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Subject: Review of Minden Games Swordfish at Taranto rss

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Stephen Jacobs
United Kingdom
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I have a lovely collection of war games diligently built up over the past few years. Unfortunately with young children and a time sucking job I have rarely played my games. I decided that I would! And so I pulled out the little zip lock with Swordfish at Taranto and started to play.
First of all the components. Minden produce counters on thin cardboard which you need to cut out and mount. I actually like their warship counters in games such as Salvo etc but graphically the swordfish counters were a little poor. However the map though small (A5 we would call it in Europe) is a beautiful little map. It perfectly represents the harbour at Taranto and contributes to the overall narrative of the game.
You then plan the raid. Rather nicely the author included the original details from the raid so you can replay that. If not you can plan the raid yourself. Once the raid is planned you take off from the carrier (H.M.S Illustrious). Some aircraft may hit problems and will be forced to return!
You then arrive at the harbour and move to your assigned positions. You have two waves of aircraft. Not surprisingly Wave 1 attacks first followed by Wave 2.
The defences at the harbour are modelled with the harbour being at different levels of alert, density of barrage balloons and deployment of torpedo nets all being variable. Again the historical settings are given but you can roll on a table to get different outcomes.
The aircraft then individually perform their attacks. For those of you without an inner narrative voice there is a table with appropriate text to help you get into the mood (Think the trench run from Star Wars). There are a number of incidents such as anti aircraft fire, selecting the target and if you are hit, do you bail (Like Wedge) or do you press home the attack against all the odds like the plucky Fleet Air Arm pilot that you are.
Once the waves are all carried out their attacks you try and get home back to the carrier.
The game is a very enjoyable way to pass an hour. Quick to set up with a small footprint, it really makes you think that you are in charge of the attack. The detail in the rules is excellent. The rules are very well written and easy to follow with little ambiguity. I have also recently being playing Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45 and although produced at vastly different budgets, the gameplay of both results in a narrative driven game with meaningful fun decisions to be made. I am quite sure that the system could be replicated for other raids (Pearl Harbour).
Overall a very enjoyable game with some replay ability value. Aside from the counters, the map and rule book well produced. It is a game that punches way above its price.
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