Gameday First Play – Captain Sonar

Posted on by Jesta

“I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.”

~ H. G. Wells

In Captain Sonar, you and your teammates control a state-of-the-art submarine and are trying to locate an enemy submarine in order to blow it out of the water before they can do the same to you. Every role is important, and the confrontation is merciless. Be organised and communicate because a captain is nothing without his crew: the Chief Mate, the Radio Operator, and the Engineer.

This is a team game where you play either 3 vs 3 or preferably, 4 vs 4.  The reason being that both teams have 4 roles and the game works better when 4 players have one each.

The game can also be played either turn based or simultaneously… I haven’t played turned based but simultaneous seems to be the way to go , according to people who have played both.

As the blurb says you’re piloting a submarine, moving around some islands to hide from your enemy while at the same time trying to attack them.

So this is how this is done…

The Captain marks on a sheet of dots where they are on the map. They then say a direction such as ‘Head North’.

The Engineer crosses off a Mark on their sheet for a system that is in the ‘North’ section and says ‘OK’.

The First Mate adds a cross to a System to move it towards being activated and says ‘OK’.

The Captain then confirms everything by saying ‘Moving North’.

The Radio Operator on the other team is listening to the opponents Captain and marking down on a piece of loose acetate that can be moved over the map of the islands. (Hopefully to work out where they are)

That’s the basics of each role…

Now the interesting stuff…

The Captain can’t move over islands (obviously), or go back through their path like Snake/Tron.

The Engineer has 6 boxes per direction… If all 6 are full in one section you take a point of damage and remove all the crosses in that section. Also, each box represents one of the 3 systems the First Mate uses and 1 cross in one system makes that entire system unusable.

There are 6 Radiation symbols across all 4 sections, if they are all marked off the Sub takes a point of damage and all breakdowns are erased.

If you’re in trouble you can ‘Surface’ to clear all of your damage, but you have to give your opponents an idea of where you are.

The boxes themselves are connected in different ‘Circuits’ that spread over the sub. If all the boxes in a circuit are ticked, they are all removed without penalty.

The First Mate, when a system is ready, and the Engineer says it’s available, launch a Drone or Activate the Sonar to get some minor information on the other teams location.

They can also make the Captain aware that a Mine of Torpedo is ready. A Mine is dropped behind the Subs current map location and can be detonated later. A Torpedo is fired 1-4 spaces orthogonally, you give the grid reference to the opponent and they say if they’ve hit or not.

You can also ‘Go Silent’ if available to move up to 4 spaces in a straight line without the other team knowing which direction you went.

First ship to take 4 damage loses.

Positives

Fun and Frantic as you’re shouting back and forth to get information across. The Captain has an idea where they want to go, the Engineer may not agree!

4 different roles means 4 different game play experiences.

Negatives

A tough teach… Not only do people need to know their station, they need to know how it effects everyone else so they can play it well.

Requires Accuracy and Honesty! Honesty generally isn’t a problem… But Accuracy can be.

Needs 8 people, who don’t have AP and play games for fun… That’s going to be VERY hard to do.

Summary

Apart from the player count and teach time this is a very fun game.

It’s like Space Cadets Dice Duel but the fact you can’t see your opponent is great.

I hope to play this more, with the right people 🙂

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