Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games. Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.
The greatest temptation when playing Captain Sonar doesn’t come during the game itself. It comes when you’re trying to find another seven people to play. You’ll want to call this a party game version of Battleship—and that’s an apt description. Like the best party games, Captain Sonar features a wonderful mix of yelling, cooperation, deception, role-playing, deduction, and speed. And, like Battleship, you put your naval vessel on a grid and hope the other team doesn’t luck into finding it.
But don’t fall into the temptation. Nobody wants to play a group variant of Battleship any more than they want to play a group variant of Candyland. Instead, tell people that Captain Sonar is a great submarine-themed party game. Gamers will go in thinking of Subterfuge. Gen-Xers will launch into their worst impression of Sean Connery’s “Russian” accent in The Hunt for Red October. That one guy in every game group will start arguing that Kelsey Grammer’s 1996 Down Periscope was superior to Das Boot.