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An experimental history using authentic naval wargames to examine choices made in the World War I battles of Coronel and Falklands
An experimental history using authentic naval wargames to examine choices made in the World War I battles of Coronel and Falklands
44 backers pledged $1,956 to help bring this project to life.

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“And now began the saddest naval action of the war (Coronel). Of the officers and men in both the squadrons that faced each other in these stormy seas far from home, nine of ten were doomed to perish.”

-- Winston Churchill

This autumn marks the centennial of The Great War. Among the most dramatic sagas in a dramatic season was that of the German East Asia Squadron under Rear Adm. Maximillian Graf von Spee. Stranded by the sudden outbreak of war on the other side of the world, Spee’s squadron evaded enemy forces for months. Dispatched the raider Emden to harry British trade in the Indian Ocean and then handed the Royal Navy its first defeat in battle in 99 years off the shore of Chile near Cape Coronel. That devastating defeat sent two British armored cruisers to the depths with their entire crews at trifling cost to Spee’s squadron.

The stunning defeat provoked the British into sending two of their new battlecruisers thousands of miles from the European theater to search for and destroy Spee’s squadron. Spee and the British squadron met at The Falklands just five weeks after Coronel. This time it was Spee’s squadron which was annihilated.

For a hundred years historians and naval officers have debated Spee’s choices and those of his opponents and speculated about what might have been. Fatal Choices looks at the course of the actual campaign and considers how it might have played out differently. But more than that, Fatal Choices applies the discipline of authentic naval wargames to evaluate those what-ifs under realistic constraints. And it provides the reader with the tools to see for himself how the battles may have played out.

By special arrangement with noted author and wargame designer Larry Bond, Fatal Choices contains an extract of Bond’s superbly authentic and comprehensive Fear God & Dread Nought naval wargaming rules providing the reader with all the rules, ship forms and tables needed to refight the historical battles and several credible what-ifs. See ForYourself scenarios examine historical battles such as Coronel and the Cocos Islands, as well as possible alternative fights such as Spee running into the Australian battlecruiser HMAS Australia or the old battleship HMS Canopus. Other scenarios examine what might have happened if the modern armored cruiser HMS Defense had joined the British squadron in time for Coronel or if Spee had a ventured to attack the British ships while they were coaling in Stanley Harbor instead of attempting to flee.

Fatal Choices also includes another entire set of rules, an extract of Minden Game’s NavTac fast-play naval wargaming rules for those readers who are new to naval wargaming or pressed for time.

The Kickstarter edition of Fatal Choices also includes a special set of laser-cut ship counters including all the ships mentioned in the scenarios as well as play aids.

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Risks and challenges

There are few risks aside from the kinds of delays that life can unexpectedly present. The book is written and being edited. The game rules are being playtested. The counter sheet is nearly complete. The Topside Miniatures special edition is done. Everything is on track to meet the promised delivery date, but unforeseen events could cause slight delays.

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    You get our sincere thanks and your name listed in the book as a supporter (unless you’d rather we not).

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    All of the above + you get a copy of the Kindle-format ebook version of Fatal Choices and a special laser-cut counter sheet with all the ships included in the book’s scenarios.

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    All the above + you get a physical copy of the paperbound book. This provides everything you need to See For Yourself what might have been in the 1914 battles of Coronel and the Falklands.

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    All the above + you get a set of the special edition Topside Miniatures created for this project -- including every ship mentioned in the book’s scenarios. In addition you will receive a bonus scenario depicting Troubridges’ dilemma.

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    All the above + you get a signed copy of the book with a personalized dedication.

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    All the above + Your Topside Miniatures will be pre-mounted and you will get two sets of the laser-cut counters.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All the above plus I will run a game for your group on the anniversary of Coronel or The Falklands using 1:1250 miniatures with the winning admiral and MVP each keeping his/her ship model. Site must be within 600 miles of Norwich CT.

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Funding period

- (29 days)