In May of 1940 the German army invaded Holland, Belgium and France. In a matter of a few weeks they rolled up the combined armies of Belgium, France and England. The BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and other nearby Allied forces were forced to retreat toward the French coast, resulting in about 400,000 men being surrounded near the town of Dunkirk. Rescue operations commenced to evacuate these forces to England and Winston Churchill, the new Prime Minister of Great Britain, was hopeful that perhaps 30,000 men could be rescued from the trap. Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay was put in charge of “Operation Dynamo”, the goal of which was to send ships of all sizes and shapes to evacuate these beleaguered soldiers from the beaches of France and Belgium. Through skill, efficient planning and poor German coordination (along with some fortuitous luck), the operation was able to rescue an incredible 330,000 men from the pocket. A true military miracle had been performed and by doing so, the future of the Second World War was forever altered.
Miracle at Dunkerque is essentially a solitaire game, but also includes a two-player option. It is meant to recreate the tense situation within the Dunkirk perimeter during those last eight days in May and June 1940. The game design aims to capture the spirit of the difficult decision-making challenges faced by Allied commanders as they attempted to extricate the remnants of Britain’s last field army from certain capture or death. Historically-based Event Cards drive the action and create varying circumstances each turn. The besieging German forces (army, air and naval units) are controlled by these cards, which are specifically designed to place constant pressure on the player. Allied Player Actions must be allocated each turn for the defense of the perimeter, the creation of evacuee units and the loading of these evacuees from the beaches and moles to available ships and then sailed onward to the safety of England. You obviously cannot save all the Allied units, so you must choose who stays to fight and who shall attempt to escape in order to continue the struggle against the Nazis another day.