SNAP Review – The Hunt
In the fall of 1939, a German ship called the Admiral Graf Spee sunk nine merchant ships crossing the Atlantic. In these first months of World War II, the British Royal Navy sent out hunting groups of ships to stop the Admiral Graf Spee – if they could find it.
This is that story. Kind of. This is a SNAP review for The Hunt.
The Hunt is an asymmetric duel for 2 players by Matthias Cramer and Engin Kunter. It’s co-published by Salt & Pepper Games and 25th Century Games. It takes 20-45 minutes to play, and the box says it’s best for ages 14 and up.
[Andrew] So Anitra, what can we say about the art in The Hunt?
[Anitra] The Hunt is themed on the German blockade of British freight during the early days of World War II. The board symbolizes the Atlantic Ocean, and players use wooden or cardboard tokens to indicate ships, damage, and progress.
The cards remind me of a graphic novel – every card suggests action and the tension of what was happening at the time. They’re full of details that get me curious about the real historical events that inspired this game.
So, how do we play The Hunt? Let’s explain the mechanics of this game.
One player will play as the German forces, and the other player will play as the British.
The German is trying to sink five British freight ships before they can reach their destinations. While the British forces are trying to prevent that – by finding the German ship Admiral Graf Spee and winning a battle against it.
On the German player’s turn, they play a card, then redraw until they have three cards in their hand.
On the British player’s turn, they first move all freight ships one space towards their destinations, then they play a card. At the end of their turn, they redraw until they have five cards in their hand.
On both sides, a card can be either redeemed for Action Points, or played for the Event that’s written on it.
Both sides use Action Points to move ships on the board and to “search and attack”. The Germans can also reserve Action Points for a future turn, and to repair their airplane. The British can use Action Points to play additional cards to affect an upcoming die roll, or to bring out additional offensive forces.
So, let’s talk about that “searching and attacking”.
The German player can attack by revealing the Admiral Graf Spee at the same location as a freight ship, then they roll a die. A result of 5 or more means the attack was a success, and they sink the freight ship!
The British player can attack after rolling a die to search a space where one of their forces are located. Again, a result of 5 or more is a success – and if they found the Admiral Graf Spee, this will kick off a game-ending Battle.
If a Battle happens, both players immediately draw to a hand of five cards. Then they play a series of five “duels” with those cards, placing damage markers after each duel. The player with less damage wins… unless the Battle is ended with “Montevideo” (on the German side) and “Scuttling in Montevideo” (on the British side), representing what actually happened in December 1939.
And, of course, a Battle might not ever happen. The British player can still win by successfully delivering five freight ships to their destinations, or the Germans can win by sinking five freight ships while keeping the Admiral Graf Spee hidden.
[Andrew] When I first saw The Hunt, I loved that box art with the officer looking through the binoculars. And like you said, when I saw it was a two-player game designed by Cramer, I was even more excited. Looking through the cards, the mechanics really reminded me of Watergate and how that game works, cards can be used for their points or their action, and really powerful cards were removed from the game after using them for their action. That back-and-forth deduction and guessing is exactly what made Watergate such a tense (and great!) experience for me.
[Anitra] You were much more excited for this game than I was. I generally don’t like war games because they tend to be very complex if they’re going for realism. And simpler ones usually feel like a tug of war that’s more about luck than strategy.
[Anitra] But! I was surprised how I was able to get into this game and really get interested in the historical material. I have a soft spot for naval warfare, I guess.
[Andrew] Although I really enjoyed the ideas behind this game and, let’s face it, we’re of an age where World War II was enough in our past to be super fascinating for us… The cat-and-mouse kind of lost me a little bit. With something like Watergate (and I don’t mean to keep comparing it, but here we are) you could tell from the pin board what the other player’s strategy might be.
Here, there were too many variables for me as the British to feel comfortable guessing where the Graf Spee was, and so the whole game felt uncomfortable. I guess it was an uncomfortable situation [I think that’s intentional], so that’s a win from the designer, but it didn’t translate for me into a fun game experience.
[Anitra] The Hunt was also more work than I wanted to put in for a relatively short game. The two sides have some similarities, but we constantly found ourselves asking “wait, can I do that?” and needing to refer to the rules. Switching between the British and German sides between games made it even harder to keep track of what actions are available to me.
[Andrew] That’s another one of the things that I think tripped me up about this game. There were a lot of little things, like the Germans saving action points or the German plane offering a tipping point in battle, that, I don’t know, felt like they were introduced to balance the game a little bit. For us just felt like more rules. It wasn’t as streamlined as I’d want a two player game to be.
The Hunt is a great game for history buffs and anyone studying World War II. This is especially true if you’re looking at all the factors that contributed to the fights in the Atlantic Theater.
Every card is dripping with history and, like some of Cramer’s other games, there’s more information for each card inside the rulebook.
It is shorter than most historically accurate war games, but still best for teens and adults. If you’re looking for a two player battle of wits, with a naval warfare theme, take a look at The Hunt.
We’re going to give The Hunt 3½ sunken ships out of 5.
And that’s The Hunt in a SNAP!
The Family Gamers received a copy of The Hunt from 25th Century Games for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Age Range: 14+
Number of Players: 2
Playtime: 20-45 minutes