Captain Sonar News


Battle Stations

The First Mate’s Role in Captain Sonar

1 July 2016 | Captain Sonar


War beneath the waves! Captain Sonar, a new board game for two to eight players, puts you and your friends in the chaotic, claustrophobic confinement of a submarine battle hundreds of feet below the ocean's surface. Your mission? To find and destroy a submarine crewed by a team from a rival corporation, before they can do the same to you. 

You won’t be able to do it alone. You’ll need a Radio Operator glued to the headset, listening for your opponent’s movements. You’ll need an Engineer to keep your sub running and a First Mate to charge the systems. You’ll need a Captain to set your heading and make the tough decisions about where to go and when to fire.

Last time, we took a look at the Captain’s duties in Captain Sonar. Today, we explore what you’ll handle as the First Mate—your submarine’s weapons and surveillance equipment!

Charging the Systems

So, you’re our new First Mate, eh? I see you’ve already found your control console. Yes, this is where you’ll be stationed. Forgive me, I’ve not introduced myself: Captain Eli Edwards. I can see you’ve served on a submarine before, but you’ll understand me if I say that a submarine like the Canterbury is in a class all her own. 

Some people see First Mate as second fiddle to the Captain, but let me tell you right now, the Canterbury couldn’t so much as capsize a floating bathtub without a First Mate at his station. From here, you’ll talk strategy with your Captain so you can charge the right systems and ensure that they’re ready at a moment’s notice. 

The First Mate uses a sheet like the one above in a game of Captain Sonar.

As you can see above, there are five main systems on your console, as well as a sixth that may be employed on certain special missions you encounter. Each system has a series of boxes that must be filled to fully charge the system. Whenever the Captain calls out a direction and the Canterbury moves, you’ll fill a single box next to one of the systems. Conveniently, charging a single space takes exactly the same amount of time as it takes the Canterbury to move one league in any direction. 

The torpedoes shown above are now fully charged. The sonar will need one more space filled before it can be used.

Once all of a system’s spaces are filled, it’s fully charged and ready for action—and you’d be wise to inform your Captain at top speed. When a system is charged, the Captain can use the system at any time by shouting “Stop!” and choosing his targets. After a system is used, you’ll need to erase all of its filled spaces and charge it up once more to use it again. 

Prepare Torpedo Launch

Now that we’ve seen how you’ll charge the systems from your console here, let’s look at the systems themselves. The Canterbury is the most advanced submarine we’ve ever created, and her weapons and surveillance equipment are incredibly powerful—and what’s more, they're the only tools you have to find and destroy the enemy sub. It’s important for you to know what they each do, so we’ll go through them all.

A torpedo is fired and detonates in space E2, dealing indirect damage to the enemy sub!

The Canterbury has two types of weapons that you can launch, and they’re both lethal. The first weapon is your torpedoes—when your torpedoes are loaded and ready to fire, the Captain can shout “Stop!” and launch a torpedo at any space within four spaces of your current location. If the torpedo detonates right on top of the enemy sub, that’s a direct hit, and you deal two damage to the enemy sub. Even if you miss, you can still cause damage—any sub in a space adjacent to your detonated torpedo still takes a single damage. And after all, every submarine, even one as sturdy as the Canterbury, only takes four damage to sink. 

Mines can be dropped next to the Canterbury, as shown in the image on the left. Later, the mine can be remotely detonated at the Captain's order, as shown in the image on the right!

Torpedoes are excellent for quick strikes, but they can also give away the Canterbury’s position, and that could be a death sentence. Fortunately, the Canterbury has also been refitted and equipped with the ability to drop mines. If you’ve charged the mines system, the Captain can shout “Stop!” and announce that he’s dropping a mine next to the Canterbury. He doesn’t reveal the mine’s location, however, and when the Captain believes the enemy is close to the mine, he can stop the action again and detonate the mine—potentially damaging the enemy sub while giving away very little information about your current position! That’s the kind of tactical planning that separates our best Captains from the ones who end up on the bottom of the ocean. 

The Captain doesn’t get to have all the fun, of course. As the First Mate, you choose which systems to charge, but you also have the opportunity to use the surveillance systems: drones and sonar. Once these systems are charged, either you or the Captain can stop the action and deploy surveillance equipment. 

The blue submarine uses its drones, and asks if the enemy sub is in Sector 9. Because the enemy sub is not currently in that sector, they must answer truthfully, and say, "No."

Your drones and sonar each give you a different way to gain intel about the enemy position. By launching drones, you can open a line to the other submarine and ask if they are in a sector of your choice: for instance, sector nine. The other submarine must answer truthfully whether or not they are currently in that sector—another marvel of modern technology! Alternatively, you may be able to gain some useful information by activating the sonar. When you activate sonar, the opposing submarine must give you two coordinates, choosing from their current row, column, or sector. Of course, the enemy can never be trusted, and one of these coordinates will be true, while the other is false. It’s up to your Radio Operator’s intuition to interpret the results of your surveillance and find the enemy sub. 

The enemy is closing in and has a lock on your position! By activating the stealth drive, you can move up to four spaces in any direction without telling the enemy team which way you've gone.

The final system equipped on the Canterbury is one of the most important: in fact, it’s the only way for you to disappear if the enemy Radio Operator gets a lock on your position. This is the Canterbury’s patented stealth drive—a silent mode of transportation that’s undetectable to enemy radar. As with the other systems, the Captain must stop the action and announce that you’re using the stealth drive. Then, the Captain will silently indicate to his own team which direction they are moving without calling out the direction for enemy Radio Operators to hear. Finally, the Canterbury can move up to four leagues in your chosen direction—or you could even choose to move nowhere at all, throwing off any guesses as to where the Canterbury has gone. 

As you can see, your weapons and surveillance are crucial to the survival of the Canterbury. As the First Mate, you’ll constantly support and strategize with your Captain to ensure that the correct systems are charged and ready. You’ll need to pass surveillance information on to the Radio Operator, and you’ll need to listen to the Engineer—after all, you didn’t expect that just because a system is charged, you’d automatically be able to use it, did you? Breakdowns in the submarine can easily sever vital systems, and I’ll talk to the Canterbury’s new Engineer about that soon. Until then, study your systems well: you’re going to need them.

Direct Hit!

Join us next time for another preview of Captain Sonar, in which we’ll explore the Engineer and the ways he keeps your submarine from sinking. Until then, head over to your local retailer and pre-order Captain Sonar today!