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Quick and the Dead:  Coastal Actions in WWII
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Quick and the Dead: Coastal Actions in WWII

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The Quick and the Dead (Q&D) is meant to replicate the sharp, short actions involving coastal forces during World War II. More specifically, this set of rules and cards is focused on the fighting between coastal forces in the Mediterranean Sea, but if the rules prove popular, expansions for the English Channel and the Pacific theater are planned. It is important to recognize, however, that these rules focus on only a part of the operation of coastal forces. Coastal actions are characterized by patrolling and stealth, usually at night, punctuated by a quick, violent engagement at close quarters, often less than 500 yards. 

Quick and the Dead features a unique diceless and turnless system in which players delcare and play action cards as fast as they can.  This creates an unusual tunnel vision phenomenon in which players are focused on the actions of their small craft and can be surprised when an enemy comes alongside and opens fire.  Games usually last between 30 and 45 minutes, so you can play two or three in an evening.

 PT-boat actions are generally divided into three phases. There is the stealthy approach phase in which one force lies in wait, trying to get an advantageous position on the enemy. This phase can last several hours, beginning from the time the boats leave port until (and if) contact is made with the enemy. There is the assault phase, in which the boats battle each other, typically at fewer than 200 yards, and nearly always at night. This phase usually lasts between 20 and 40 minutes. Finally, there is the aftermath. Typically one side or the other affects a disengagement and both sides head from home.

The Quick and the Dead focuses on the middle phase. Games last about 40 minutes. There are no turns and no chart cards. Players use cards to control the movement and firing of their boats. All the needed information is on the cards. When a player has exhausted his cards, each of his boats makes a morale check, draws more cards, and continues playing. At the end of a game, players feel exhausted, as if they've just been through a fight.

If you like your naval games pedantic and chart-ridden, The Quick and the Dead is not for you. If you want to feel as if you've actually been in a PT fight, these are the only rules that give you that feeling. The game plays very different than most game you've played. Some players get the hang of the fluid, no-turns system quickly. Others have difficulty. I have found that by a player's third game, they get the hang of it. Many don't like the game the first time they play, but after playing a couple more times, really enjoy it. During play tests some have suggested that I should include an optional standard-style turn sequence. While players would be free to do so, I've decided not to include a tradtional turn sequence, because then The Quick and the Dead would be just another game, and I wanted it to be unique.

The Quick and the Dead comes with a rulebook, the cards to play the game, scenario cards, and boat record cards for most of the German, Italian, British, and American boat types in the Mediterranean. I usually play on a 4'x6' table, but that's for a six-player game. You could certainly play on a dining room table. The basic set of cards is for that size game. The advantage of the .pdf format is that if you want to player larger games (more players) you can print another deck of cards.

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
John S April 23, 2016 10:32 pm UTC
For Quick and the Dead, most players control two or three coastal craft. So that might be the unit. I use 1:600 craft, mostly from a company called PT Dockyard. You could probably use 1:300 craft if you can find them.
Customer avatar
Christopher S April 23, 2016 1:46 pm UTC
I really want to play this game but I didn't see anything in the PDF about the scale of the units. Is it 15mm, 28mm? Can I print out the naval units? If so, how big do they need to be and/or is there a site that lets me do that? Maybe I just skimmed through the PDF too quickly, three times, and didn't notice it...
Customer avatar
John S March 29, 2016 1:00 am UTC
Well, like I said, the game isn't for everyone. I was trying to do something different, and sometimes different isn't easily accepted or liked.

Thanks for trying the rules.
Customer avatar
Roy B March 28, 2016 9:48 pm UTC
I was pleasantly surprised by your quick response to my post. To address one point you made, I played the game twice. I have been a gamer since 1975. One of the other players has a similar long experience and used to run a game shop of his own. The 3rd player has been gaming for more than 20 years and the 4th has been gaming for more than 10 albeit mainly RPGs so we had a mix of experience and gaming tastes. I'm afraid none of my buddies cared for the game either.
Customer avatar
John S March 28, 2016 11:01 am UTC
Quick and the Dead is certainly not for everyone. I think that Roy B makes a number of valid observations but is missing the point that the game is trying to represent the chaos and uncertainty of these small boat action in the dark. Roy B said, " I found his "turnless" system to be too uncertain to serve as an effective game." That uncertainty is exactly what I was aiming for and exactly what is missing from every other game that attempts to depict coastal actions. I have found that you have to play the game three or four times (a game only takes about 30 minutes) before you get the feel of the system. Players get stressed, develop tunnel vision, and are surprised by enemy actions in ways not possible in turn-based games without a lot of messy rules. It is unclear from the review whether Roy B has actually played the game or just read the rules and looked at the cards. If you haven't played the game at least three times it is difficult to get a sense for how the game really works on...See more
Customer avatar
Roy B March 28, 2016 1:54 am UTC
On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best, I have to give this game a 2. While I appreciate what the author is trying to recreate (the utter confusion of a firefight on fast moving boats in the middle of the night and the need to make fast, Fast, FAST decisions), I found his "turnless" system to be too uncertain to serve as an effective game. In order to move you have to play an appropriate card. If you don't have the appropriate card you either sit there with your engine idling, or you discard cards and draw new ones hoping to get what you need. Unfortunately in order to draw any cards you have to make a morale check and, if you fail the check, suffer some bad, potentially devastating consequences. It does not matter if you have been hit or even fired upon, you have to make a "morale" check. If you fail the check, the best you can hope for is to make a maximum turn and then make a maximum move for your boat. Best hope that the turn is away from the shoreline. I also consider it a drawback in...See more
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File Last Updated:
February 26, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on February 26, 2016.