Captain Sonar board game
Captain Sonar board game

Captain Sonar

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Overall Rank: #95 | Trending Rank: #447

Be organized and communicate because a captain is nothing without his crew: the First Mate, the Radio Operator, and the Engineer.

All the members of a team sit on one side of the table, and they each take a particular role on the submarine, with the division of labor for these roles being dependent on the number of players in the game: One player might be the captain, who is responsible for moving the submarine and announcing some details of this movement; another player is manning the sonar in order to listen to the opposing captain's orders and try to decipher where that sub might be in the water; a third player might be working in the munitions room to prepare torpedoes, mines and other devices that will allow for combat.

Five Maps Included

Multiple maps are included with varying levels of difficulty. Use the option best suited for your playgroup, or try more difficult maps to increase the challenge!

Two Modes of Play

Captain Sonar can be played in two modes: turn-by-turn or simultaneous. In the latter set-up, all the members of a team take their actions simultaneously while trying to track what the opponents are doing, too. When a captain is ready to launch an attack, the action pauses for a moment to see whether a hit has been recorded--then play resumes with the target having snuck away while the attacker paused or with bits of metal now scattered across the ocean floor.

Captain Sonar is packed with over three dozen high quality components.

  • 24 role sheets
  • 2 transparent radio operator sheets
  • 8 erasable marker pens
  • 2 screens
  • Rulebook


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User Ratings & Reviews

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  • I love how stressful the game is, how everyone has a unique role, and how those roles interact with each other. One thing I don't like however, is that strategic play often involves set patterns of movements which often results in subs moving in very similar ways. I would love to see multiple Engineer sheets with different layouts on each one for more variety in moving.
  • I can easily see this being higher in the future as i get more "real time" playthroughs with more players.This review is based on a 4 player count playing the game as turn based as a slow paced means of teaching the game. I'd imagine it plays best in a frantic real time setting with more people but i haven't played it that way yet.As a turn based game, i still thought it was ok.
  • I’m very disappointed with Captain Sonar. Why? I was expecting this to be the greatest game ever made, and it’s not…but it’s still a very good game, nevertheless.The main problem, of course, is that (ideally) you need eight players. The other problems are communication related: not with your teammates, but with the opposing team. “Did you just say north?” “Did you say ‘stop’, or ‘Stop!’” etc., etc., etc. Have loudmouths as the two captains! As one user here suggested, it might also be a good idea to have a ninth [!!!!!] player as a referee so that both teams know exactly what has happened. Take this experience from the one game, for example: The opposing team started whooping and hollering after they hit us with a torpedo, as if they had won:“Yes,” I said, “but that’s only two points of damage. You need three to sink us.”“Right,” was the reply, “and you already had two points from when we torpedoed you the first time.”“WHEN?!” my team literally cried out in unison. Yes, a referee would have been VERY helpful! We had no idea they had hit us before!Captain Sonar is a slightly less stressful version of Space Alert (although Space Alert is the better game). It’s like the “threats” in Space Alert have been embodied in Captain Sonar as the opposing team! As for comparing Captain Sonar with Battleship, that’s almost as useful as comparing Scotland Yard with Battleship: both pairs don’t have a great deal in common.
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Ah man I love the idea of #Captain Sonar but I don't think I'll have 8 people to experience the game to its fullest. Real time battle ship sounds like a great time though and I don't think you could go wrong with it. Also #The Search for Planet X seems like a blast too. I recently picked up #Cryptid and I have been enjoying it a lot. They're the same type of idea.

I think probably the most complicated game I've ever taught them was #Viticulture: Essential Edition and then 2nd most would be #Captain Sonar.  Both have not really caught on for them haha.  We've played #Codenames several times though and my dad likes certain types of word games so we've introduced him to #Letter Jam and #Paperback

#Paladins of the West Kingdomis a great game and was on my short list.  If I didn't have #Viscounts of the West Kingdom on the way, there is a real chance it would have been my #1 choice.  Top the top three I had to choose between were #Nagaraja #Paladins of the West Kingdom and #Captain Sonar.

Agreeing with some of the replies here - #Captain Sonar is definitely the best real time game I've played, though it can be tough to get enough people together for a full complement of crew mates on each team. Dont forget to put the 'Hunt for Red October' soundtrack on your speaker whilst you play - adds wonderfully to the atmosphere and stress.

Wow! I am definitely NOT drawn to real time games. I have played a couple, though, with the best by far being #Captain Sonar. I played as the captain and MAN was that stressful, haha.