Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Friday, 24 February 2017

Because... Just because...

If the Nazis cannot have their Antarctic base at the end of World War II, then they will they will have their base on the Moon! Unfortunately the Nazis like to keep their secrets, so what you need is a guide. Fortunately, there is such a thing! Nazi Moonbase is a complete guide to, and history of, Walhalla, the base established in the Moon in the aftermath of World War II, and the war against it in the second half of the twentieth century. Published by Osprey Publishing as part of its Osprey Adventures line, our guide in this matter is Graeme Davis, the author of several previous titles in the range, including Knights Templar: A Secret History and Werewolves: A Hunter’s Guide, as well as being the co-designer of the seminal British fantasy RPG, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

Nazi Moonbase is a sequel of sorts to the first entry in the series, The Nazi Occult by Ken Hite. In both, the Order of the Black Sun plays an important role, in The Nazi Occult, driving the rise of the Nazis, but then in Nazi Moonbase, pushing first for a way to save Nazi Germany, but in the face of certain defeat at the hands of the Allies, for a way to survive beyond that defeat. Essentially, this is done by taking control of Germany’s advanced weapon programs such as the vehicles of Projekt Saucer and then initiating Protokoll Bifrost first to escape to the Antarctic and then to Walhalla on the Moon using the Haunebu IV saucer where it would form the centre of the base. No Swastika-shaped moonbase for the Nazis! There they survive, repairing and upgrading their ramshackle facilities, even developing technologies, all in readiness to strike back at those that defeated them.

In response, the Moon Race of the 1960s was as much designed to confirm and monitor Walhalla as it was a scientific program. Indeed, the near destruction of Apollo 13 was Walhalla’s response to these endeavours. The American response to this was Operation Lyre, a direct assault on the base which would end in all but total disaster. Only in the last few years has the USA decided to attack the last of the Nazis once again after decades of failed Lunar probes and satellites from various nations.

Ending with a detailed timeline, Nazi Moonbase goes into detail about all aspects of Walhalla and the response to it. This includes its location and layout, how it operates, and the development of technologies such as the Eisenmänner (‘Iron Men’) labour and combat androids and the Mensch-Maschinen androids that could pass for perfect humans or as duplicates for world leaders. The response, primarily by the USA and the USSR, is a more measured and less fantastical in tone—lunar probes and rovers, satellites and manned stations. It does end on a note saying that Boeing is developing a space-plane capable of ferrying six astronauts plus equipment… (or is that a squad of US space marines or six player characters?)

The history lends itself to numerous campaign frameworks and set-ups. So in the 1940s, it might be chasing advanced Nazi technological development to the Antarctic and beyond; in the 1950s, it might be fighting the strange attacks and scouting missions by flying saucers on the Earth or the secret infiltration of replicants from the Moon; in the 1970s and 1980s, it could involve the US and Soviet manned assaults on the moon base; and perhaps in 2010s, the final strikes using remote warfare. The obvious starting point for such campaigns—especially given the links in Nazi Moonbase to The Nazi Occult with the Order of the Black Sun—is Modiphius Entertainment’s Achtung! Cthulhu, but Cubicle Seven Entertainment’s Cold War Cthulhu may open various elements later in this future history.

From a gaming standpoint, it is good to see Nazi Moonbase include a list of games that would work well with this system-less sourcebook. Previous entries have always included a bibliography, but never included games that could be used with such material or reference similar material. There is no RPG that does so directly—though with its depiction of United States Space Command special forces fighting terrorism, Fantasy Games Unlimited’s Year of the Phoenix, might be the nearest—so these are pointers and the GM will need to develop the ideas and background in Nazi Moonbase himself. The bibliography covers fiction and non-fiction, comics, games of all types, and movies and television programmes.

Physically, Nazi Moonbase is very nicely presented. The artwork is excellent and the book is an engaging read. Nazi Moonbase is not so much one campaign idea, but several, spread over a secret history lasting over seven or so decades. As a secret history, it gives you enough details and pointers to take away and develop into your own game, whether that is a war game or a roleplaying game, though there is an obvious inclination towards the latter rather than the former. Either way, Nazi Moonbase provides an engaging alternate background around which a GM can develop a campaign against the evil space Nazis from the Moon!