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Operation Drumbeat


Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Germany swiftly joined its Axis partner and declared war on the United States on Dec. 11, 1941. Admiral Karl Dönitz, commander of Germany’s much-feared u-boat fleet, altered his strategy to bring the maritime war to America’s east coast. Where once he relied on German submarines preying on supply convoys on the open Atlantic Ocean, now he deployed long-range Type-IX u-boats to prowl the American coastal waters along which freighters and tankers sailed to convoy assembly points in the Canadian maritime.

Initially u-boat commanders took advantage of America’s unprepared defenses, hunting easy targets with few patrols and even coastal cities lit up, ignoring wartime blackout precautions; but the Americans quickly mustered their forces for war, increasing their patrols by aircraft and destroyers and ultimately chasing the German u-boats from the East Coast and back into wolf pack formations to prowl the North Atlantic once again.

Operation Drumbeat is a solitaire game in which a player assumes the role of a u-boat commander sent to hunt shipping along America’s East Coast in early 1942. The player plots a course on a grid map like the ones used by German submarine captains to travel to the patrol area and hunt targets. A series of charts helps simulate the chances of running into American patrols, encountering freighters and tankers, and attacking them with torpedoes and deck guns. Each turn equals one day; the player tracks the u-boat’s progress in a log much like actual German submarine captains used. How many ships can a captain sink before his u-boat runs out of torpedoes…or luck?

“Classic and new at the same time, Operation Drumbeat is a must-have for the solo gamer!”

-- John Fiore, Solo Nexus (

Peter Schweighofer is a writer, editor, and game developer with more than 20 years’ experience in the publishing field, including time working for many companies in the adventure gaming hobby. While best-known for his contributions to various iterations of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, he’s also the author of period sourcebooks Pulp Egypt and Heroes of Rura-Tonga, as well as numerous other works for various roleplaying games. His interests also include playing and designing board and war games. He pursues his game-publishing activities under the auspices of Griffon Publishing Studio.

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Reviews (3)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Robert K July 05, 2021 7:50 am UTC
Looks like a good, fun, simple game.

Wish there were some stats and a playsheet for Type VII boats, but that shouldn't be too difficult to come up with.

Some other add-ons could enhance the game too, but given the price, and desire for simplicity, I can see why that isn't included.
Customer avatar
October 24, 2016 5:39 pm UTC
Hello Griffon Publishing Studio,
The description doesn't tell what all I will need to play the game. The one review gives a few details about a map and some index cards. Do I need dice, tokens, and what type of map?
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File Last Updated:
November 01, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on October 16, 2012.