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Author Topic: Captain Sonar  (Read 317 times)

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Kuildeous

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Captain Sonar
« on: January 30, 2017, 01:45:30 pm »
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My local board game pub has a copy of Captain Sonar on its shelves. I MUST PLAY THIS!

I'll be heading there tonight by myself, so the best I can do is wrangle strangers to try out this weird game.

If worse comes to worst, I intend to snag one person—possibly the owner of the pub—to play one on one. For something like this, it'd be turn-based instead of real time, but it'd give us a really intimate understanding of how the roles work.

I do hope for the full experience sometime.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Captain Sonar
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 02:38:53 pm »
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I learned this at BGG.con last year, and I just played it on Saturday.  :)

It's great, but not a game I'd ever actually buy because I'm not going to get 8 people all at once that want to play it (while not also leaving another 1-2 people out).

My advice, don't play in a noisy room. People have to accurately and clearly hear what other players are saying; and without taking the time to stop and ask them to repeat. We had a lot of problems this weekend with missing movement directions despite the captain trying to say them clearly and loudly.
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Kirian

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Re: Captain Sonar
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2017, 03:17:49 pm »
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It was a fun game.  Echoing GI's advice though, make sure it's not noisy around you.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Captain Sonar
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2017, 03:24:40 pm »
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My advice, don't play in a noisy room.


Which sadly is going to have to be the case in the board game pub. I've talked with them about putting in some noise-canceling padding.

If it's too noisy, then I'll forego playing the game. Or maybe just do turn-based to combat the noisiness, but I do want to try it in real time.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Captain Sonar
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 09:40:32 am »
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Well, slow night last night. I didn't get to experience 8-player real-time madness.

I did console myself by learning all about it with a one-on-one turn-by-turn game.  I tell you; that took so long. Since there was no time pressure, we took longer in sizing up our options. And of course, each of us took on all four roles.

I actually recommend playing this method for learning, but if you see more potential players lurking around, by all means abort the slogfest and go have some frenetic fun. Or, you know, just play about eight turns so you get the engineering part and then go play Splendor or Dominion instead.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Captain Sonar
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 09:50:07 am »
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Okay, finally got together eight relative strangers to play this. It was satisfying the first time but then frustrating the second time, but that wasn't the game's fault.

People zoned out during the explanation of the first game when it wasn't about their roles, so some people were a little confused when they were handed the engineering sheet and told to draw a line around a section of the boat. I almost wish I started off with turn-by-turn, but I really wanted the real-time experience.

I captained my boat, and the other captain was someone who read the rules. Everyone else never read the rules, so we explained things to them. As I said, some short attention spans caused some confusion later on. As it turned out, I had an excellent radio operator and engineer. The engineer listened to my requests, and she worked hard to keep my preferred systems up. The radio operator was able to pinpoint the enemy sub's location fairly easily (this was alpha map, so this is not surprising). I was able to finish off the enemy sub with two direct hits.

The second game was less satisfying. We tried to change up roles, but my first mate was confused by everything else, so he remained the first mate (and he was really bad about marking off systems used, so even that role was a bit too overwhelming for him). I remained captain since nobody else wanted it, and the enemy captain was the previous enemy first mate. We swapped in two new players who were interested in the game. I figured that the radio operator would be the best positions for them because that role requires the least knowledge of the rules (yet is the most important role).

Well, the second game is where I regretted not going turn-based. The newbie captain was overwhelmed. For one, he kept spouting off directions without preceding them with "Head," so it was more difficult for my radio operator to know what they were doing. We had to pause the game to explain why that was important.  At one point, he got caught up in the moment and shouted directions in rapid-fire succession without waiting for acknowledgement from his crew. We had to pause again to remind him why he has to wait. Basically, he tried to also be engineer when he figured out the circuits in the engineering section and knew that he could fix things by going N, N, N, E as well as S, S, S, E. Of course, that assumes the engineer is following along and that island locations won't hamper that (also, you can't go W, W, W, E, so that plan runs out pretty quickly). 

But what brought the game to a screeching halt was when the enemy captain realized a huge mistake he was making. My radio operator was having a hell of a time trying to pintpoint their sub. They would surface in a way different sector than my radio operator thought. I figured that new guy or not, he was just not able to plot a good course. I also figured that the early problems were tied to the enemy captain not following protocol in giving orders. Well, the enemy captain realized later on that he would sometimes confuse east with west. He would call out that they were heading east but draw that he was heading west. This explains why my radio operator had no earthly idea where they were. At that point, we just aborted the game. On a bright note, I captained correctly because I asked the enemy radio operator where he thought I was, and he got it exactly right (my fault for not using silence more often).

I'm really glad that our first was a rousing success because I can see the second game as turning some people off. I'll just have to gauge the capabilities of the players and decide if I should start off with turn-based vs. real-time. I hate to start off with turn-based since it makes for a longer game, but it can also take longer when you pause during real-time to retouch on some rules.
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