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Spelljammer at Dungeon Masters Guild

Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare is Up for Preorder

Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare (GMT Games)A very unique looking American Civil War era game is up on the GMT Games P500 preorder list; Infernal Machine: The Dawn of Submarine Warfare. In this solitaire game, the player is an inventor aiming to build and put a submarine in service against the enemy. Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare is for one player, ages 14+, and can be preordered for $55.00 with an eventual MSRP of $85.00.

About the game:

Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare is a solitaire board game that casts the player in the role of inventor/entrepreneur in mid-19th century America. The game is set during a historical moment when the business environment has gotten rather dynamic – it is the tumultuous landscape of the American Civil War. The player’s task is to design, build, and put to use a submarine during that war.

Infernal Machine can be played either in scenario form or campaign. In a campaign, you can choose the city or port where the project’s machine shop will be located. Since construction materials and labor costs money, your role as entrepreneur comes into play as you seek out Investors to join your team; their cash will provide the funds that help your Fishboat take shape. As Inventor, your design gives form and substance to the size and shape of your submarine, and to its capabilities. Will it carry a snorkel? Will its prow be an armored ram? Will it have dive planes? Will it push a spar torpedo? Will it be powered by the muscle strength of a crew cranking the propeller or will you install a boiler engine?

To bring blueprints to life, you will need to hire Mechanics, whose engineering expertise keeps the machine’s construction on schedule. Once assembly is complete, your Mechanics can join the crew, using their repair capability to keep the machinery and the vessel running smoothly. Journeymen can also lend a hand on the shop floor and inside the Fishboat, while Sailors bring nautical know-how as well as sheer brawn.

While that machine shop is busy with the submarine’s construction, the game reminds you that the war drags on and it is an unstable business environment. Prices for materials and labor fluctuate. Current events can affect your construction schedule and your machine shop’s performance. Public, and even personal circumstances may force your hand. You may decide to push your Fishboat into the water before you feel it is optimal, or push your crew into battle with little training.

Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare Layout (GMT Games)

In this game you assign crew, taking their characteristics into consideration, such as morale, strength, engineering expertise. Your first mission will most likely be a simple affair, propelling the infernal machine forward, submerging, turning about, and returning to the surface. It will garner valuable experience that improves your crew’s Training Level. But even that simple affair could prove treacherous. Will the Fishboat drift? Will it sink and become irretrievable? Will your crew panic in the dark as they breathe in the exhalation of their comrades in that cramped machine? Will you be forced to evacuate the crew and salvage the Fishboat later? Will the crew survive the ordeal?

Later missions will be directed at the enemy. In this game, you may play either side, Union or Confederate. There are a variety of missions and targets. Will your Fishboat be aimed at the Federal blockade? Will it pull a mine at the end of a rope, or push a torpedo at the end of a spar? Will the crew survive contact with the enemy? Will they survive their own weapon’s detonation? Perhaps the nature of the mission will be quite different. Will you carry a spy into enemy territory? Will your Fishboat unload a raiding party?

Secrecy is vital. Will you send your machine out under a moonless sky? That will help conceal crew and machine but it will make navigation difficult. Will you limit the number of machinists and investors, thereby reducing the chance of rumor or gossip leaking out? Too few and you compromise your machine’s capabilities. Your Fishboat’s chances are much better if that machine is kept a secret, but it is a cantankerous machine that will punish mistakes.

A successful mission means your coffers will be filled with prize money. This is a capitalist’s war, and the War Department is offering juicy bounties. In contrast, there are many ways to fail. Coming back without making contact with the enemy is one way, but it could be far worse. Will you add the names of your crew to the Rolls of the Missing?

Jeff McAleer

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