Captain SONAR – You Heard Right.

Hello, fellow geeks! I have been absent for quite some time from PWN. I needed to get homeschool under control for my kiddos and do some work on my paper for my online doula course. As I’ve started back into the gaming and writing world,  I’ve been thinking a lot about “gamer” and what that means, and also what games have attracted me to identify as a gamer.

I categorize “gamer” by thinking of the term as “anyone who enjoys any type of game and identifies as a gamer”. That said, I am not as intense or knowledgeable as some. Game nights are a weekly occurrence, if not nightly, at my house. My typical schedule is that I will play a round of cards (Pokemon, Magic the Gathering) or watch the guys play Raw Deal, but then when they break out Brimstone and Pathfinder I am ready to go sit down and read or knit while I watch them play from afar.

Recently that changed. My husband and I stopped into Toy Vault where I spotted a game called “Captain SONAR”. With him being active Navy, my fiance being former Navy, and my group of friends being centered around quite a few people in or related to the Navy, I thought a game called Captain SONAR was fairly hilarious.  I begged him to buy it and he said he’d actually heard good things about it and acquiesced. I giggled off and on about it all the way home.

We brought the game back and didn’t get to it right away. It sat for a little while in our room, with us occasionally making jokes about it and saying we’d get it out eventually. Well “eventually” arrived one night when the four adults in my house were bored and we broke out Captain SONAR. Polyamorous families work out well for many reasons and one of them is that with the four of us, we had enough for two people on each team. There are four positions on each of the two teams so we each covered two positions. For the “turn by turn” mode, this worked well. For the “live” mode, you would need four people on each team to properly cover all the information and strategy needed.

The four positions up for grabs are Captain, first mate, engineer, and radio operator. Radio is basically the SONAR position. You track the other team’s movements on a clear dry erase sheet and try to pinpoint where on the map they are by listening to the directions they call out (North, South, East, and West). You can then move the dry erase sheet around the map and see if any of your guesses are getting close. The Captain decides where their team goes and calls out one of the four directions. The first mate listens to the Captain’s directions and crosses off a tick on one of the weapons available. When all the slots are filled (one for each move your team makes) for one type of weapon, you may use that weapon. It will either be a mine, a torpedo, drone, sonar, silence, and scenario. And the engineer also has to make a tick on parts of the ship for each direction you move. When one circuit is filled you can clear the “damage” to that circuit.

The other team does the same and you have a divider (included with the game) on the table in between the two teams so that you can’t see the precise location the opposing team is at on the map.

It’s more sophisticated Battleship and requires some more strategy as you can choose from a variety of different weapons and radio operations to try to track down your target. The tricky part of this game comes in after five moves because at that point “silence” is filled and ready to use. “Silence ready, Captain.”
“Silence ready, aye.”

And then the game is on. Because once you go silent, you can move a certain amount of spaces without informing the other team of what direction you are going. You simply say what sector you surfaced in and go from there. The board is wiped clean and all your tracking of them was for naught.


It’s a great group game night idea, but it’s too advanced for my kids who are dying to play. We have played sober, but honestly one of our favorite things to do is get our submarine shot glasses out (hey, we’re a Navy family. We’re nerds.) and take a shot for each damage taken. In the game, if you reach four damage you have sunk. If you reach four shots, we’re usually ready for another game.

Give it a try. It’s well-worth the price.



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