Hello! Welcome to this Deranged Review. One of the things I managed to do in Essen this year was to momentarily create my own stand (#1). I was supposed to demo for Scuba, which I still kinda did, but there was a spare stand because someone left a day early. So I sold a few Scuba's even before I demo'ed it ^^.
Then on the Spellenspektakel in Eindhoven and Spel in Antwerpen I did some more demoing of Scuba. As I kinda promised the guy a review (#2), here it is .
I'll be giving grades on several aspects of the game, such as discussed here.
For ART, I look at the big picture, and how that picture looks. EASE covers ease of play and learning curve, FLEXIBILITY covers the amount of free will you have and is therefore linked to replayability. FUN might be deceptive, as it's a gut thang, but I'll try and specify in the text, and COMPONENTS should be self-explanatory. I'll not say a lot about rules and specifics - you can find those out for yourself.
The Game Itself: Scuba diving; The Board Game
Dive, swim, see fish, survive! Best dive wins .
-The art for this game is just bloody stunning. The illustrations are extremely pretty, as is only natural for a game designed to evoke the feeling of going scuba-diving. I mean, could you imagine a game like this in black/white?
'm not saying the game is fully theme-driven, either. What I love most about the artwork is how it's part of what makes this game work instead of just something nice to look at.
-I've explained many games over the years, and I can safely say Scuba is really easy to explain and play. In fact, it's surprisingly easy for such a big game! There's only a handful of rules, and once again this plays into the experience of scuba-diving (#3). You just need to pay attention to your air-supply, and just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
-The game has a variable set-up and meaningful choices, so replayability is high. You could do as Zaphod did and sink to the lowest depths, hoping to pick up a few high-point sharks, and hoping none of them bites your goggles off; or you could stay in shallow water more or less indefinitely and thoroughly scour every last point from the top two tiers.
The left-over tiles (there are always four tiles of each layer in excess), the swimming fishes and random tile placement mean you'll never know what's happening. That's why, just as with real diving (#3)(#3), you'll need to keep exploring .
And it's not as if there's no player interaction or tactical choices either. The dustclouds you kick up will cloud the vision of whoever comes after you, masking any fish on those squares for 1 round. This simple mechanic makes for interesting tactical choices on top of the strategic ones - you could block that silly yellow sceeple (#7) from seeing these sharks here this turn and then move up to snap some pictures of those nice sponges there next turn.
-While it does feature a bit of chance, interfering and tactics, the game is more of an experience than it's hilarious. I should REALLY change this subject... (#4)
Scuba offers enough depth to entertain, but (once again) like with real diving (#3)(#3)(#3) the game is far more relaxing than tense.
All you need to do is move some of the open fishies around sometimes. Granted, that is slightly fiddly, but it's not half as fiddly as moving ALL the fishies. To be really clear on this, you only move those critters (including sponges) in squares that have been explored.
-All the components are good, just keep an eye out for those air-markers, as they tend to move if you slide it across the table.
Like I might have said somewhere along the way, Scuba feels just like going for an actual dive - and for a fraction of the price. Everything serves that singular purpose, from the artwork to the mechanics.
For example, you can rise only one layer (10m) at a time, otherwise you'd get the bends. The animals are mostly depth-specific as well, and have their Latin names featured prominently on the cards. Sometimes, something unforseen happens - you could find a pirate cutlass, or lose some air due to a faulty thingy somewhere. It's all top-down design by an actual divemaster, so you know it's authentic.
In short, if you like scuba diving or know someone who does, this is the game to get.
As usual, please give your opinion in the comments .
Oh, by the way, I am Deranged. I like to have fun with (and around) boardgames, and have played many of them over the years. I've been furniture in my FLGS for years ^^. I tend to like old games; well, I tend to like good games, most of which have been around for bit ^^. I've written 86 reviews as of yet, which you can access here, and a handful of random topics discussed here. If you want me to write a review for you or recommend me a game, there's this neat little envelop near my avatar!
#2: No, he didn't threathen to leave me at the gas station. In fact, I offered to make one (#1).
#3: Yes, again.
#4: This is forshadowing (#5).
#5: This is breaking the 4th wall (#5)(#6).
#6: That's like, sixteen walls! Can you tell I love footnotes yet?