Jutland: One Of The Greatest Games Ever

Bill has been on quite a tear of late with his “Name That Ship” series of posts, and has provided a lot of fun for us history buffs (though I do prefer the term “buff historians”). It reminded me of one of my favorite games of all time: Jutland, which was published by Avalon Hill in the late 60s.
For you young whipper-snappers out there, in its day AH was simply the best. There were no such things as video games, let alone home computers. AH basically invented military board games using hexagonal grids for movement. And this was in the days before D&D was invented (I got one of the early D&D sets in 1978).

We would spend hours playing D-Day, Afrika Korps and Panzerblitz, carefully setting the hundreds of little cardboard pieces on the hex or square grid of the gameboard which was set up on a card table somewhere in the house, usually stuffed in my bedroom. Actually, my bedroom was so small that the card table took up most of the space (And Dang it mom! Don’t try to clean my room; you’ll bump the table and shift all of my units!!).
But for me the best of these games was Jutland, because of the brilliance of the design: there was no board. You had scale-sized counters that represented all the ships on the British and German sides, each player had movement and range-finder gauges, there were hit probability charts (as always! Ha!) and damage charts. But the beauty, the genius of the game’s design was you could play it on a table top, on the kitchen counter, or on the floor.
Crusader and I would spend hours chasing each other around the house with our fleets, trying to get into position for a decisive engagement. The space between the couches in the living room became a fjord, providing tactical oppurtunities for creative maneuvers, as did pairs of shoes scattered about the house. Heh.
This game is simply a great classic, and if you like wargaming you should pick up a copy.

16 Responses to “Jutland: One Of The Greatest Games Ever”

  1. The Real JeffS says:

    A “sand box” terrain model without the sand. Cool!
    It’s a good thing for your home that Jutland wasn’t nuclear!

  2. (Our house was the nuclear option, JeffS, resulting in our twisted, whipsmart, eclectic out-of-the-box, minimally entertaining, occasionally informative TOWACA camaraderie.)

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    JeffS, we had our own MAD policy – Mother’s Assured Destruction.

  4. And don’t try this at home !!
    Back to the game, Bingley was the three card monty king of Monopoly Insanity, too, besides his cockaded hat, D&D obsessions and wailing bagpipes. That’s why I joined the Marines. I had to get away from his evil influence.

  5. John says:

    Panzer Leader was the name of the game – it’s sitting on my bookshelf. Tactics II was their first game, a bare bones division level Cold War knockoff with a nuclear option.
    I also have the Eastern Front somewhere.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    Oh my, the Monopoly insanity; I’d forgotton about that. We used to play double-board Monopoly, where you’d play with 2 boards and go around in a figure-eight pattern.

  7. Mr. Bingley says:

    Panzerblitz was the follow-up to Panzer Leader; I had them both. And then they came out with the whole Squad Leader series…

  8. Crusader says:

    We actually did have a nuclear based game, complete with glowing die(dice?) I think it was called Nuclear Escalation, perhaps, or something along those lines. Real hoot, and I thought Bingley still has it.

  9. Mr. Bingley says:

    Yeah, Nuclear Escalation. I do still have it.

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    I think. I’ll climp up in the attic tonight and see what I can find.

  11. ‘climp’?
    Is that a cross between Bushimphitler and clump?

  12. Crusader says:

    Climb and limp, perhaps?

  13. Mr. Bingley says:

    What Crusader said…

  14. Nightfly says:

    Recently we’ve been playing Kingmaker at a friend’s house. The first game I was in took us twelve hours, most of it in searching the rules and wasting time because the second edition renumbered the board grid but included the first edition rules, meaning that NONE of the towns were where we were told. (Picture driving about London with a map of Paris and you get the idea.) Fun game anyway. And back in the day my dad owned a copy of Fuedal.
    Sometime I’ll have to email you the rules for “It’s Just Dice,” my homegrown stratomatic baseball ripoff. Long live Analog Gaming!

  15. NJ Sue says:

    I remember playing Kingmaker in 1988 with my then-future husband. The rules were frustrating; very badly written. There was a loophole where you could basically take to the ocean and sail around the British Isles, never making landfall, and keep in the game. I wonder if they fixed that.

  16. Mr. Bingley says:

    But it did allow me to taunt you mercilessly from the shore, my dear.

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