Shadows over Europe is a two- or three-player game simulating the diplomatic, economic and military development leading up to and eventually being unfolded in World War II.
Players assume the roles of Germany, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. Players attempt to outperform each nation’s historical record in the world’s most gigantic struggle. The game starts in 1935 and ends by an automatic victory or in the summer of 1945.
Shadows of Europe is played over 11 years, 1935-1945. Each year is represented by three turns; a Between Years turn (diplomacy, resource collection and research), a Winter turn (land operations), and a Summer turn (land and naval operations). Further each turn is divided into several phases.
A fundamental part of the game design is that actions rather than units are hidden from the enemy. This captures the game’s ambition to reflect a strategic rather than tactical level. In WWII the concentration of larger forces was often known to the enemy, whereas their strategic intent was not.
Units are Infantry and Mechanized/Panzer armies, Leaders, Surface raiders, U-boat flotillas, Escort Groups and Convoys. Air forces are abstracted to a combat modifier for each front.
The game facilitates two kind of resources: Minerals used for production and Oil for operations. The 20-page rulebook is clearly written with many examples and designer notes. Also included is a 14-page playbook with extended examples of play, Rulebook and Playbook:hints and a card index.strategy.