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miércoles, 5 de agosto de 2015

Review of Kreuzfeuer



In today's review I will speak of the supplement Kreuzfeuer for the role-playing game Walküre of which I had early access thanks to being a patron of the fundaraising gampaign for publishing the game.

As will know all those people familiar with Walküre, this game is a transhumanist alternate history or uchronia based on an alternate ending of the Second World War and the resulting Cold War that will lead to a future in which nations protagonists of the conflict will continue their confrontation using advanced technology and weaponry.

And it is Kreuzfeuer the supplement responsible of describing the era of the Cold War in the game universe, and it does by providing us the following contents:



An extensive chronology that complements those already appeared in the game manual and the supplement Mondblindheit that starts giving us a series of facts from the world of espionage in the early '40s (eg the actions of the Soviet spy Richard Sorge) and extending it extending to the year 1980, considering many genuine historical cases such as the VENONA Project (Wikipedia | Intelligence Reference) or failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba and subsequent Missile Crisis and others that have been adjusted to changes in the historical course or are completely new (it's the case of British agent Greville Wynne that in this timeline will be arrested by the SD in Budapest in 1962 and sentenced to death 4 years later or the attacks that the terrorist organization Masada carries out against German interests).

After this chronology we reached the highlight of the supplement, which is responsible for further information on the main protagonist countries of the time, ie, the USA, the UK, the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, and does providing information tailored to the facts told above, including their political structure (mainly presidents and rulers), its security agencies, in some cases their armed forces and some elite units (primarily the United States, the Third Reich and the Soviet Union) and major covert operations that these have been carried out during this period.

Regarding the United States it can be said that historical facts are developed in much the same way as our real history, except for some details such as the assassination of President Gerald Ford the September 22, 1975 by Sara Jane Moore (which in our reality was not successful) and the Operation Moses which in Walküre takes place immediately after the end of World War II, and that involves evacuation to the United States and Palestine (which after the war was divided into two states under the Resolution 181) of all people of Jewish origin living in Arab and Muslim countries.

With regard to the UK special emphasis is placed on the figure of Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his decision to sign an armistice with Nazi Germany in 1941 to prevent the possible invasion of Britain, the authors have also taken the liberty of changing the speech that Churchill spoke at Westminster College in Fulton (Missouri) on March 5, 1946 for its mention in the Iron Curtain fell across Europe that time refers to the position of Nazi Germany as the dominant power on the continent.
Apart from the figure of Churchill there's also a review of the main British security and intelligence agencies, which involves talking of MI5 (counterintelligence and national security), the MI6 (espionage and counterespionage abroad) and the SOE (Special Operations Executive, responsible for espionage operations, military reconnaissance and sabotage in occupied Europe) plus Ultra, the special department dedicated to intercept and decipher German communications during the war and after it.



The next country to be treated in the supplement is the Third Reich, with figures such as Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess or Reinhard Heydrich among others (taking into account, of course, the changes that have taken place in the timeline of Walküre, which means that these characters reach an old age and not die from an attack, as Heydrich, or committing suicide like Hitler). As for the security and intelligence agencies there is the Abwehr (military intelligence) and the Allgemeine SS, political and civil branch of the SS in charge of state security and the police functions, encompassing agencies like the RSHA (Central Security Office of the Reich), which includes among others the SD, the Gestapo or the RuSHA finally also treat SS-Totenkopfverbände, responsible for managing the concentration camp system, and the Wehrmacht (Army).
Regarding the covert operations carried out by the Third Reich it's worthy to highlight sabotage by Operation Pastorius (instead of happening in 1942 the authors had moved it to the beginning of the 1960s with the aim of antagonizing the United States with the Soviet Union), the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy during Operation Kreuzfeuer (also to provoke an incident with the Soviet Union) or Aktion Sonnenwende, an operation which began in the summer of 1951 and was led by Reinhard Heydrich, aims at eliminating all individuals who participated in the implementation of the Final Solution and The Holocaust to prevent leaks to the international community putting at risk the German state, which continues to be a paradox, since Heydrich himself was one of the main promoters of Aktion Reinhard).

Finally the supplement talks about the Soviet Union, led by Lavrenti Beria after the death of Stalin in 1953. Soviet security and espionage agencies treated in the supplement are the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army), the KGB (Committee for State Security) and the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) being the most important operations of the time Active measures, research on methods of poisoning carried out by Grigory Mairanovsky in the installation Kamera and directed by Pavel Sudoplatov, Operation Berezino, designed to infiltrate the General Government of occupied Poland (although in truth this operation consisted of a series of maneuvers of deception and misinformation that took place during World War II) and the recruiting of 5 double agents known as The Cambridge Five, most notably Kim Philby.

Having undertaken this extensive overview of the Cold War in the timeline of Walküre the supplement offers a list of appropriate equipment for the era in which it develops and which complements the ofered in the basic manual. Such equipment is mainly divided into four parts:
  • A number of conventional items that you can find the Technical Level 6 (TL6) and are fairly common use (flares, oxygen bottles, utility knife, etc.).
  • The proper equipment to carry out espionage tasks, although it includes TL6 items also offers the possibility of accessing early prototypes belonging to TL7; in this part you can find real-world pieces of equipment (such as wiretapping devices, pen guns or frequency inhibitors) aand objects from spy movies (jetpacks, communicator watches, binoculars glasses, etc.).
  • An expanded list of poisons and drugs to complement the basic manual.
  • A list corresponding to the era weapons and that complement those that already appear in the main book for the same period.
Having seen all the information offered by Kreuzfeuer the referees and players who are interested in the game will appreciate the great efforts made at the time of writing it due to the multitude of historical references which have been consulted and adapted, patrons who have already received it and whoever buys it when going to sale in physical format or downloads it when it become available (as had been done with Walküre and the Mondblindheit supplement) will have in their hands a small manual with many facts based more or less on real historical development, something that anyone with knowledge of history or with access to specialized literature will value in order to prepare adventures (and if you can not have these I recommend you to visit the English Wikipedia portals dedicated to the Second World War and the Cold War, both very comprehensive and developed), but this should not keep you from creating your own stories using as a basis everything I have outlined above.

And finally here you have videos and links to information on many films that somehow can be related to Kreuzfeuer, which once were broadcasted on television (and still do) which can give ideas for pure and simple espionage adventures, in some cases may also have a touch of science fiction or even a few drops of black humor:

North by Northwest (Wikipedia | IMDB)

Torn Curtain (Wikipedia | IMDB)

Executive Action (Wikipedia | IMDB)

JFK (Wikipedia | IMDB)

All the President's Men (Wikipedia | IMDB)

Three Days of the Condor (Wikipedia | IMDB)

Colossus: The Forbin Project (Wikipedia | IMDB)

Doctor Strangelove (Wikipedia | IMDB)

This entry it's also available in the following languages:
Castellano Català

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