15/02/2016 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

They Come Unseen


They Come Unseen

Designed by Andrew Benford. Published by Osprey Games (£39.99)


Submarines and surface fleets battle for dominance of the seas! One team must use submarines to sneak troops into enemy ports and destroy vital strategic targets, while the other team deploys a surface fleet to hunt down the subs and protect their crucial supply lines.

If you’re into Cold War Gone Hot gaming, submarines, or even just submarine thrillers like The Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide or K-19: The Widowmaker, then you’re going to really be interested in They Come Unseen. Designed by retired Royal Navy submarine commander Andrew Benford, the game is an exciting combination of bluffing, deception and intrigue. One player takes on the role of the USSR, defending their bases with destroyers, while the other takes on the role of NATO submarines attempting to get into the Russian bay and sabotage one of the bases before they are discovered.

Even before opening the box, I was struck by the production values. The box itself is heavy, and the artwork is great – resembling more a movie poster than a historical boardgame. The game is played across two boards, one representing the surface, which all players can see, and the other depicting what is happening under the waves, which only the NATO players can see (shielded from Russian eyes by a rather substantial and, again, beautifully illustrated screen).

The game itself is highly strategic, with little to no luck factoring into the outcome – showing its origins as a military training exercise – and makes for a tense and exciting game. Tension runs high on both sides. The Russian forces know there are two submarines in the area, but have no idea where, or which of the six bases has been assigned as their primary target. They have to hope that they pick up a blip on their sonar – but even this will require careful planning. The NATO submarine players are similarly on edge, creeping through the cold, dark waters, hoping that they won’t be the victim of a sudden depth charge from above.

Osprey Games have exploded onto the miniature wargaming scene with the spectacular success of Frostgrave and their other rulesets, and with They Come Unseen they look set to do the same for board wargames. If this is the standard we can expect, then I can’t wait to see what else they have to offer.

Brad Harmer-Barnes

Buy your copy here.

The Battlegames Award for Excellence is given only to those products or services which, in the opinion of the reviewer, would deserve a score of 9 or 10/10 under a numerical scoring system. Recipients of this coveted award may use the logo on their own website with pride alongside the relevant product or service description.

Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products.


Back to Reviews

15/02/2016 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Reviews

WELLINGTON AGAINST SOULT: The Second Invasion of Portugal 1809

New book from David Buttery covering one of Wellington's famous opponents in the Peninsular War. ...

Pickett's Charge At Gettysburg: A Guide To The Most Famous Attack In American History

A very detailed book that is in essence a battlefield guide to the charge. ...

Sabre Squadron

Sabre Squadron is a new company-level ruleset for gaming modern, post-World War II conflicts from Australian ...

Other Reviews in this category

As Told In The Great Hall: The Wargamer's Guide To Dark Age Britain

Cursory glance at sources and then moves on to look at weapons and equipment. ...

Reconnaissance And Bombwe Aces Of World War 1

This book is well written by a leading WWI aviation historian and tracks the accomplishments of some of those ...

Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Guns Of The Soviet Union

This volume covers from the March 1945 ZSU 37, through the ZSU 57-2 and ZSU 23-4, to the 9K22 Tunguska (also ...

The Last Citadel: Petersburg, June 1864 - April 1865

This is a revised and expanded 150th Anniversary Edition of a book first published in 1991, telling the story ...