Black Orchestra takes place as the Nazi Party’s grasp of Germany is weakening and the horrible events and actions taken by the Nazis have caused dissent within their own ranks. Each player takes on the role of one of the members of “Schwarze Kapelle” or the Black Orchestra, which is the name that the Gestapo gave to the group of conspirators within the German military that plotted to overthrow Hitler.
As an avid board gamer, it is easy to understand why World War II would be chosen as a common setting for many board games. Unsurprisingly, most games in this setting are traditionally war games with the method of play usually done through moving tanks, ships, and soldiers on a large map in order to depict battles. However, Black Orchestra takes a different approach to this expectation. The game uses an action point allowance system, so during a player’s turn, they are allowed three actions which consist of moving to different locations, drawing or playing cards, or conspiring. The conspire action in the game is the most useful but also the most dangerous. Whenever this action is taken, the player rolls three dice. Dependent upon the result of these dice, the player may gain more actions, increase the dissent towards Hitler’s regime, or increase their suspicion with the Gestapo. All of these actions are done in the hope of eventually being able to complete a plot card, which is the cards in the game that allow for an attempt to overthrow Hitler. When a player attempts to complete a plot card, they roll a number of dice dependent upon how prepared they are for that plot and if they roll a number of successes that equals Hitler’s military support, they win the game. If they fail to do so, then this will lead to trouble with the Gestapo.