pre- Order. EXPECTED RELEASE 2023
Japan started World War II with 64 submarines; 21 were older, obsolete types that would be of little use other than training. Still, with over 40 first-line submarines, they posed a significant threat to the American Navy. Sadly, Japanese doctrinal use of their submarines never allowed them to fulfill their true potential. Forced into picket line duties, reconnaissance, and launching aircraft to bomb mainland America to little effect, the effort mainly dwarfed the meager results. It is interesting to think of what their submarine force could have achieved had it been wielded more like the American submarine force. Japanese pre-war thinking was that the submarine’s primary purpose was to conduct surprise attacks on the enemy’s main force, act as an advance force, and attack the enemy’s main force and provide reconnaissance. There was never an actual mention of using submarines for what they do best – interdicting an enemy’s lines of communications and logistics by destroying shipping. Still, the Empire had big plans for their submarine force.
Sensuikan: Japanese Fleet Submarines, 1941-45 is a solitaire, tactical level game that places you in command of a Japanese Fleet submarine from Pearl Harbor until the end of the war in 1945. After choosing a class, your mission is to conduct special missions as assigned by the Combined Fleet. The player will take his submarine on assigned missions with the objective to complete said missions, as opposed to necessarily sinking merchant vessels (although that is sometimes an objective). You will be advancing your crew quality and increasing your commander’s rank and awards—all while remembering you have to make it home amidst diminishing odds of survival as the war progresses.
Players will find it extremely challenging to survive an entire tour from 1941 to 1945, at which time, if still alive, you will surrender at port, having done your part on the front lines.
A fascinating historical addition to Sensuikan is three new modules: the Aircraft Module, the Midget Sub Module, and the Kaiten (suicide torpedo) Module. These modules facilitate play if a player is assigned to a submarine that is equipped with one of these special capabilities.
The system is packed with rich technical detail based on the various submarine classes used by Japan. There are no less than 17 classes of submarine to choose from. These include:
Types A, B, C
Junsen (3 classes)
Kaidai (5 classes)
Type B. 3 and Type C. 3
Sen-Toku and Sen-Taka Classes
Type A (Modified)
The different classes have historical equipment, sometimes including aircraft in watertight hangars, midget submarines, and later in the war, suicide torpedoes. You may be assigned to special missions based on your class’s capabilities – perhaps a midget submarine attack on Pearl Harbor or Australia, the bombing of the U.S. west coast, or possibly even an attack on the Panama Canal.
Besides the focus on hardware, the human aspect of the war is captured as the submarine Commander (the player) and his crew can improve over time via skills acquisition. In addition to having combat modules to facilitate ease of play, the game includes a major change by including the “Major Event” markers that track the war’s progress and possibly involve the player in supporting the Major Events as they occur.
Gameplay moves quickly, following a set sequence of events that are repeated until the end of the game. Once you have your initial assignment, your submarine goes on patrol, randomly rolling for events and encounters. Special emphasis is placed on successfully conducting any operations assigned to you by Higher Command, as implemented by the “Major Event” marker system. Although sinking enemy shipping is always encouraged, the game’s primary goal is to conduct operations as assigned to support the Main Force Fleet or other ongoing significant military operations.
This game should be highly accessible to those familiar with the “The Hunters” or “Silent Victory” game systems and is meant to be a historical yet highly playable and exciting solitaire game covering Japanese fleet boat operations in World War II.
Designers: Gregory M. Smith and Brett Grimmond
Artist: Nadir Elfarra, Brien Miller
Project Director: John Kranz