Randomex Recommends – Captain Sonar (Real-time hidden movement game for 2 teams)

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Randomex Recommends – Captain Sonar (Real-time hidden movement game for 2 teams)

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    Captain Sonar is recommended for age 14-up and takes 45-60

    minutes to play, at least according to the manufacturers,

    and is probably best played with 6 or 8 players, preferably 8.

    It is a real-time game in which 2 teams simultaneously attempt

    to find and destroy the other team’s submarine. Cooperation and communication between team members is needed to win. Each team has 4 roles. These should optimally be filled by 1 player each, but someone on each team can take 2 roles if necessary (one team should not have 4 players and the other 3). Each role comes with a board and a sheet of erasable plastic (markers may also be included – I don’t remember). The roles are as follows:

    Role 1 – Captain

    The Captain has a board showing the area the submarine is in, in which there are islands that cannot be passed through as well as open water. At the start of the game, the Captain will mark a location for their submarine to start in. After that, the Captain will move the submarine by declaring the direction of movement loudly enough for the other team’s Radio Operator to hear it, and marking the movement on his board. The submarine is not allowed to move into any space where it has already been (unless it surfaces – see Engineer) or where there is an island. Once the submarine has moved, it cannot move again until the First Officer and the Engineer report back to the Captain that they have done their jobs (see below). The Captain is also in charge of using the sub’s various systems (see First Mate).

    Role 2 – Radio Operator

    The Radio Operator has the same map that the Captain does. They mark the pattern of the enemy submarine’s movement on their sheet, and try to figure out where on the map the enemy sub must be, or at least could be, by overlaying the enemy’s movement pattern on the map. This will allow their team to take better steps toward finding and destroying the enemy.

    Role 3 – First Mate

    Each time their team’s sub moves, the First Mate readies one of the sub’s systems by filling in one of that system’s boxes on his sheet, and reports that he has done so to the Captain. When all of a system’s boxes have been filled in (different systems have more boxes than others), the Captain can choose to use it at any time. When a system is used, all activity on both teams must stop until the action has been fully carried out. There are 5 systems:

    Torpedoes – A torpedo can be fired at any space within 4 spaces of your submarine’s current location (so firing one gives the enemy information). The enemy must then announce whether they take 1 damage (from being in a space adjacent to that one), 2 damage (from being in that space), or no damage. (A total of 4 damage will destroy a submarine, resulting in that team’s loss.)

    Mines – A mine is dropped in your submarine’s current location, and can later be detonated at any time. Mines do the same amount of damage as torpedoes. (The enemy Radio Operator must be made aware that you have dropped a mine, so that they can help their Captain avoid moving near it.)

    Drone – Choose one of the 9 sectors of the map.

    The enemy must tell you whether they are in it.

    Sonar – The enemy Captain tells you 2 of 3 things (their choice):

    1. The vertical line of the board on which they are.

    2. The horizontal line of the board on which they are.

    3. The sector in which they are.

    One of these 2 pieces of information must be true; the other must be false.

    Silence – Move your submarine up to 4 spaces in a straight line.

    Do not declare this movement to the enemy Radio Operator.

    Role 4 – Engineer

    Each time their team’s sub moves, the Engineer must track its strain. There are 4 boxes on the Engineer’s sheet, which correspond to the 4 directions in which the sub can move, and each has a number of symbols in it, mostly corresponding to the different systems of the ship. Each time a sub moves, its Engineer must cross off one of the symbols in the box corresponding to the direction in which it moved. Once any symbol of a type been crossed off, the system that corresponds to that symbol can no longer be used. If all of the symbols in a box have been crossed off, the sub takes 1 damage, and those symbols are uncrossed (allowing those systems to be used again). There are

    some symbols which do not correspond to systems – if all of those symbols are crossed off, the sub takes 1 damage, and those symbols are uncrossed.

    However, there are other ways to get symbols uncrossed. Certain symbols are connected by lines – if all of those symbols are crossed off, they are uncrossed (these groups consist of 3 symbols in one direction-box and 1 symbol in another).

    The sub can also surface, in which case all symbols are

    uncrossed, and the Captain also erases the sub’s previous

    movement from his board, allowing it to move freely again.

    However, the sub’s location at that time must be announced, and nothing can be done until the sub dives again. In order to do so, the sub’s crew must take turns drawing lines around parts of a submarine diagram (also located on the Engineer’s board) until all 4 parts have been circled – going out of the outline is a failure and the attempt must be erased. During this procedure, the enemy will of course be making their way towards the vulnerable sub with all possible speed…

    The game includes a number of maps for varied gameplay of increasing difficulty, some of which add another system to each sub’s capabilities. (For example, one map starts with numerous mines already on the board, and each sub has a system which allows it to choose one of them and detonate it.)

    (For fewer players, or if you so desire, the game can be played in turns rather than in real time, but it’s probably not quite as good.)

    Any questions? (If you’d rather there was no hidden movement,

    or everyone was on the same team, or the game wasn’t in real time,

    there are games that answer to those descriptions as well.)


    I left out an important detail – the teams sit on either side

    of a screen so that neither can see what the other is doing.

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