Monday, April 26, 2010

Uncharted Seas After Action Report

This weekend we ran through another game of Uncharted Seas and I like this game more with each play. In summary it's quick, exciting, "realistic" enough for me and pretty affordable. I wrote a review of the game some months ago. Let's get down to the details.

I commanded a fleet of humans against Tony's "Iron Dwarves." I had painted up his fleet in a Greek inspired color scheme of white with blue accents while mine was a crazy North African melange of reds, blues, purples and yellows (thanks to Color Schemes for Every Room, Annie Sloan). I'm not awestruck by Uncharted Seas designs but the ships are big and they look terrific on the table.

I want first and sent my light frigates ahead of my main body to screen. At that moment my plans fell apart. My ships zipped across the table and within seconds were being blasted into splinters by the Dwarves. First lesson- this game moves quickly, with long ranged weapons and fast movement rates. The surviving frigates took aim at the Dwarven battleship and unleashed a great volley which bounced harmlessly. Second lesson- appropriately enough smaller ships are pretty ineffectual against giant ones.

My fleet was pretty much crippled early on but Tony moved some of his ships ahead just to see what might happen. We exchanged some gunfire and cast some spells at each other which were fairly entertaining without being completely unbalancing. Then I found some Dwarven frigates in the path of my battleships and rammed them to see how that would go. It went satisfyingly poorly for the Dwarves and we then learned that ramming and boarding actions are fast, simple, and "feel" right.

The action ended with my colorful fleet at the bottom of the ocean and my battleship and one frigate sailing away in terror while the Dwarves popped open some retsina and celebrated. Through the entire action we managed a variety of situations smoothly. We had to check rules a few times but were always able to find the answer written in a straightforward and concise fashion. We didn't find any gaping rules holes and the playtesting seems to have been effective.

Our group enjoyed Uncharted Seas. It's certainly simple but not silly or arbitrary. A functional fleet is less than $50 and the ships are fun to paint. I don't see it as a classic game for the ages but we'll be playing again and I'd certainly recommend it as a good game for beginners and experienced gamers alike.

Pros: simple, fast, fun

Cons: fair ship design, ships are made of resin and can shatter if dropped.

Beyond the Basics: expansions are planned, plus there are only a hundred other naval battle rulesets out there.

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