-- Benito Mussolini, Political Testament, April 1945
In the end, the vain hopes expressed above were all lies and delusions of course. But their genesis started in late 1941 with senior officials across Germany becoming increasingly aware that Operation Barbarossa would fail somewhere short of Moscow. Many worriedly began looking for an “out.” Some, like Ernst Udet, head of Luftwaffe Development, and Walter Borbet, a leading industrialist, shot themselves over the shock of the failure. Others, like General Fromm, in charge of the Army Weapons Office, turned their attention to an extraordinary proposal by Germany’s leading physicists to unlock the secrets of the atom and provide limitless power, and a possible war-winning explosive device, the atomic bomb.
Die Atombombe is a card game for 2 to 5 players. Each player represents a faction inside German government, industry, or military circles, seeking to engage one of the Reich's prestigious research institutes to start work on a nuclear program.
Acting through the Director of each center, players will need to size matters up, recruit other scientists, acquire scarce resources, (plus spy on their rivals, this is the Third Reich remember) and certainly go all out if they hope to develop atomic weapons...
...Or some players may instead focus on mastering and commercializing the secrets of the atom, hoarding both knowledge and resources for the “glorious post-war economy” they fondly imagine is sure to come after the war has been won through more conventional means.
Progress is slow at first - the Russians are far away and the enormity of the effort seems clear early on. And there are always other weapons more desperately needed now.
As the course of the war darkens for Germany, players may see more official support being thrown their way, or engage in fruitless bickering among themselves over the best theories and resources required to succeed. Their finest scientists may even be drafted to serve as simple soldiers at the front!
Fast and quick playing, Die Atombombe shows just how easy it was to be bewitched by the idea, and how hard it really was to mount an effective nuclear program under the increasing rain of Allied bombs and the Soviet menace looming to the east.
Die Atombombe and issue #50 of ATO:
Cards - 108 colorful playing cards
Counters - 64 large 5/8" die-cut pieces
Rules length - 10 pages
Charts and tables - 1 page
Complexity - Low
Playing time - Up to 1 to 2 hours
How challenging is it solitaire? - Poor
Design - Steven Cunliffe
Development - S. Rawling
Graphic Design - Mark Mahaffey