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A real-time, app-driven board game of WW2 submarine warfare. This underwater war thriller will put your skills to the ultimate test.
A real-time, app-driven board game of WW2 submarine warfare. This underwater war thriller will put your skills to the ultimate test.
Created by
8,342 backers pledged £686,652 to help bring this project to life.

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Lessons Learned

Posted by PHALANX (Creator)

Hello Everyone!

With our u-boats reaching the shores of Australia, campaign fulfilment is almost complete. It has been a long time in the making, but the shipping operation is finally coming to a close. And, while on the one hand it is a moment of celebration, then on the other hand it is a good time to look back on the mistakes we have made in the course of the project and learn from them, so that we can give you a better experience next time.

Our biggest production mishap was the lack of a disposable component tray that would keep all the unpunched components in place during shipping. This oversight resulted in a large number of complaints (the  project had a ⅓ higher complaint rate than our previous projects) and, consequently, reduced your unboxing satisfaction. The reason behind this issue was not related to savings, however, but to an omission. As our top priority was making sure that all the components would fit into the game box after the hull assembly, we totally forgot about holding them in place in transit. Therefore, while you can store all the pieces in the box with no problem, then some copies that went through the hands of the most brutal couriers had their cards scattered and counters unpunched - sometimes with damage sustained in the process. Luckily, most of the games arrived in top condition, but this is a lesson learned nonetheless… From now on, we will include a transport tray in every game we publish, even if it ends up in the trash the moment the game is unboxed.

The second most widely commented issue was the card protector size. We chose protectors that fit the cards rather tightly, because in our previous campaign - Hannibal & Hamilcar - some backers complained that the protectors provided were loose. Therefore, when approving protector size before sending the cards to the printer, we chose a closely matching size. For plenty of backers it wasn’t an issue at all, but many of you who prefer wider protectors were not happy that we chose the ones we did. Once again, lessons learned - we should probably refrain from offering card protectors in our future campaigns and let backers decide for themselves on this matter.

Another problem that we experienced was the shipping delay. Although we promised to deliver the games by the end of 2018, the whole process lasted until June 2019, so 1-6 months late. This happened due to both internal and external reasons. The internal ones were connected with delays in design, development, and production of the game. The external ones were unexpected delays caused by our shipping partners. For example, the Port of New York and New Jersey dispatch delays forced us to change the whole US shipping plan and cost us plenty of money, as well as an additional month. The lesson that we have learned here is to plan development and production even more cautiously, accommodating longer timeframes in anticipation of unforeseeable circumstances. From now on, we will estimate even longer lead times than reasonably expected, as both game dev and shipping will inevitably fall behind - it is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘how much’.

Another item on our list would have to be communication. We decided to pursue a no-spam policy, keeping our updates short and rare. We tried not to bore you to death with the same information over and over again, but we may have overdone it, as there was a substantial number of backers who complained about the lack of information. We believe we have learned the lesson. From now on, we will take additional care to highlight the most important information in every update. We will also attempt to make more frequent updates, especially when it comes to shipping. 

Apart from production and logistics-related issues, we have also learned a few major lessons in software development, and the first of them was ‘things always take much longer than planned’. And we mean MUCH longer. The first time we really felt it was when we had to completely re-scale the game’s world after the KS campaign. For those of you who might not know, U-Boot was quite a different game before the KS. It was constantly running in compressed time, which not only allowed us to streamline certain combat situations, but also to have much longer missions in the game. But the public was not fond of it and requested a genuine real-time game in the course of the KS. As a result, we had to rebuild the app from the ground up and recalculate 90% of the values that related to time and space. Unfortunately, not only did it take much longer than planned and put the whole development six months behind schedule, but it also dramatically changed the rhythm and the pace of the game, forcing us to redesign certain core mechanics, such as the Captain’s activation rules. You can only imagine what kind of crazy time we went through, working around the clock on rebalancing and re-scaling the whole game, while adapting missions to the new system and rooting out bugs at the same time. 

And the worst thing about it was that it all snowballed on us very late in the development process. Initially, rebuilding the game world size didn’t seem like much, but once more issues piled up, we eventually got stuck between a rock and a hard place: on the one hand, we didn’t want to release a half-baked product, but on the other hand we knew we could not delay the release any further. The delay in shipping bought us a little bit of time, but at some point we had no choice but to give it a go: although rebalancing was still being done and certain functionalities were far from ready, we understood that further delays would have caused more harm than good. 

And so, the ‘early access’ version of the app was released. It got off to a rocky start, but luckily we were quickly able to pinpoint and fix the most serious issues that we did not manage to tackle earlier. It has to be stressed, however, that we wouldn’t have been able to make it without the tremendous help from the community. Especially on BGG, where a number of incredibly active supporters were willing to share their time and expertise to help us make the game better for everybody. We will never forget that and we cannot thank you enough for your continued support and generosity. It was hard work, it was a tough time, but we have collectively managed to make U-Boot the game it is today. And we believe we will continue to do so for as long as there are people who are willing to play it.

At the same time, we would like to apologize to all the Apple device users who had to wait considerably longer for the app than the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the Appstore approval process can take time, and we were especially unlucky, because we got turned down a number of times without being given clear-cut guidelines of what we were supposed to amend. On top of that, the whole process took crazy amounts of time, but given the game’s theme and nature, we understood that it had to be scrutinized very thoroughly. Thankfully, the app has been available on all the promised platforms for quite a while now, but we have definitely learned a lesson here.

The last software-related issue that caused us substantial trouble was the save functionality. Due to the different pace of the game before the campaign, we envisioned much longer missions, spanning across several weeks, with a couple of save points allowing you to record your progress (just as we promised during the campaign). However, as the nature of the game had changed radically and the pace of the whole experience slowed down a lot, we realised that our mission design would need to be completely reworked too! As a result, we had no choice but to break the missions up into smaller chunks, and turn the save points into boundaries between the shorter missions that you have in the game now. 

With tons of additional work cropping up, lots of bugs to get rid of and the deadlines approaching, at some point it became clear that sacrifices had to be made. We could either keep the full-blown save game feature, but at the cost of leaving gameplay unpolished, OR put our main focus on the gameplay at the cost of delivering game save in a simplified form. As you might presume, we went for the latter, because there was already a possibility of saving the game between missions - exactly where the save points were originally intended!

Upon consulting the case with the IT team, it seemed like it was the only option to go for. There was still a lot of work left on the core game elements, and as gameplay has always been our top priority, it felt like the right thing to do. And, even though it was definitely the lesser evil, it later backfired on us, because the extent of app stability issues proved to be bigger than estimated, especially on the older and less reliable devices. Therefore, while the vast majority of our backers did not perceive that as a problem, then again some were disappointed with that aspect of the game, and some even went as far as calling us dishonest, implying that the lack of in-game save was a purposeful omission and an attempt to lie our way out of campaign promises. And while we think we did not deserve such accusations, then the fact remains that  sacrifices had to be made.

However, we also made that decision because we knew we could make amends in the near future.And it is with great pleasure that we can announce that we will be introducing an upgraded game save feature in our nearest update! The cost and lead time of this functionality has already been estimated and implementation will begin as soon as the design is ready. What we can already tell you is that the improved game save feature will be based on checkpoints and will be implemented specifically for each mission, so that their key moments and general pacing can be taken into account. We will keep you posted on all the developments in this field, so please stay tuned for more information.  

Regardless of the good news, we would like to say that we are very sorry for all of the project’s shortcomings and that we will do our best to amend them. Our customer service is working around the clock to send out all the missing or broken pieces, and the game dev team are constantly looking into ways to improve your gameplay experience. It has been an incredibly demanding project, and although some of the challenges have taken us by surprise, we nevertheless believe that it is a success. We have managed to publish a unique game, introducing an all-new genre into the realm of board gaming. We have manufactured 22.000 copies of this game in 8 different languages in a single, joint production. We have developed the most complex supporting app in the history of boardgaming. We have managed to immerse our players in a real WW2 submarine warfare experience. We have made our mistakes and learned our lessons. We have been through fire and brimstone, but we believe it was worth it. It was an experience that we will always remember, just as we hope you will remember our game. We are incredibly happy that we have managed to bring this project to a conclusion, and we thank you for giving us such an opportunity. 

Living rules

Still, our work is far from over. As promised, we will be here to support the game, in both its physical and digital aspect. We are currently working on a reprint, and to that end, we have prepared an updated version of the rulebook. You can download it here:

If you have any remarks, please mark them directly on the files, using the Dropbox tools. Thank you!

We hope to keep this campaign page alive, announcing every major update: both rules and app-related. Please keep your subscription to this project page, and it might so happen that one day we will announce an expansion for U-BOOT... If you want to keep this project alive, please share your feedback in your social media channels, at gaming groups, and at (please rate the game there!).

And, speaking of our next projects...

Europe Divided

As you may know, we have spent our first weekend of June presenting our latest and future games at UK Games Expo 2019 fair in Birmingham. We met many of you there - thank you for stopping at our booth! For all who wasn’t there, here is a nice OnTableTop video preview, where Jaro is presenting U-BOOT and our other projects: Europe Divided, Nanty Narking and Race to Moscow:

David Thompson’s and Chris Marling’s Europe Divided is currently on Kickstarter - you can find it here. It is a card-driven strategy game on the post-Cold War European geopolitics, that starts where Twilight Struggle ends, and brings you a tense, 2-player gaming experience in just 60-90 minutes. It’s a skill game as ruthless as nowadays diplomacy. Highly recommended for all serious gamers! 

Right, that was a really long update, but I guess a project of this magnitude deserved it. Again, please accept our sincere thanks for your commitment and support. Without you, it would have never happened. 

Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX

PS.  If you want to stay in the loop, please join our Facebook group: 

Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Rest of the World Shipping update

Posted by PHALANX (Creator)

Hello Everyone,

Full app release

We are happy to announce that the U-Boot app has been officially released on Steam for Windows PC and Mac OS versions. You can download them from the link below:

This means that the app is now available across all the platforms that we promised during the campaign.

News for the Pacific and ‘the Rest of the World’ crews

We are terribly sorry you still haven’t received your games and we feel obliged to let you know why. The issue is that in order to provide what is called ‘friendly shipping’, we have to wait for a confirmation on customs procedures from FedEx. We have decided to switch to air freight for Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Rest of the World in order to shorten the time in transit. However, that last bit of information mentioned above is required to make sure that no customs fees are imposed onto you.

We have delivered the ‘smoke test’ parcels to Australia and New Zealand on May the 7th, and yet, until now, we still haven’t received the final statement from FedEx. The games and delivery boxes are all assembled and ready to be shipped, but we need to obtain the information from FedEx to be able to send them to you. 

As soon as we get this sorted out, the parcels will be sent out immediately with an ETD of ~14 days. 

Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.

All best and happy gaming!

Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX

PS. Please visit our booth 2-205 at UK Games Expo this weekend! We will be there, happy to answer all your questions. 

U-boats sighted in US coastal waters!

Posted by PHALANX (Creator)

Hello Everybody,

Our U-boats have already reached the coast of the United States, and the resounding ‘Paukenschlag’ marks the beginning of a new chapter of our journey. The official US release of the game is planned for the 23rd of May, many of our US backers have already opened their boxes, and the first British merchant ships are already being sunk by our fellow submariners from across the pond. 

The US games are being shipped by Anchor Express, so please check this name when looking for tracking notifications in your mailboxes (or look for your FedEx tracking number in the BackerKit pledge manager).

As you are reading these words, we are shipping the games destined for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Non-EU European countries, Africa, Asia, South America and the Rest of the World. You will receive a shipping notification from FedEx. The games will be airfreighted, so hopefully you will receive them by the end of the month (with Canada and non-EU countries in the first wave, and Australia, New Zealand, South America, Africa and Asia in the second wave).

For any delivery complaints, please write to

For App feedback and troubleshooting, please write to

U-boot App page at Steam
U-boot App page at Steam

Final release of the App

We have been waiting for this moment for a long time, working hard to refine the game before presenting it to a wider audience. Consequently, we are very happy to confirm that we have managed to roll out version 1.0.4. of the app just in time, so that everybody can now enjoy a better and improved version of the game (Android and iOS are already available, with Windows PC and MacOS versions rolling out on Steam on the 23rd of May:

It seems that we have managed to get rid of most pesky bugs, and we are confident that the most recent release of the app will give you many hours of top-notch submarine warfare experience. At the same time, we would like to express our utmost gratitude to all our backers from Europe who received the game earlier, and who kindly agreed to try out the ‘early access’ version and offer their feedback. Once again, please let me say that your input has been invaluable, not only allowing us to rethink certain solutions, but also instilling a lot of confidence that we took the right path with U-Boot. It has been a highly experimental project, but many enthusiasts of the subject are already saying that we have managed to capture the essence of submarine warfare in our game, which makes us very happy. 

What is more, you will now be able to enjoy the full content that we have prepared for U-Boot: a total of 7 highly replayable missions, preceded by a training exercise. Each of them focuses on a different type of operation and will require a lot of knowledge and skill to achieve good grades. The missions can be played independently, in ‘linked mission’ mode (where they form two separate mini-campaigns) or in the full-blown ‘campaign’ mode, where you play through all of the missions and receive an aggregate campaign score.

Furthermore, the game has been upgraded with a number of features, some of them even beyond what was promised during the campaign (like functional deck guns). Below you can also find a list of all the improvements and fixes that we have implemented since the game’s ‘early access’ release:


  • Missions 5-7 added.
  • Escort hydrophone range increased.
  • Whispered lines added.
  • Chief Engineer's maintenance tasks randomized.
  • Wolfpack attack added.
  • The TDC button is greyed out during stormy weather.
  • Aircraft flight pattern and hitpoint count corrected.
  • Noise meter implemented.
  • Weather conditions: overcast sky, rain, fog, storm.
  • The training exercise has been rebalanced.
  • Fewer maintenance tasks for the Chief Engineer.
  • Difficulty level rules have been updated.
  • Minefields don’t hit as hard.
  • When choosing the Enigma code, you can go directly from A to Z.
  • The information in the center of the screen during a hull breach does no longer appear.
  • When changing speed underwater, the ‘crew in position’ question points to section 6 (instead of 5).
  • The Diesel engine sound has been turned down.
  • ‘App tutorial’ available during the game from the app menu.
  • ‘Quit’ button added to the main menu.


  • iPad display issue fixed.
  • 88mm target selection fixed.
  • The sextant can no longer ‘get lost’ on the map.

Even with the above implemented, we are well aware that this is no time for complacency. We are focusing our efforts on working with the community in order to iron out the little creases that still remain. We have currently slowed down slightly, awaiting initial impressions from our US backers. As soon as we are confident that we have gathered enough information on how we could improve the game, we will keep making it better and better.

Photo by Clavos @BGG
Photo by Clavos @BGG

For now, however, we will need to wait and see how U-Boot is received both by reviewers and the general public. Will it take the charts by storm, or will it run silently and remain a hidden gem for U-boat aficionados? Will there be another print run, or maybe even an expansion one day? Only time will tell. Right now, we are happy to return home after a very long and exhausting patrol. It has been an incredible adventure and we would like to thank everybody very much once again for believing in us and allowing us to make the U-boat game of our dreams (and, hopefully, of your dreams too).

What lies ahead

Alongside U-Boot app support, Iron Wolf Studio will now begin working on a new project. While we cannot say much at this point, we can already assure you that it will be another big and ambitious undertaking, once again tearing down the walls between genres and combining high level of immersion with demanding gameplay. PHALANX, on the other hand, is working on other projects from the war / war-euro / conflict simulation game genres: Europe Divided, 1941 Race to Moscow, Fire in the Sky and a new edition of the renowned Successors of Alexander the Great! This will be a great year for all serious gamers!

Please stay tuned and happy hunting!

Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX

Shipping update

Posted by PHALANX (Creator)

Hello everyone,

The biggest U-BOOT shipment is leaving the port now, so it is time to go wave it goodbye from the pier :)

The container with more than 2.500 subs has been loaded into the cargo hold of the MSC PHOENIX and is now in transit from Gdynia to Montreal (you can follow its route here - TEMU8563808). It will then be transferred by rail to Chicago, and released to a FedEx dispatch centre. This is the most reliable way, as the New York Port has developed huge delays in releasing the containers (up to 3 months) and we had to steer clear of it. 

As the subs for our EU backers have already been delivered for all language editions, we would like to kindly ask them not to sink the MSC PHOENIX on its route to Montreal! Please treat that as a request from the HQ.

Worldwide shipping

Having already dispatched around 8.000 games, we can now focus on the final 1.000 that are meant to be shipped around the World (mostly to Australia and Canada but also non-EU European countries like Norway or Switzerland). You should get your games along the US shipment, so around the middle of April.

The App


We have received tons of great feedback since the ‘early access’ release, and we are doing our best to tailor the final product to your expectations. There will be a small update coming very soon with the following new features, corrections, and fixes:

  • Weather conditions: overcast sky, rain, fog, and storm.
  • Rebalanced training exercise.
  • Less frequent maintenance tasks for the Chief Engineer.
  • The sextant can no longer ‘get lost’ on the map.
  • Minefields don’t hit as hard.
  • When choosing the Enigma code, you can go directly from A to Z.
  • The information in the center of the screen during a hull breach does no longer appear.
  • When changing speed underwater, the ‘crew in position’ question now correctly mentions section 6 (instead of 5).
  • The Diesel engine sound has been turned down.
  • iPhone X notch problem fixed.

This update will be rolling out for Android (today), and for the iOS (within the next few days). We wanted to get it out as soon as possible, so that the IT team can focus on implementing the noise dosimeter, as well as the next batch of corrections and bug fixes.


In the meantime, four new missions are going through intense testing so that we can have all of them for the final release, including the final boss fight (by which I mean the operation to sink the Illustrious-class carrier). If we manage to keep up the pace, everything should be ready about mid-April, which is when North America and the rest of the world will be receiving their boxes. We will also be porting the final version to PC and Mac, so if all goes well, you will be able to enjoy the game on your computers upon final release.


The Activation system

We have also received ample feedback regarding the game’s activation system. While a lot of players have had a very good experience with the game, then again, there were also some who found the difficulty level frustrating. Consequently, we have decided to update the difficulty level rules in the app so that they allow for more maneuvering freedom and more aggressive playstyle, especially on the lower difficulty levels.

This is a part of the development process, and we are kindly asking for your patience while we are applying the final touches to the game’s balance. We do realize that it might be confusing at times, especially as new versions and variants are being worked on, but please understand that the game is rather complex as a whole and balancing it is no easy task. 

In summary, the difficulty levels will be updated shortly, and will be translated and imported into the app as soon as possible. If you wish to have more insight into the process and share your feedback, you can find the updated difficulty level rules for the Captain HERE. We are almost done on the remaining roles as well, and all the updated difficulty level rules will be making it into the app with the next update.

Happy gaming!

Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX

A note from Jaro

I would like to take this opportunity and invite you to a yet another project of ours. It has almost become customary at the company to support projects which are a labour of love of their authors. That was the case with U-boot, which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t seen the fire in the eyes of Artur and Bart. The day I met them, I knew they would be cooking up something really incredible. It seems that our intuition didn’t fail us.

We applied the same logic and intuition to the project presented to us by a renowned Greek designer Vangelis Bagiartakis, who almost 3 years ago approached us with his game on a very important siege of quite obscure town, almost two hundred years ago.

The siege was so important to Vangelis’ homeland and the story so captivating that he has created a very exciting and tense blend of a wargame and euro, which we found worth publishing.

I am sure you are going to love the game, and so I ask you to support the project and the designer. Let’s see his dream come true. I want to give him this opportunity after I saw the dreams of Artur and Bartek fulfilled. 

And those of mine too, with the publication of Hannibal & Hamilcar, which is now competing for the Golden Geek Award. If you can spare a minute, please vote for the game on Board Game Geek. Here is the link.

You can find Hannibal & Hamilcar in the Best Wargame and Best 2-Player categories.

Thank you very much for your votes!


U-Boot iOS App available!

Posted by PHALANX (Creator)

Dear backers,

The iOS ‘early access’ version of the U-Boot App has finally passed appstore approval! It seemed to take forever, but when we saw the ‘in review’ message yesterday, we were very much relieved, and when we finally received confirmation that it has been given the green light, we couldn’t wait to share the good news with you.

We hope that you will have an amazing experience with the game, as we are receiving a lot of very positive feedback based on first playthroughs. That being said, there were also voices saying that the game was quite difficult to pick up, and so we are preparing a ‘learn to play’ rules module which will allow everybody to dive in and have lots of fun from the outset.

We are also making minor adjustments to the activation rules to accomodate for some bigger challenges that await you in your further missions. In the end, there will be two game variants (‘learn to play’ and ‘advanced’) that will appear in the app in an upcoming update. We hope that this variety of options will appeal to both fledgling sailors and seasoned veterans, as the game will be even more refined when we roll out the next update. This will also include toning down the Chief Engineer’s workload, as a lot of people found it rather heavy (although after a few games a lot of people realized that it’s not so difficult after all). 

Regardless, the game is being refined in its every aspects, and we will be releasing a new and updated version as soon as possible. Not only will it contain the refined activation rules (which also have to be translated to all the language versions), but, first and foremost, the next version will introduce more stability, fewer bugs and a few minor corrections.

So, as you can see, we are not slowing down! Everybody at Iron Wolf and InImages is doing their best to keep things moving forward. Further missions are being tested, the weather conditions are almost done, and, in the meantime, we are analyzing all your feedback and putting the app through its paces to deliver the amazing U-boat experience you have allowed us to create. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please make sure to DISABLE the ‘microphone’ in the options for the iOS version. We have encountered a problem with this functionality on iOS just after it was sent for approval, and we didn’t want to resubmit the app in order not to make the process any longer. This problem has already been eliminated on our side, and the upcoming update will sort it out for good.  If you spot any other bugs, please send your reports to  Thank you!

Download link

Please click on the link below to install the app on your iOS device: 

Windows PC

We are planning to release the full version of the app on Steam. For the time being, everybody who would like to run the early access app on their Windows PC may do this by using Android emulators like Nox or Blue Stack. These are very simple and useful tools, so please do not hesitate to give them a try: 

Nox Android emulator:

Blue Stack Android emulator:

All language editions in a row.
All language editions in a row.

Shipping Update

We are still sending English edition games in the EU. We have sent 500 parcels this week, and the remaining ones (around 500) will have been sent out by the end of next week. Therefore, most of you should get their parcels in the first half of March. For other countries (Australia, Canada, rest of the World), the April delivery date is still valid.

The container dispatch to the US was slightly delayed because of the situation in The Port of New York and New Jersey. Our shipper has informed us that the containers sent there could be held in port for up to two months, due to their internal dispatch delays (they are still holding containers that arrived in December!). We are currently arranging for an alternative route, and hopefully our container will be released next Thursday. Your games have already been packed, and the container has been assembled. This means that after the container leaves US customs, the parcels will be shipped directly to the USPS hub, with no further delay in assembling the goods and packaging parcels. We are very sorry for the delay, but this is how international shipping works - you can never be sure how long this will take, and the only thing you can do is to monitor the process closely and react whenever there is anything you can do to help. That being said, we will provide you with container tracking as soon as the ship leaves port. 

French, German, Russian and Polish editions have already been sent out. 

Italian edition already left the factory, and is on the way to Italy. Please contact Cranio Creations for delivery details. 

Brazilian edition should be picked up from the factory in a few days. Galapagos Jogos is arranging the import now.   

Closing comments

This month we are going to launch our next KS campaign for a card driven game designed by Vangelis Bagiartakis (Among the Stars, Fields of Green, The Pursuit of Happiness). Freedom! is a siege warfare game, showing the whole, one year long siege operation, both from tactical and operational point of view. It is a real masterpiece of game design (and looks gorgeously!), so if you want to follow this project (and other updates from PHALANX) please subscribe to our newsletter at

In fact, we send stuff rarely, so no worries, your mailbox won't be spammed. 

Right, so that is everything for the current update. Please take your time to read the rules and (even more importantly!) the Tactical Guide before your first game, and we wish you many successful patrols.


Iron Wolf Studio and PHALANX