Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Playing Captain Sonar

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Last night my game group played Captain Sonar for the first time.  It's a game we've been wanting to play for a while now, but between not always having 8 players and not having read through the rules yet, we hadn't had a chance to play.  Last night Seth wanted to play since we had 8 players ready to go, but we said no because we hadn't read the rules yet.  That is, until Jake chimed in and said he had played a few times before!  So he took a few minutes to explain the rules to everyone and we jumped in.

In Captain Sonar there are two teams, each guiding a submarine through a maze of islands while they try to hunt down their opponent and destroy them with mines and torpedoes, all while trying to remain undetected themselves and keep their sub running.  Each player on each sub takes on a critical role.  The Captain decides how to guide the sub and when to use certain abilities, like silent running, mines, torpedoes, drones, and sonar.  The First Mate keeps track of the five abilities in three systems and lets the captain know when an ability is ready.  The Engineer works to keep the three systems, and propulsion running so that the Captain can use the abilities when needed (if a system is damaged the ability can't be used, even if the First Mate says it's ready).  The Radio Operator listens to the opposing team and tries to figure out their position on the map based on the directions they're heading.

Each player has a critical role and without that player's attention and cooperation the sub will be floundering and an easy target.  I've never played a cooperative game like Captain Sonar before and I absolutely loved it.  Below is a video of our first six minutes of play, so you can see a bit of how interactive and chaotic a game is.  We stumbled over a few of the rules early on, but picked things up very quickly.  The whole game lasted about an hour, maybe a bit less.  We did miss one rule about a direct hit doing 2 damage, so the game actually would have ended a tad bit earlier.  We can't wait to play again, and will likely pull this out any time we have at least 8 players.  Technically the game can work at lower player counts, but it really needs the full player count to get the complete experience.

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