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Atlantic Chase

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Silent Disapproval Robot:
I liked the designer's Enemy Coast Ahead games and I am a fan of WWII naval warfare games so I pre-ordered Atlantic Chase a while back.  My copy arrived yesterday and I spent a few hours punching and clipping counters before setting it up and going through some of the tutorials.

This is the starting setup for the 5th tutorial.  The white marker on the map near Greenland represents a German taskforce on station.  It consists of a tanker and an armoured cruiser, Widdar.  The Germans are conducting a refuelling operation after which, the cruiser will attempt to head to the South Atlantic while the tanker will try to return to port at Kiel.  Germany is controlled by an AI in the tutorial

The Royal Navy has the heavy cruisers Suffolk and Newcastle in port in Halifax harbour (indicated by the Reinforcements 'A' marker in the Halifax box)

Ugh, that's a lot of pages to sift through.

It's not that bad.  The rules use a large type-font and there are a lot of illustrations.  There are five booklets:  Core Rules, Advanced Rules, Tutorial, Single Player scenarios, and Two-Player scenarios.
Having said that, I'm struggling to get the concepts down with this one.  It's an unusual system and it's not clicking with me yet.  I get how each individual action works for the most part, but I'm struggling with the interplay between actions and how they can chain together or block one another.

Germany's first action is to complete their refuelling and them split their task force into two new groups and plot their trajectories, one to Kiel and one to South America.

In response, the Royal Navy attempts to sortie their cruisers.  The reinforcement roll is successful and the cruisers each form independent task forces outside of Halifax.  (note the German trajectories are already shrinking due of orders from Raeder.  He can order all German trajectories to contract at once twice per scenario)

They plot their intercept trajectories (I forgot to add an intel marker to the one heading to South America, chasing after the Widder.  The South America exit zone counts as an Axis port so any Allied trajectory that passes through it gives intel to the Germans.

Initiative passed back and forth between sides a few times and it became a race with the Brits trying to narrow down the German trajectories and pin down their ships before they could make their escape. (depending on the action one side takes, initiative can be automatically passed, automatically retained, or potentially passed based on a die roll.  Every time initiative changes hands, a die is rolled to see if the weather changes.) 

The Widdar made good her escape while the tanker got caught in heavy weather just off Scapa Flow and was intercepted.  (I once again failed to properly consider how the Intel markers and completion actions interacted and screwed up my attempt to nab the Widdar.  I only caught the tanker due to luck based on bad weather.)

I'm intrigued by the game and I do like the look of it, but I am struggling with it.  Hopefully it'll come together soon.

I think you'll need a few games under your belt as its very different to most games of the type - the use of trajectories to imitate fog of war/unknown info is really interesting, and I'm fascinated as to how this could be used to play carrier warfare games solo. Suspect this could become a solo classic.

Played through a few tutorials and watched some vids.

At first I thought it would be confusing with the huge amount of pages in the manuals, but it's not.  Just different. 

Thankfully the player aids seem quite comprehensive.  I wish all tabletop games had extensive player aids.  Also wish they'd stop using the back of manuals as turn sequence and reference charts.  Put it on a proper player aid for the love of Baby Raptor Jesus!  Don't think they did that with this one, fortunately.

I still haven't got around to learning the creator's previous game, Skies Above The Reich.  May have to finally go through that one before diving into this one.  They're both staring at me from the shelf in displeasure.

You know, I rarely even bother looking at board wargames anymore as I have a ton and I never, ever play any of them.  But this game looks really intriguing.  I can't believe I'm actually thinking of picking this up.  It is certainly a very pretty game, and when I read "mounted board" on the GMT site my loins got every so slightly dampened.   :-"

Silent Disapproval Robot:
It's a unique system, that for certain.  I quite enjoyed the session I played with a friend on Sunday but I don't know how long lived this one will be.  We fumbled around quite a bit during the start of our scenario as we understood the mechanics of the rules but not how to best implement them.  By the end, we were cutting each other's trajectories, fixing contacts, and dodging intel markers like experts.  I have a niggling fear that once the novelty of the trajectory system wears off, the way the rules function will seem a little too gimmicky, if that makes sense.  Hopefully I'm wrong.  I think I prefer the cat-and-mouse search mechanics of the 2nd World War at Sea series, particularly now that they've introduced air search vectors instead of the 360 deg search system they had before, but I could do without all the order writing and fuel consumption bookkeeping of said series. 


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