The German WWI board game where the aim is to destroy Britain

A WWI German board game in which the aim is to destroy Germany's arch-enemy, Britain, is to go on sale at auction.

The game, hidden in a German cupboard for almost a century, is similar to snakes and ladders but the player uses a German U-boat as a piece.

The aim is to try and conquer Britain which, at that time, was an industrial and naval superpower.

The game, called "Unterseekriegspiel" ("submarine wargame") was manufactured bu D&M Ludwigsberg as a propaganda tool aimed at influencing the next generation of Germans.

It will be auctioned by Mullocks Auctioneers tomorrow.

In the years leading up to WWI, Germany was the world's second naval power, after Great Britain (the Germans were jealous of Britain's naval might), and both Germany and the United States were starting to overtake Great Britain as the world's dominant industrial powers.

But now Britain looks on as the crippled Euro sinks Germany under the waves.

The German WWI board game where the aim is to destroy Britain

By Daily Mail Reporter (external - login to view)
26th May 2010
Daily Mail

A rare German First World War board game in which the aim is to destroy Britain is going under the hammer after being hidden in a German attic for almost a century.

The game, created in 1916, works like snakes and ladders but the player uses a die-cast German U-boat as a game piece.

The player rolls a dice and move the piece around the board's map landing on spaces that help or hinder their aim - to conquer the British Isles.

Propaganda: The board game challenged German children to try to take over Britain

The U-boat captain moves their playing piece around the British coast, taking out targets along the way.

It was produced by D&M Ludwigsberg as a propaganda tool aimed at influencing the next generation of Germans.

Its name, Unterseekriegspiel, translates as 'submarine wargame' in English. It will be auctioned by Mullocks Auctioneers tomorrow.

Mullucks' historical expert Richard Westwood-Brookes said it was incredibly rare to find a children's game this old in such good condition.

He said: 'We have sold similar board games from WWII but have never had one from the First World War. The game is in absolutely perfect condition - it really doesn't have a scratch or blemish on it. This is incredibly rare with toys, especially one so old because children have the habit of losing bits and playing a bit too rough with them.

Target: The game works like snakes and ladders, with players moving around the British coastline

'It is fascinating in that children who played this game in 1916 would be the right age to be U-boat crew in WWII. It would have made children see Britain as an enemy - it would have been these children that would have fought more than 30 years later in WWII.

'I have seen anti-British toys from the Second World War but have never come across one from the first war in such amazing condition - it is a real find.

'The game came from a German vendor - it had been hidden away in somebody's attic and kept in pristine condition. It had been at the same house, sitting at the bottom of a box for almost a century - it looks almost as good as it did when it was created.'

The game is expected to fetch 400.

At the start of World War I, Germany had twenty-nine U-boats in service who devastated British trade routes.

In the first ten weeks of the war, five British cruisers had been lost to them.

Under the instructions given to U-boat captains, they could sink merchant ships, even potentially neutral ones, without warning.


You don't need the German boared game to destroy Britain. The German Chancellor Angela Merkels & her MEPs will do that when the euro collapses & all the Banks are Bankrupt
- Ingo, West ham

Have you seen the latest board game? Its not called undersea ship, its called under EU !!!
- David, London,


I have lived in this country for 34 years and I think I can safely say I have never met a more peace-loving nation.
- Christine, Germany, expat

I don't think my Father, who crouched in an air-raid shelter as the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on him, or my Grandfather, who faced the Kaiser's army for four years standing in a muddy trench, would describe the Germans as particularly peace-loving.


"Germans have an absolute horror of war of any kind."

Well, they always lose, don't they! Okay, that's a facetious comment, but given the total destruction of Germany which resulted from the last war it's not surprising that they're in no hurry to do it again. They seemed quite keen on war from 1939 to 1944, but after that it must have lost its attraction, especially in those areas where the Red Army exacted revenge for the horrors which the Germans had inflicted on the Soviet Union.
- Chris, Lichfield

The Germans had no surface fleet of any note in WW2 so how they were going to conquer the world is a question that the Colonel Blimps need to focus on. They couldn't even cross the twenty miles of the English channel! That they had U boats which sunk British shipping bringing raw materials to Britain in WW2 is indisputable , likewise the allied nations had submarines which sank German vessels. The largest loss of life ever was the Carl Gusthoff which sank with 10,000 civilian German refugees in 1945 from an allied torpedo.
- peter, devon
Last edited by Blackleaf; May 26th, 2010 at 10:24 AM..
Family Feud
Killing cousins. I wonder what it's like to wager and lose a divison one day and then double your bet the next.
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