Game Poem 8: The Calais Bunker

This is a game for three or more players. Each of you will play the role of a German soldier, stationed together in a spotting and gunnery bunker near Calais, near the French beaches overlooking the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel. At least one player must take the part of a soldier manning a machine gun, one player will take the part of a spotter (using binoculars or field glasses or the like), and exactly one player must take the part of the radio operator. You may assume that you are each familiar with your roles and positions, and are capable and competent in carrying out your responsibilities, and have standard equipment appropriate to your stations.

One of the soldiers is a traitor to the Reich. Do not decide who this will be, or discuss it as players at any time. If the issue comes up during play, act and react accordingly, but do not address the matter out of character.

As the game begins, it is early June, 1944. It is summer in occupied France, and it is miserably hot inside the bunker. You are terribly uncomfortable in your uniforms, and you have been operating on continuous watch for the last twenty-four hours. Your watch has been uneventful for some time, but you can sense that something is stirring in the wind; your superiors have not informed you exactly what that something might be, however.

The radio operator should start a timer, or note the time as you start playing. Take a minute or so to establish the setting and characters – address each other by name and rank, discuss your duties, gossip, socialize a little bit. You have known each other for months, at least, and should be able to make small talk easily. Accept what each player says as fact, and build and explore your characters and relationships from there.

One minute and thirty seconds after play begins (1:30), the radio man announces that he has just received word that there is enemy movement in the area. You are to remain alert and await further orders.

The soldiers should continue talking among themselves, but take no action yet.

Four minutes after play begins (4:00), the radio operator announces that German radar has detected a large fleet of Allied ships approaching the shores of Pas-de-Calais, exact composition unknown. Prepare to engage any ground troops that make a landing.

Continue interacting with each other, and act as appropriate.

Nine minutes and fifteen seconds after play begins (9:15), the radio man turns to his companions and tells them that further information regarding the attack began to arrive, then the radio suddenly fell silent. A brief inspection reveals that the transceiver has gone completely dead, and nothing will bring it back to working order.

Twelve minutes and thirty seconds after play begins (12:30), the radio sputters to life for a moment, and the radio operator can make out the following words through the static: “…ssive invasion fl… ” “… treachery and cowardice wi…” “…duty as a Ger…” “…ngage the …” “…all appropriate for…” The radio then emits a shower of sparks and falls silent once again.

Fourteen minutes after play begins (14:00), the soldier acting as the spotter announces that German gun batteries along the coast have commenced firing, and you pause for a moment, listening to the low thumping sound of the artillery in the distance.

Fifteen minutes after play begins (15:00), one of the soldiers manning a machine gun spots something moving towards the bunker, coming over a dune just within range.

Each person may then make one statement or describe one action that their character takes, and the game ends.

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