Big Things Come In Small Packages (Torpedo Raiders)

Well, we had a Minden Game dealing with air combat and a Minden Game dealing with sea combat, but what about the battle in between? Today, I’m gonna be playing Torpedo Raiders. It’s a really simple and cheap game, and I figured, why not? I’ll play it.

Compared to Salvo or Battle over Britain, which was just dogfights between ships and planes respectively, this is more of a one-off torpedo plane vs. large ship. Reading through the game, I feel underwhelmed with this. The other two games were, although similarly small-scale, were still epic battles that can create moments of distress.

Torpedo Raiders, on the other hand, has you, as a torpedo plane, try to get close enough to an enemy ship as you possibly can before you detonate your torpedo. The game even states that it ends once the torpedo attack is resolved. I get the idea, but to me, it feels like if there was a baseball game where you only play as the pitcher, and then once you make that pitch, the game ends.

To get how light the game is, the book is literally two sheets of paper stapled together to make a booklet. It’s like one of those manuals in an EA Sports game. That said, I find this game incredibly interesting, especially with how it resolves card mechanics. So, of course, I’m playing it to see how fun it is in execution. The scenario is that I’m in the British Swordfish attacking an Italian ship out by Taranto.

So, beginning the game, my target will be a battleship, as determined by a D6 roll. I then do something called a Reduction Draw, which I find really cool. Depending on the suit of the card you draw, you have to reduce that many cards from the deck, so if I drew a nine of spades, I’d have to ditch eighteen cards (black suits make you discard twice the number), but I drew a Jack, which meant that I didn’t need to reduce that much (in fact, aside from that one card, that was it).

First turn, I draw a five of spades for the defense, which means that they have flak. However, because this is the first turn, I add that number by three, so now it’s eight. This means there’s no flak. Which is very good. Now I get to play a card. It doesn’t matter what number I have, since it’s the suit that matters. I like that simplicity of it.

The suits follow the same Battle over Britain altitude levels, spades are highest, diamonds are lowest. And it helps that I have my entire hand be spades. After three turns, I bump down the modification to +2. So now, for the ship’s defense, I drew a 3. The +2 makes it a 5. Which means now they have Flak.

But I still have spades. At least until the point where I don’t. So now I play a heart to dodge the flak, which helps, since they needed to roll a four or higher to hit me (there’s a nice resolution table that determines what fire level is used) and I make it through that with ease. I then decide to have the next three draws be modified by +1 (they don’t mention this at any point in the game, so I decided to include it in).

Again, on the third round of that section, I managed to run into a firing situation, only this time, I took a hit for three damage. Fortunately, my Torpedo has eleven health. So now the next turn begins, and this time I’m not gonna add more numbers to the draw. However, I managed to get hit with another two damage.

Now I play the rest of the game waiting out the deck. Unfortunately, while waiting out the deck, I forgot the fact that I need to play a diamond to drop a torpedo, since it represents being at the lowest altitude. Thus, the enemy wins.

But, I decided to play again. Yes, this game is so easy and simple, that I wanted to play it again. So, we go through the same motions, though this time I took out eighteen cards from the deck due to me drawing a nine of clubs.

This time, I’m keeping a diamond in my hand and waiting for the right moment to drop the torpedo. Now you’re wondering what I mean by “waiting out the deck”… Well, I have to drop a torpedo, right? In the table, there’s a range that goes from short to extremely long depending on how many cards are in the deck. The shorter the range, the better the chances of scoring a hit.

So, I waited until there were exactly fifteen cards (medium range) and drew the card that would decide the hit. I drew an Ace, which is basically a guaranteed hit. Unfortunately, my victory is short-lived because I drew a Court Card, which means that the torpedo is a dud.

This is a game that exceeded my expectations. I feared that the lack of substance would leave me empty, but instead, the simplicity of the game helped me blaze through two games in one post. Out of the three Minden Games I could see myself playing alone in the middle of a park, Torpedo Raiders is the most fitting of the three.

Salvo’s game fits on a postcard, but the rules of combat are complex, to the point where I had to create a macro on Roll20 to simplify the process. Battle over Britain is my personal favorite, but the game didn’t give me that same adrenaline rush as Torpedo Raiders did. The game was so easy and simple to play, I was able to just reset the game and play again rather than set everything up from square one.

Personally, I love Minden Games and I eagerly await to get my hands on more of their products so that I could play them. Until then, I’ll be sure to play these three. Bon Voyage, Gamers!

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