Captain Sonar, the review of the Naval Battle 4.0!

Published on Sep 19, 2016

Captain – Sonar Review

A time to organize to pass the free time, and today scheduled to work, the days of the game dedicated to the boardgame, often involving the usual 2 or 3 junkies and devotees of table games. Sometimes it happens, however, that we want to try a title that requires a number of participants higher than the average, usual; having to involve friends who associate the word “game in box” to the Monopolies.

It is the case of Captain Sonar, a title created by Yohan Lemonnier and Roberto Fraga (game French designer with little more than 50 works, not peanuts); available fully localised in Italian and distributed in Italy starting from June 2016 by Pendragon Game Studio (thanks for the copy of the demo given to us).

Captain Sonar sees the clash between two teams of players from 14 years up to the sound of torpedoes, launched from submarines, which can accommodate from 2 to 8 people. A battle to the Hunt for Red October, which, unlike the film, it will last a lot less, not to exceed the 45 minutes per session.

Although the game also includes the ability to play 2 (and here I'll have to spoil part of the conclusions, because the two player version simply doesn't “work”), Captain Sonar gives the best of itself in 4/6/8 players (6/8 ideal to say). As I convinced then friends to abandon the Monopoly of which over the four Captain Sonar? Telling them that it was another classic that everyone knows, or the Naval Battle; even if in the version 2.0.

Today I am here not only to write our review of Captain Sonar, but also to make amends for my sins. The game of Pendragon can't compare to “a Naval Battle 2.0”, Captain Sonar is much more, and deserves more...

Let's start as always by the contents of the box, atypical as this boardgame.

Inside of Captain Sonar we will find:

Once you open the box immediately catches the eye on the screen of the game, that separates the two teams on the table, made with a hardcover, very sturdy and with a nice graphics curated by Ervin and Sabrina Tobal.

The many cards of the game, accompanied by the presence of some markers, but I have temporarily made you cringe (i hate games “disposable”). The red alert is, however, immediately returned, as soon as I realized that it was game cards, gloss and pens-erasable with a sponge placed on all the caps. The terror is transformed into curiosity and, shortly afterwards, would become the pure enjoyment (and not because I started to sniff the markers).

Captain Sonar is a title of a collaborative team, with a game system that is unique and special in its kind. But before you throw in the classic spiegone of the game mechanics, are required a couple of premises.

The title of Fraga and Lemonnier provides two different modes of gameplay, a turn-based and real-time. In this review we will take into account that in real-time, more dynamic and innovative than the version turn-based of regulation. Captain, Sonar also provides a number of scenarios, which I introduce in some cases special rules that “alter” the game session classic. Simply not going to, taking in consideration only the scenarios in the base.

How does a Naval Battle in the year 2048? (Yes, we are in the future. A couple of lines of text to introduce the background, which is useless, however, for the purposes of the game).

The objective of the Capitan Sonar will be the one to sink the submarine of the opposing team. To do so, each player and each team will have a specific task inside our submarine. Each of them will be given a marker, erasable, and a game board that is different for each role; on which to transcribe literally the information of the route, repairs, surveys etc. etc.

Here in detail the tasks for each role (and remember, that all of the following, this is done simultaneously by both teams!):

The Captain!

The dashboard of the captain depicts a map of the scenario, on which are marked the route of our submarine which can move along the coordinates N,S,W,E. The map is divided into a grid of coordinates that go from a To Z and from 1 to 21, enclosed in turn in sectors, the largest (1 to 9). The Captain chooses the route to take, rivelandola aloud so you can hear both from his teammates and from his opponents. The only restrictions are given by the islands on the map, not valicabili, or any of the routes already traced. It is not possible to retrace a route taken previously.

Radio Operator

The game board will be the same as that of the captain, but most will be equipped with a transparent tab to put on it. His task will be to listen to the routes chosen by the captain from the opponent to guess the location of the submarine within the map. To do so, you must move the transparent tab on the dashboard, so that the route marked will not be “banging” against the islands, or getting out of the area. A help for this important task, as well as delicate coming from the First Official...

The First Official

Every time that the Captain of our submarine will indicate a route, the First officer will be called to mark an x on one of the systems within his helm. These will be torpedoes, mines, sonar, scans of the radar, the movement is silent and “enable scenario” (which, as anticipated, we ignore this time). The x's will be placed along a loading bar for each movement. When the bar is complete, we will be able to use the system alerting the Captain.

The dashboard of the engineer is perhaps the most complex. Every movement made by the Captain, the engineer will have to mark a failure of one of the systems of the submarine (enclosed in the areas linked to the cardinal points N,S,W,And). These will make unusable the system of the First Officer until the complete repair. To repair the fault, the engineer will have to “circumvent” all the systems are connected by a colored line, that is, damage all those on the same line so that you autoriparino. Those that are not on a colored line may be repaired only by ordering the emergence of the submarine. In the latter case will be reported to the sector in which we find ourselves on the opposing team, who will have time to correct the course to come find us. During the emergence of all the players of our team, you will have to draw a line around the compartments of the submarine place on the dashboard of the engineer, being careful not to leave the edges, and affixing their signature to it. Once you have completed this step it will be possible to dive again. In some cases, the choices of the engineer, could lead to autoinfliggere damage to our submarine.

Depending on the number of players, someone might be forced to play in more positions (now you understand the need to enlist in the royal Navy, the players of Monopoly?).

The game Captain Sonar will proceed until one of the two teams will have dealt 4 damage to the submarine opponent, affondandolo (I have in mind a variant of the “summer” of the game and propose...).

The time has come to find out the verdict on Captain Sonar, I'll let you in on it now, it's more than positive.

Although the roles may seem complicated, at least on paper, in reality just a single game to understand the operation; he began to mastered immediately the tactics and strategies of the game (don't be surprised if the regulation will be composed exclusively of 8 pages). The new boardgame Pendragon is really easy to play, but at the same time, deep as the ocean in which we will dive virtually with our friends.

And it is precisely the sense of belonging and team spirit that will emerge from the Captain Sonar, at its best. The fact of all be in the same boat (ok I'll stop with the puns), will necessarily have to be a great interaction between all the participants; also with those of the opponent! This will be essential to the success of our mission. Without communication, I assure you, our submarine will sink before you can leave the port.

The issues of Captain Sonar reside exclusively in the scalability of the title. Play in 2, but also in 4, will ruin your gaming experience; effect on gameplay is truly innovative


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