"Sea Monsters!" offers four complete naval simulations that will provide hours of challenging play and comparison.
Paul Rohrbaugh with Iron and Fire is a moderate level complexity game covering the battles fought by the Peruvian Ironclad Huáscar during the 1879 War of the Pacific against Chile. It outclassed everything it met but there was only one (think of the SF classic, Ogre, but on the waters this time).
Paul Stuhlfaut with Under Ten Flags starts early in 1939 when the German merchant raider Atlantis made its way into the South Atlantic to sink and capture Allied cargo vessels. Its crew used their skill in disguising the appearance of the vessel to aid its encounters or avoid enemy warships. The journey of the raider Atlantis lasted for over 600 days and traveled over 100,000 miles.
Steven Cunliffe with XXI, a solitaire game set in 1943 that challenges the player (acting as both Speer and Dönitz) to organize and complete construction of a fleet (or at least “enough”) of the new German Type XXI submarine. However this new sub is far larger, more complex and more expensive, and requires much more manpower and scarce resources than previous submarines. Just a few of these new Type XXIs will do nothing. Only a radical transformation in shipbuilding techniques to mass produce the design - and not giving in to setbacks - will enable this “wonder weapon” to arrive in time....
Paul Rohrbaugh with First Strike looks at, well, the "first strike" by British naval aircraft. This solitaire game examines the events of Christmas Day, 1914, when float planes were brought near the German port of Cuxhaven by the earliest "seaplane tenders" and turned loose. Formally an "air reconnaissance" by planes looking for Zeppelin sheds, they just also happened to be carrying bombs and the rest is history. By this action, the British naval command also hoped to lure out the German fleet for a more conventional sea battle, and game allows for this and the possibility of having the Royal Navy attacked by German airplanes!
As always, this Annual features an "extra-size" magazine, with in-depth accounts of the history behind the games, plus other articles. Make yourself the proud owner of this challenging look at the "monsters" men would face - and create - to seek control of the seas.
Sea Monsters! and the 2018 ATO Magazine Annual
Maps - Four full color assorted size mapsheets
Counters - 420 full color die-cut counters
Rules length - From 8 to 12 pages each
Charts and tables - 4
Complexity - Medium
Playing time - Varies by title, from 2 to 4 hours per game
How challenging is it solitaire? - Varies by title, Excellent to Poor
Designers - Paul Rohrbaugh, Steve Cunliffe, and Paul Stuhlfaut,
Development - Russ Lockwood
Graphic Design - Mark Mahaffey