Author Topic: GMT's Atlantic Chase  (Read 267 times)

Silent Disapproval Robot

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on: April 20, 2021, 05:19:47 PM
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.




Advocator (Scott)

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Reply #1 on: April 20, 2021, 05:56:10 PM
I've completed the tutorial and have played the two solo scenarios a few times each. I am really enjoying this system and really looking forward to being able to play it face -to-face.

The system has such an unique way of creating a fog of war. The designer notes said it started off as an idea for an ACW game and, frankly, I'm stoked for that to happen. And the rules, in my opinion, are amazing. Yes, there's a lot of pages there. But the font is large and there are so many examples going along with them. I think they are wonderfully done and would love to see future games copy their format. The same is true of the tutorial book. It did a great job of introducing each rule and slowly building them up over time.

That being said, it is a different system, really not like anything I've played before. When I was unable to sit down to play at the table, I found a youtuber that did a rather solid job of going through each of the tutorial:


All in all, I am really enjoying this game. I almost regret that I've got games scheduled this evening as it's cutting into my time to play it more.



mcguire

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Reply #2 on: April 20, 2021, 06:56:32 PM
I haven't made it through the tutorials yet.  :-[ (I hate work.) I think I really like it's take on the frog o' war involved, but I haven't been able to get my head around how to actually use the actions either.

From what I've heard, I think the next game in the series is going to be carrier battles in the South Pacific. Whoohoo!  :)

By the way, GMT made a very good Tabletop Simulator module for it, too.

"Man...knowing how to use the cards properly certainly changes how I play the game" -- judgedredd


Advocator (Scott)

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Reply #3 on: April 20, 2021, 07:10:36 PM
At a certain point, they all kind of click (this, of course, likely means I'm doing things wrong :P) For me, that happened after my second or third play of the first solo scenario. I had a few of those Oh! moments and things started to fall into place.



Silent Disapproval Robot

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Reply #4 on: April 20, 2021, 07:33:00 PM
I'm OK with the actions when taken as isolated steps.  It's remembering all the associated reactions that might occur that trip me up.  "Oh, I forgot that you can try to seize the initiative if I do that", "no, converting to a station in my trajectory hex doesn't grant you an intel marker, that's only if I conduct an expand trajectory marker through your station on my turn", etc.  It's going to be a bit of a learning curve, I think.  Sadly, up here in Canuckistan, they keep locking us down tighter and tighter with each passing week so I'm only allowed face to face meetings with a single individual.  Gotta see if I can get him on board long enough for the rules to become clearer for the both of us.  We usually play the 2nd World War at Sea series from Avalanche Press but I was hoping for something that required a little less paperwork (Because he always plays the Germans and I get the Royal Navy.  He's only got to write orders for 2 or 3 task forces.  I've got to do 15 or 20).



Staggerwing

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Reply #5 on: April 20, 2021, 08:55:57 PM
I have not yet even taken the freshness seal off my copy. Hard to believe, I know... yet true.  ::)

Vituð ér enn - eða hvat?  -Voluspa


Silent Disapproval Robot

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Reply #6 on: April 23, 2021, 05:11:19 PM
Going to give it a go with a friend tomorrow.  I think I've got the rules mostly sorted. 



BanzaiCat

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Reply #7 on: April 23, 2021, 05:16:54 PM
I almost backed the P500 but this looked a little overwhelming. That's the GMT 3" box, innit?  :o



mcguire

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Reply #8 on: April 23, 2021, 06:11:08 PM
I almost backed the P500 but this looked a little overwhelming. That's the GMT 3" box, innit?  :o

I wouldn't call it overwhelming. Bizarrely different, yes.

"Man...knowing how to use the cards properly certainly changes how I play the game" -- judgedredd


Advocator (Scott)

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Reply #9 on: April 24, 2021, 11:14:56 PM
I've only had a chance to play solitaire, but I've been enjoying each scenario quite a bit. They seem to be a bit like the tutorial and building in difficulty and depth. I'm up to the first of the Norway scenarios. I've played it twice now and both times played out very differently.

And while there's a lot of book in that box, it isn't overwhelming at all. Rules wise, the player aid does a fantastic job of having almost all the rules right there. The board itself has the charts you need printed on it. And each section of the aid and the board has references to the where in the rule book those rules are at, so even when I've forgotten a rule, it's been super easy and quick to find the answer.

All in all, I'm super happy with this one and I really need to check out Jerry White's other designs.



Silent Disapproval Robot

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Reply #10 on: April 25, 2021, 08:13:07 PM
We played Op 1 today and had fun with it even though a lot of questionable decisions were made and more than a few rules were screwed up.

The scenario starts in August, 1939.  The Germans are trying to get the passenger liner Bremen from New York to Kiel, Wilhemshafen, or Murmansk so she can be pressed into service with the Kriegsmarine.    The Royal Navy wants to intercept and impound her before she can make it to port.

It's a neat scenario because it takes place before the war starts so there are special rules in place that allow for the player's actions in-game to cause a diplomatic incident which leads to an early start of the war.  The inciting party automatically loses the scenario.

In our game, the Bremen plotted a course from New York to the Azores while the Graf Spee sprtied out of Kiel to rendezvous.  The Brits sent two fast cruiser groups to hunt for the Bremen while a slow, heavy battleship task force tried to shadow the Graf Spee.

Lots of blind fumbling in the mid-Atlantic saw the Bremen slip past the first cruiser group and alter course to try to cut up through the Denmark Strait and then hug the coast of Norway down to Kiel.

War ended up breaking out while the Bremen was rounding Iceland.  The Graf Spee engaged two British heavy cruisers.  She heavily damaged one with long range gunfire but the other managed to close and hit her with a torpedo. She suffered heavy flooding but limped away.  The crew ended up scuttling her a few hours later.

The other cruisers managed to catch up with the Bremen and, with the help of search planes out of Scapa Flow, spotted her between Iceland and Trondheim.  She was boarded and seized.





judgedredd

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Reply #11 on: April 26, 2021, 04:35:05 AM
How many solitaire missions are there? And - importantly - can the non-solitaire ones actually be played solo?

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Advocator (Scott)

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Reply #12 on: April 26, 2021, 10:08:15 AM
There are 15 solo scenarios and there isn't any hidden information in the game, so the 2-player scenarios can be soloed, as well, if you're up for playing both sides. On the 2-player side, there are 9 operational scenarios, 12 mini-scenarios, and a campaign mode that plays over five operations.