U-BOOT The Board Game

Created by PHALANX

UBOOT The Board Game is a real-time tabletop game of WW2 submarine warfare. An underwater cooperative war thriller that allows 1 to 4 players to assume the roles of the Captain, the First Officer, the Navigator, and the Chief Engineer on board of a type VIIC U-boat. The game is enhanced by a companion app, allowing for an unprecedented level of realism, as well as a challenging enemy A.I. which will push your skills to the limit. The action unfolds both on the strategic and the tactical scale, always demanding teamwork, efficient crew management, and quick situation assessment.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Shipping
about 1 hour ago – Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 01:45:03 AM

Hello everyone!

It’s been a month since the last update, and plenty of things have happened in the meantime, so please take a break from your ongoing activities and dive with us for a while :)

Board game delivery

We have already started shipping the games and the delivery schedule is as follows:

EN - worldwide shipping starts next week. There are thousands of parcels, so this will be a process lasting for a few weeks, and not a single wave shipment. Parcels destined for the Europe will arrive sooner (estimated delivery in February), and parcels destined for America / Asia / Australia will arrive later (estimated delivery in March). Here is a short unboxing of the EN edition:

FR - European shipping is in progress. Worldwide shipping will be done along the EN edition. The first games have arrived to the backers, and here is Deena Pilgrim’s photo of unboxed and assembled game (click here for a bigger version).  

As you can see, the assembled submarine and playmat will fit into the game box along with all the other game components. :)  

DE, IT, PL, RU, SP - games will be picked up from the factory before the end of January. European delivery has been estimated for February, and worldwide for March.

BR - games will be picked up from the factory before the end of January. Worldwide delivery has been estimated for March.

For any shipping issues and complaints please contact directly your language edition’s publisher:

EN, PL - PHALANX

DE - Pegasus Spiele

FR - Asyncron Games

SP - MasQueOca

IT - Cranio Creations

BR - Galapagos Jogos

RU - Crowd Games

Please note that PHALANX is no longer holding the shipping info for other editions than EN and PL. So for any shipping issues please contact the publisher of your language edition, the same for any production complaints - this will make the whole process faster.

The parcels will be firmly packed, to keep your U-boats and add-ons safe. Here are some photos from our shipping partners:

Shipping will be tracked. You will receive shipping notification on your email or phone, depending on the direction of shipment. Please note that these delivery times are estimated, as worldwide shipping is a very difficult process. Fun fact: we will be sending out more u-boats than were launched during both World Wars, so please stay cool and be patient. They will arrive, silent and unexpected :)

App release

First of all, we would like to sincerely apologize to everybody who has received the boxed game, because the app has not been released yet. This applies mostly to our backers in France who have already started opening their boxes. We are really working around the clock to catch up, and, as promised, we intend to give you a pre-release version so that you can start playing as soon as possible. 

So here’s the plan: we will be releasing an ‘early access’ version for all those of you who have already received the game and really can’t wait to start playing. This will be an almost complete experience, although there may still be some tiny issues to fix, and not all the missions will be available to play. This version will be released mid-February and we will gladly welcome all the feedback that you can provide so that we can make the game better. 

As for the full version, we should know the approximate date once the app makes it through final external testing. We have tasked a specialized software testing company with searching the app from top to bottom for any potential issues, and as soon as we receive their feedback, we will be able to give you a more informed final release date. 

I guess it goes without saying that we are deeply sorry for this situation, but please also understand that it makes things much more difficult for us and for the project itself (mostly on the financial side of things). So please believe us that we are not delaying the app for trivial reasons, and that we are working as fast as we can, because the delay is causing issues for all the companies involved in the project. Unfortunately, things always take longer than planned…

That being said, we hope that the ‘early access’ version will alleviate the pain for those of you who have already put together their 3D U-boats and can’t wait to embark on their sea adventure. We understand that it may be frustrating, and we trust that this approach will at least partially make it up for the delay we have generated.

In the meantime, here’s what we are doing at the moment:

Artur is applying the final corrections to English app text, and translating it into Polish. The remaining language versions are also taking their final shape. The spreadsheet currently has almost 600 cells (multiplied by 8 language editions), and many of them contain lines upon lines of text, such as explanations for the campaign mode, how to handle resources between linked missions and the like. 

Bartek, on the other hand, is spending most of his time working in Unity: correcting game parameters, applying tweaks to the missions, embedding new sound effects, etc. All that while working closely with our IT team in Cracow (InImages). These guys are doing an incredible job, and without them, this game would have never come into existence! 

From left to right: Bartek, Tomek (programming), Krzysiek (graphics), and Artur. This photo was taken during one of our strategic meetings at InImages HQ in Cracow.

So, now you know who to spit in the eye in the street for delaying the game… I mean, who to thank for working so hard on your long-awaited tabletop U-boat simulator :)

Other important info

It has come to our attention that there is an issue with card size and sleeves. The cards seem to be slightly larger than planned and ordered for mass production. They fit, but need to be placed under a heavy weight to flatten them. We are currently investigating this issue, because the prototype copies were in compliance with the specifications, so it seems that something must have gone wrong in mass production. We will keep you updated.

Once again, we would like to thank you very much for your ongoing support, and your patience during the delivery. Our logistics and development teams are on their last legs, but they keep on pushing forward and will deliver the game as fast as they can. We realize that some of you may be frustrated with the delay, but we are confident that the final experience will more than make up for it.

Happy gaming!

Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX

Merry Christmas!
about 1 month ago – Sat, Dec 22, 2018 at 01:30:00 AM

Hello everyone,

As we had an update two weeks ago, this one is gonna be short. Still, there are a few things that we would like to share, including the fact that the final, improved, mass produced copies of the game are here. Yay!

So, the English and French editions have already been produced. DE, SP, IT, BR, RU and PL editions will be assembled in January and picked up by our partners within the same month. Here are some production and assembly photos from the printing house:

We will start shipping English and French edition copies in January, once the western world has got back to business after the holidays and the new year. We will send you a detailed delivery schedule in the next update, after we dispatch the games to shipping hubs.

And here are some photos from the add-on production line, as these are also ready to be shipped to you:

The app is nearly finished, and our language partners have already received the app text for translation. Please check out the screenshots from the latest version - it’s almost ready for release, and the final design looks pretty polished, doesn’t it? :)

It’s always nice to get out for a smoke and appreciate the sunset after a long time under the surface. And it’s not just aesthetic appeal, as the day and night cycle has a huge impact on combat.

Here’s a sample of the TDC view from the periscope. Targeting data has already been calculated, tube III has been flooded, and the torpedo is ready to fire. Right now, everyone is sitting on pins and needles, waiting for the Captain to say the word! Also, please note that an electric torpedo has been chosen for daytime attack.

Here you can get a glimpse of how land looks like. Although we can agree it’s not the pinnacle of 3D graphics, then again it looks good and serves its gameplay purposes :)

This is how a convoy looks like from afar. It’s time to take a good look at what’s on the menu, and identify the escort threat before deciding on how to go about the approach.

And here’s a more up-close and personal shot of our prey. Please note that due to where the light source is currently located (low above the horizon and behind the ships), you can mostly see their outlines, but not the textures. It will be night soon, and that’s when the wolf will pounce upon its prey.

A lone, unarmed merchant vessel clearly asking for some 88mm love, and that’s what it’s gonna get :)

Sneaking up to the British coast will sometimes be necessary, although it is never without its risks. If the Coastal Command sends their greetings, you’d better come in prepared! :)

Last, but not least, a quick glance at the in-game menu. You can review the briefing if some important detail has slipped your mind, finish your game for whatever reason, change the language settings, or some other gameplay and graphics stuff. You can also turn off water detail, which allows for silky-smooth framerate even on those older, less powerful devices.

Alright, so this is it! The app is still being refined and tested from top to bottom, with the balance now shifting towards mission design. We are checking if all the secondary objectives are where they are supposed to be, setting point thresholds for calculating the grades, and of course making sure that the missions are properly balanced, diverse, and fun to play!

Most importantly, however, we would like to wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you very much for your continuous support that has allowed us to fulfil our dreams in 2018, and we hope that you will be here with us in 2019!

All best,

Iron Wolf Studio & PHALANX

End of production, beginning of delivery
about 2 months ago – Sat, Dec 08, 2018 at 01:15:00 AM

Hello everyone!

We can finally give you an estimated delivery schedule, as production is drawing to a close!

Production and delivery

All the language editions are currently in print and confection. We will be picking them up from the factory in the following order:

The English and French editions - the 17th and 18th of December; Then, the printing house has its Christmas break until the 6th of January; After that, all the remaining editions (i.e. German, Spanish, Russian, Brazilian-Portuguese, Italian, and Polish) will have been produced and assembled by the end of January.

Production is close to be finished, but it is still to early for a cigarette break...
Production is close to be finished, but it is still to early for a cigarette break...

Knowing this, we can arrange the shipping. Our language partners will pick up their copies in December and January, so they should be able to deliver you the games in January and February. The Polish edition should be delivered in February as well. The English edition will be delivered throughout January, February, and March, depending on the country that you live in. Europe will be receiving their games first, followed by the USA, Asia, and Australia.

The above means that shipping will be delayed by 1-3 months from our initial delivery estimates, and we would like to sincerely apologize to everyone for that happening. It is something that we wanted to avoid at all cost, but we ultimately decided that sacrificing quality was not the right way to go, as staying 100% on schedule would not allow us to fix the small issues that we found in the first pre-production copies that were delivered to Essen.

On the plus side, the delay in shipping will give us one additional month to work on the app, and let us assure you that it will be a time well spent. Truth be told, the app already has many more functionalities than we promised during the campaign, and this extra month of attention will allow the guys at Iron Wolf Studio to do even more testing and tweaking before the premiere, and the IT team at InImages to iron out all the creases code-wise. Therefore, with the app being postponed till the end of January, everything should be even more impressive once the boxes finally arrive to your door. And there you have it: the decision to delay production was a very tough one, but as we have mentioned many times before, sacrificing quality is something that we never take lightly (even more so, since the delay is admittedly not a terrible one). We do realize that many of you will feel disappointed not being able to enjoy the game at Christmas time, but we sincerely hope you will understand that our disappointment is even bigger, as everything until the very last moment made us believe that a timely dispatch would be guaranteed. Unfortunately, it has turned out otherwise.

New rules videos

As you already know, we are doing everything we can to make your introduction to the game as smooth as possible. To that end, Bartosz has already started shooting new instructional videos that explain both the core rules, as well as all the role-specific responsibilities. The first one is already up and running, so you can quickly review core rules without the need of even opening the rulebook. Please click on the link below if you would like to see how they are coming along:

The Captain is up next! After we finish all the role videos, there will be even more stuff coming up, as we already have plans for further videos showing new gameplay features that the public hasn’t seen yet.

Testing

In the previous update, you could see how painted components looked like, and today we’ve got just a couple of shots from the countless tests that we conducted throughout November. We have a couple of regular groups, but we also test the game in solo and 2-player modes to make sure that these game variants are on par with the full 4-player experience. Overall, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! Although people’s first reactions after reading the rulebook are that the game will be very hard and complicated, then, once they play a mission or two, everybody agrees that the system is very streamlined and intuitive.

Sadly, we sometimes forget to take photos, because we are always very eager to hear new feedback, and once we focus on noting down all the important issues, we sometimes forget to gather everyone for a photoshoot (unless Artur suddenly remembers and yells ‘photos, don’t forget the photos while we are still here!’).

Either way, the tests will intensify even further once the text part of the app is 100% ready, which should happen soon.

Stickers

You might have forgotten about the sticker sheet that we promised you during the campaign, but we do remember about it! And, as always, it is much more impressive than what you saw back in February ;) To ensure the best quality possible, we reached out to a member of the SUBSIM.com community to help us provide a really impressive set of emblem stickers. Therefore, BIG thanks go out to Erik Theberge from Canada for helping us out on this one! What is more, you can see that our infamous mutated chicken from the campaign has also made it here, so we are confident that everyone will be able to choose an emblem of their own to adorn the conning tower of their brand new U-boat:

The most anticipated game vote

Before we finish, there is just one thing we would like to ask for. We do know that you are waiting eagerly to lay your hands on the game, and it might even be one of your most anticipated games of (regretfully!) 2019. Therefore, if you are still excited about our game in spite of the delay, then please vote for U-Boot in the yearly fun BGG ‘Most anticipated games’ contest:

Every vote counts, and we really appreciate any and all contribution to the BGG community that you may wish to make. Once again, please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in production, and wish us good luck with finishing the project! The tubes are already flooded, the targets are in our sights, and the torpedo crew is sitting on pins and needles, waiting for the Captain to say the word…

And I’m sure you know what that word is ;)

Happy gaming!

Iron Wolf Studio & PHALANX

PS. Please note the new 'Das Boot' TV series. Not as thrilling as the original, but still good enough to get deeper into the game's theme. :)

After Essen
2 months ago – Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 01:46:16 AM

Hello everyone!

We’ve got tons of awesome U-Boot material for you in today’s update. First, a recap from Essen Spiel with plenty of great photos and videos featuring U-Boot at the fair, so you can see near-final game components in action. On top of that, we have organized a full photoshoot of a painted copy at Iron Wolf Studio HQ, and, if that weren’t enough, we’ve got a lot of fresh info regarding the app, as well as the game’s production and delivery schedule that we would like to share with you.

ESSEN SPIEL

Our printing house delivered 30 brand new English edition copies to our booth on Wednesday. It was so exciting to see the final product with our own eyes!

We thoroughly checked component quality and it was fantastic! Of course, we caught a few minor flaws that are being corrected as you are reading this update. Nevertheless, we were very impressed with the product, as it was on par with our expectations (and believe us, that is not an easy thing to achieve!). Once we familiarized ourselves with box contents, we passed most of the copies to our language partners, a few to the media, and put up the rest of them for display in our booth to attract people’s attention. :)

And attention it got :) Thankfully, we could spare two copies for demo purposes, and we had games running throughout the fair almost non-stop on two separate tables, at least 12 patrols per day! In summary, we ran at least 48 demos, introducing around 200 new sailors to the game. To say that it was intense would be a huge understatement ;) In the meantime, we made a few media appearances, starting in the press room, and then moved on to BGG booth:

Here’s a link to the video, U-Boot starts at 1:39.

Another one is by Justin from OnTableTop, who interviewed Artur and Bartek at the Phalanx booth:

Last, but not least, here’s our appearance on the AndiDev Twitch channel with a live game presentation. The fair was nearing the end and we were extremely tired, but I think we stood up to the task nonetheless :) It’s a pity we ran out of time, though - the demo ends with a real cliffhanger!

More photos from Essen can be found in the game’s BGG gallery, including some really amazing photos by Henk Rolleman. Make sure to check them out here:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/4388247/uboot-board-game

All the photos from Essen, however, still fail to show just how amazing the game’s components are, so we decided to organize a small photo session to show how it all comes together. And also to prove that even a totally unskilled, lousy, and negligent painter can turn these into works of art in the blink of an eye. ;)

IRON WOLF HQ PHOTOSHOOT

Right, so we took Artur, sat him down and put a gun to his head, saying ‘you’ve got a week, and it had better look good’. So he really had no choice, now did he? (OK, so perhaps I have been watching too much Ozark lately, never mind).

Putting jokes aside, Artur speedpainted the whole set using a very simple technique: a black undercoat followed by a dark basecoat, with a brighter drybrush finish - and that’s it! No highlights, no effects, no nothing. On several occasions, he rose to the height of his abilities and applied a wash or two (mainly on the engines and the Tauchretters), and the effects are… Well, we’re gonna let you judge that by yourselves. ;)

As you can see below, there was little to no detail work done on the sailors, but all the creases in the clothing have now come up, as drybrushing exposes such features automatically. On the contrary, it doesn’t work well on small surfaces, such as faces and belts - these have to be done using the wet brush technique, which requires much more time and precision. That’s why drybrushing is so simple and effective - you can paint your figures super-fast, without even looking at what you’re doing, although the technique does have its limitations. Anyway, we are confident that once you receive the game, you will do much better!

 And here are the resin add-ons:

Alright, then - we hope you like what you see! On a side note, would this count as the painting guide that some of you requested? ;) All in all, I guess it is safe to say that even inexperienced painters will be able to achieve very nice results with this set, and we’re eager to see what some of the more talented folk will produce once they lay their hands on the game! :)

PRODUCTION & DELIVERY

The container with plastic pieces arrived in Poland on the 14th of November and is now in the printing house, where the games are produced and assembled. As already mentioned, we are currently correcting the minor flaws that we found in the pre-production copies (mainly the size of pin holes, and a few other tidbits). After the components pass final approval, the games will be assembled. It will take between 2 and 3 weeks, as the print run is really huge!

In summary, our main focus is to deliver the best game possible, as fast as possible. We are working around the clock to keep up the pace and make it in time for a December dispatch. We believe that we will be able to ship a container to America, as well as palettes to Asian and Australian hubs, so that they can be on their way in December as well. The same applies to the EN games in EU and the rest of the world, as well as the language editions that we will be sending out to our language partners. However, as you would probably agree, sending stuff around Christmas is not without its risks :) Therefore, while everything is on track on our side, then it would be reasonable to expect some slip-ups in transit - let’s just hope they won’t be too irritating...

That being said, we should be able to give you rough estimates of delivery dates once we pick up the games from the manufacturer and send them to our shipping operator.

PLEASE NOTE that you can still change your delivery address in the Pledge Manager: https://uboot-the-board-game.backerkit.com/ This will be possible till the end of November. We will then have to close the address lists to send them to our shipping operators.

THE APP

Our little brainchild is taking its final shape: most core functionalities are running like a well-oiled machine, so we are now onto all the remaining bells and whistles. The app’s graphics interface is mostly done as well - we are currently shifting stuff around a little to enhance the ergonomics and overall user experience. Another thing that we are doing is adjusting all the variables, so that the best balance between realism and gameplay enjoyment can be achieved.

The above, of course, entails a lot of testing and research. For example, how far should an escort spot us from when we’re surfaced, or submerged with the periscope extended? And how about at night, and in all the remaining weather conditions? How often should the Chief Engineer have a new maintenance task? How long should it take before it escalates, how many sailors should be repairing it, and for how long? Well, there are more than 300 (yes, three hundred) parameters of this kind, and it’s up to us to get them all correct. And yes, most of them apply to each difficulty level separately, so you can imagine that we’ve been a little bit busy recently, testing the hell out of the missions we’ve already got in the app.

...Of which there are three at this point, but we expect to raise that number to five before the end of November. Our focus is replayability and diversity, so that each mission plays differently from all the others, and that each and every playthrough is varied enough to make you want to return and get a better mark. So yes, testing is very intense, and we are looking at every constituent element of the game in order to make sure that it fits well within the system. The same applies to difficulty levels, which are almost there - their in-app functionalities are already running great, and it will again be up to us to do the fine-tuning of this multi-tiered system.

Another thing on our list is all the in-app text. Again, hundreds of entries for everything, from the information feed text, through mission briefings, and finishing with options and interface. All of this is almost ready, and will be translated from English to all the remaining 7 languages in December. Oh, and don’t forget about the voice and sound recording! This is also happening while you are reading this update, so you can probably understand that we are really fighting on all fronts in order to be ready on time.

And that, of course, will be no easy feat - although we are ‘almost there’, then there is still quite a lot to be done. One week we’re breezing through problems with ease, and another week a serious issue crops up, forcing us to take a step back and fix something that was supposed to be fixed months ago. And then we make another big step forward, and then something else breaks down... Well, that’s how it is and there is no way around it.

That being said, things are still looking good. We might be able to be ready with everything in December, but there might also be a small delay with some of the features that we are leaving for last. For example: the weather effects are still in the making, and the noise dosimeter is only halfway done. There is also some work left on how planes attack, and hundreds of other little things to improve just everywhere, so it is tough to prioritize, let alone implement it all ;) Either way, our top priority is for all the core gameplay elements to be impeccable - therefore, if it so happens that the boxes arrive to your doorstep with the app 98% ready, we will still be able to give you the game and kindly ask for your patience to allow us to add a few of the remaining bits right after the premiere.

The worst case scenario would be if you received the boxes without the app ready for release, but we are doing everything we can to reduce the chances of that ever happening. If it comes to that, however, we sincerely hope you will grant us a little bit more of your patience - after all, this game is one of the few Kickstarter projects that actually have the chance of being delivered on time, right? And, honestly… This is one sick project to work on. It’s a beast, I tell you. A hungry, relentless, and bloodthirsty animal. So, if we actually make it on time, we deserve a Ritterkreuz, a parade, or at least a decent funeral. ;)

Alright, that’s about it, boys and girls - I wish I could spend more time sharing all this with you, but ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’, as they say. Before we finish for today, however, there is just one thing I need to ask you about: which Tauchretter color do you think is more suitable for this time of the year? ;)

I still can’t make up my mind. :P

All best and happy gaming!

Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX

Final assembly
3 months ago – Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 02:09:59 AM

Hello everyone!

Last week, we received not only the final, mass production plastic pieces, but also the final version of the submarine’s hull punch board. You must be eager to see this as much as we were a week before, so there is no need for any more words here. Just check the video below to see it all with your own eyes!

Essen Spiel

The game is currently in print (all language editions), with the first copies of the English edition to be delivered to Essen Spiel (25-29.10.2018) directly from the printing house. These games will be shown at our booth 2-B106 to visitors and media. Regardless, the game will go into distribution only after we fulfil the campaign and pre-orders. However, please visit our booth to play a demo game and check the final, mass-production components. We will also be showing the game’s mass-produced add-ons, so you will be able to take a closer look at all the components that will be delivered with your game at the end of the year.

Rough resin interior upgrade pieces, before final treatment.
Rough resin interior upgrade pieces, before final treatment.

Delivery

Speaking of delivery, most of the EU games should be shipped to you this year, so that they can reach you in December. The Brazilian edition and EN games for America/Asia/Australia should be shipped out as well, but they will be delivered a little bit later, as they have to cross the pond.

Pre-order

Please note that pre-orders for the English and Polish editions (published directly by PHALANX) are still live, so if any of your friends are still interested in getting the game, please share this link with them: https://uboot-the-board-game.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders/ We are not taking any more pre-orders for other language editions, but if you are interested, please contact the publisher of your language edition directly (DE - Pegasus, IT - Cranio Creations, FR - Asyncron, SP - MasQueOca, RS - Crowd Games, BR - Galapagos Jogos).

The app

The game’s app is undergoing tons of testing to ensure that all its mechanisms are working like a well-oiled machine. Apart from the gun modules (which will be automated for those of you who are not so keen on manual shooting), all the AI procedures are being put through their paces, and secondary objectives are receiving the final touches to give you as much of an open-world experience as possible. Here is a glimpse of just a few things that are being worked on:

In the video, you can see a single plane attacking with a strafing run. However, the game’s engine will allow up to three planes to attack you at the same time, which, of course, will be a situation to avoid at all cost :) You can also get a glimpse of our 3D system: please note the area of effect of the hydrophone and the sonar, as well as depth charges dropping from the stern of an escort vessel. Of course, you won’t be seeing any of that in the final game - just as the submariners of the time, you will have to rely on the hydrophone, the navigator, and your nerves of steel to work out the correct evasive maneuvers. There are already tons of variables to such situations in the game, and dodging an attack successfully will require a good understanding of the situation.

And yes, we were serious when we said that we would attempt to mimic authentic WW2 anti-submarine procedures. If you are really into this kind of thing, you might want to take a look at some of the research materials that the system is based on: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep/ASW-51/ASW-11.html

All in all, we are confident that you will have a blast playing the game - just make sure it is not the blast of a depth charge going off too close to your hull ;)

Alright, that’s all for today. With roughly two months left until the release, we are entering the final stage of the project. The mission design is mostly ready, and we will be playing hundreds of test games until the release in order to ensure proper balancing and maximum gameplay satisfaction.

That being said, it is now time to set course for Essen - hope to see you there!

All best and happy gaming!

Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX