Black Orchestra is one of those games that exists in an interesting limbo. It’s a cooperative board game that can be fun to play, but it’s based on actual historical happenings, with the undeniably tragic outcome already determined. It’s not a game that you play if you want to feel exuberant and giddy, rather, it’s a game you play when you want to feel a sense of gravitas, a sense of oppressive weight. Rather than simply being a tool for fun, it’s a tool that can be fun, but is more useful as a way to connect with history.
In Black Orchestra, each of the game’s 1 to 5 players plays a member of the Schwarze Kapelle, the titular Black Orchestra, in an attempt to assassinate Hitler during World War II. It is a very difficult game but, like a well written sad song, it’s a worthwhile, and enjoyable experience, especially if pure fun isn’t your only goal. Even when you manage to win, your score is tallied in how many millions of lives you saved, which is a sobering reminder of the historical reality of the situation.
I’m currently working on my review of the first edition of the game, and I’ll say outright that this is a great game, and if you like cooperative games and are interested in the theme, then you should pop over to the Kickstarter page for the second edition of the game and pledge for it. The campaign is already well past its funding goal, and will run through the 28th of February 2017.
The second edition of the game features some changes, including an overhauled Interrogation system, improved components and an updated rulebook but fret not if you already own the first edition of the game as there is an Upgrade Pack available for you at $9 + shipping. The game itself can be had for a pledge of $49 + shipping, and both pledge levels estimate delivery in October 2017. If you want to get a more in-depth look at the game’s rules and mechanics before deciding whether you’d like to pledge or not, there is a draft of the updated rulebook available as a pdf.
Game Salute has a strong history with Kickstarter, and has delivered numerous other Kickstarter projects in the past, so all indications point to this being delivered as promised, without issue. There aren’t any stretch goals, so this project can almost be viewed as much as a pre-order as a typical Kickstarter project, but there is a Kickstarter exclusive Boost the Signal card that will come with both the Upgrade Pack and the game itself.
The game does feature Nazi imagery, so be aware that it may not be legal for it to ship to your country if you live outside the United States. If you have any questions, Game Salute is active in the Kickstarter comments, and over in this thread on BoardGameGeek, and has already answered quite a few questions, including confirmation that you will be able to add funds for a full pledge during the pledge manager, even if you only pledge $1 during the campaign itself.
What do you think of Black Orchestra? Does the theme have you ready to scheme and plot Hitler’s demise? Let us know in the comments below.