top of page




The baord game THEY COME UNSEEN setup ready to play

The Main Board setup ready for a new game as viewed by the Soviet player(s):


The destroyers are at Ice-Stations DELTA & FOXTROT and the three ships in the Soviet's logistic fleet at ECHO; all FUEL & WEAPON tokens have been placed at ECHO.


The NATO submarines are preparing to dive as they enter the area of operations in the Barents Sea in their start positions on the grey squares at coordinates A1 & Y1. When surfaced the submarine playing pieces are used as shown; the datum pieces are used on the MAIN board to indicate the snorting (charging) phase of a Snort Move and the last known position of the submarine (see the NATO and SOVIET pages).

The DEEP board is behind the screen placed on the CHARLIE/FOXTROT side of the board.

A submarine control panel from the baord game THEY COME UNSEEN

A NATO submarine control panel setup ready to play:  20 battery units* & on the surface.

Each NATO submarine takes one strip of MINES.

* (100% battery charge - as in the original design).

NATO's operating (keel) depths are:

MAIN board: Surface & Periscope Depth (PD)

[see NATO and CONCEPTS - 3D]

DEEP board: 200, 400 & 600 feet*

[* water depth and damage state permitting]

NATO attack by landing commandos at Ice-Stations and by laying mines in 250 feet areas.

A destroyer control panel from the baord game THEY COME UNSEEN

A SOVIET destroyer control panel setup ready to play: 100% fuel & 3 weapon salvoes.

A destroyer can attack in two ways:

DEEP board: by firing salvoes of bombs set to explode at 200, 400 or 600 feet; different depths can be declared for the BLACK & WHITE cube sets respectively.

MAIN board: by ramming submarines on the high seas; ships cannot ram a submarine attacking an Ice-Station.

The Storm Level tracks for the board game THEY COME UNSEEN

If the WEATHER mechanic is to be played, the yellow weather tokens on the 3 Storm Level tracks (West, Central & East) add environmental challenges - variable sea states & thermal layers - for NATO & Soviet commanders to master during a game; always being aware of the approaching weather is essential.

Rules page 4 SETUP step 8:  Shuffle the Ice-Station cards and deal one face up to the table; use its number to set the position on the weather track for the weather token for the WEST area (in this example: 5).  Set the token in the CENTRAL area one number less than the West area (i.e. 4) and the token in the EAST area, one number less again (i.e. 3).  This gives storms that move from west to east (L to R) across the Barents Sea and in the same direction as the weather tokens.

[ERRATUM: The weather setup described on page 14 of the rulebook, which sets the EAST area using the card draw, isn't as designed - it crept in as an error prior to printing; this setup works but the storms move across the board in the opposite direction to the weather tokens which isn't as intuitive as the original design].

NOTE: the initial weather setup positions and their effects come into play at the START of NATO's 2nd turn.  The tokens then move after the SOVIET's 2nd turn and every subsequent SOVIET turn.

The six Ice-Station cards from thebaord game THEY COME UNSEEN

The SIX Ice-Station cards are shuffled thoroughly and four cards are dealt face down to the NATO player(s). These are the NATO players’ targets for this game, and the only Ice-Stations they may attack. Place the two remaining cards back in the box without looking at them. The Soviet player(s) should not know which Stations are being targeted.

(See 'SOVIET' menu for Ice-Station specialisms).

Photo credit: Osprey Games

A Soviet destroyer conducting an active sonar search during the board game THEY COME UNSEEN

Each SOVIET player takes two sonar search templates ensuring that they have four different coloured sectors as shown.

These templates have a clear protective plastic film on one side which should be removed before the first game.

The cardboard templates can be used on the DEEP board by NATO to help with "Contact" declarations if needed.

Submarine and destroyer damage tracker cards plus the Soviet Logistic Fleet Manifest Card from the board game THEY COME UNSEEN

The SOVIET player(s) place the DESTROYER DAMAGE TRACKER and LOGISTICS SHIP MANIFEST within easy reach.

The NATO player(s) place the SUBMARINE DAMAGE TRACKER within easy reach.

The Damage/Near Miss tokens and Datum pieces are pooled in reach of all players.

Photo credit: Osprey Games

A downloadable player aid for the baord game THEY COME UNSEEN

Each team takes an optional Soviet Fleet Tracker & Player Game Aid (not included with the game but available at Menu: PLAYER AID).  


The Soviet player(s) can use the grid to help to track the moves carried out by their fleet of ships; the spare ships that Osprey Games included, or any suitable counters, can be used on this grid.

And finally. 

Onboard a NATO submarine ...

"Officer of the Watch ... Captain"

"Officer of the Watch, Sir"

"I have the submarine. Clear the bridge, come below, shut and clip the upper lid"

"You have the submarine. Clear the bridge, come below, shut and clip the upper lid. Aye, aye Sir"

[The bridge is cleared (prepared for diving); the lookout goes below followed by the Officer of the Watch]

"Upper lid shut ... one clip ... two clips ... one pin ... two pins"

"Roger upper lid shut, two clips, two pins.  Press the klaxon twice!"

"Press the klaxon twice. Aye, aye Sir"






NATO moves & acts with both submarines

SOVIETS move & act with their fleet of ships

STORMS move eastwards (1 → 6 ↩︎)

REPEAT the sequence above until NATO or the SOVIETS complete their mission - good luck!

bottom of page