The latest board game in the award-winning Undaunted series is here with Battle of Britain, taking to the skies for the first time. Read on to hear all about the historical inspirations behind its creation...
Undaunted: Battle of Britain is a standalone game in the Undaunted series, adapting the core gameplay of the previous games to recreate the dynamic dogfighting of aerial combat. Maintain cohesion between your pilots, evade anti-aircraft artillery, and leverage talented aces to win the battle for the skies!
But what about the research and inspirations surrounding the game's historical setting? This is what Undaunted: Battle of Britain co-designer David Thompson had to say about the early design process behind the scenes:
"We identified a TON of Osprey books that would help us out with the research stage (one of the obvious benefits of making a military-themed game with Osprey is their massive catalog of military history books). Osprey sent them over right away and Trevor and I pored over them, trying to identify the right time period, regional focus, and scale for our game."
These books for research included a whole range of titles across a wide variety of specialist subjects: Battle of Britain 1940, The Royal Air Force 1939-45 & The Battle of Britain for general background, Mosquito Photo Reconnaissance Units of World War 2 for air reconnaissance, Britain's Air Defences 1939-45, British Home Defences 1940-45 & German Flak Defences vs Allied Heavy Bombers for anti-aircraft guns, barrage balloons & the radar system.
Last but not least, of course, there were the planes themselves - the units players actually take command of in Undaunted: Battle of Britain. For these the designers consulted RAF Fighters vs Luftwaffe Bombers, Spitfire vs Bf 109 & Hurricane I vs Bf 110. Below we've included some of the illustrations from these books alongside the final artwork created for the plane tokens in the game...
LEFT: Hurricane I, illustrated by Jim Laurier, from Hurricane I vs Bf 110
"This aircraft, part of the first production batch of 500 aircraft built by Gloster Aircraft Company at its Brockworth plant in Gloucestershire, was delivered new to No. 56 Sqn in early 1940. Passed on to No. 601 Sqn in May, it was regularly flown by Plt Off J. C. U. B. McGrath from RAF Tangmere during the early phase of the Battle of Britain. Indeed, McGrath claimed ten victories with this aircraft between 11 July and 13 August, including three Bf 110s. However, P2690 was one of two No. 601 Sqn Hurricane Is lost on the latter date over Portland Bill, fellow ace Plt Off H. C. Mayers being forced to take to his parachute over Weymouth Bay after his aircraft was hit by fire from a Bf 110 of I./ZG 2. Mayers had claimed a Zerstörer probably destroyed moments earlier."
RIGHT: Hurricane illustration by Roland MacDonald for Undaunted: Battle of Britain
LEFT: Bf 109E-4 of I.(J)/LG 2, illustrated by Jim Laurier, from Spitfire vs Bf 109
"This aircraft was the mount of leading Battle of Britain Spitfire killer Oberleutnant Herbert Ihlefeld, who was promoted from Staffelkapitän of 2.(J)/LG 2 to Gruppenkommandeur of I.(J)/LG 2 on 30 August 1940. The following month he claimed at least 15 Spitfires destroyed whilst flying this aircraft from Marquise, in the Pas de Calais."
RIGHT: Bf 109E illustration by Roland MacDonald for Undaunted: Battle of Britain
Historical Note from Undaunted: Battle of Britain rulebook
"Undaunted: Battle of Britain follows the dynamic struggle between the formidable Luftwaffe and the RAF for control of the skies of Britain and the English Channel. At stake is nothing less than the fate of Europe. The game recreates the conflict in some detail and features aircraft and scenarios that have a historical basis. However, this is not a simulationist game. The core mechanic of deck-building is an obvious abstraction of the individual agency of the pilots who were involved. The technical capabilities of aircraft in the game have been tweaked in favour of gameplay.
Throughout development, historical accuracy has been one value among several, and the core aim has always been to create a game that might emulate the experience of command, rather than its exact reality. Should you commit your aircraft to the fight quickly, or attempt to outmanoeuvre your opponent and engage on your terms? Should you maintain close formation for ease of communication, or break off to pursue tempting targets? These are the decisions forced upon you in Undaunted: Battle of Britain."
Want to dig even deeper into the creation of the game?
Learn more about the design process behind the scenes in our full design diary.