Silent Victory is a great simulation narrative WW2 submarine game. Having just finished playing a long campaign of Target For Today I can say that this is in the same category as TFT, B17, Patton's Best, etc.
I played a full campaign 3 times in a row, and each time I added some house rules in terms of achieving victory to help spice things up. Before I comment on this, here are some pros and cons, in my opinion:
+ Great submarine simulator with changing narrative each time you play
+ Nice components
+ Simple & quick gameplay
+ Lots of community resources and additional content
+ High replay value if you break up your sessions between campaigns
- Repetitive. While it can be very exciting to watch the story of your USS Submarine unfold...it can seem tedious and repetitive if you play more than one campaign in a row. This seems to be the case with all games that are like this
- Lots of charts. As a wargamer I have a special love for charts, but simulators like this use charts to plot the action for you. I would recommend getting the web-based app.
CAMPAIGN #1 - Standard Rules
I played this campaign right out of the rulebook. I did a couple "mock patrols" to learn the basics before I started recording everything. Victory was based purely on the tonnage of enemy vessels sunk, as per the rules. Fun. Ultimately I was KIA in July 1943 after my 7th patrol
CAMPAIGN #2 - Optional Rules + Vs. Captain
Ok, so things started getting interesting on the 2nd campaign. First, I added in all the optional rules for escort and aircraft quality and everything else at the end of the rulebook. Then, and this is the cool part, I randomly selected one of the captain cards that comes with the game and I made it a Versus scenario. What I mean by that, I looked at the starting year, sub type, and all the achievements of the captain...and I had to beat or exceed what he did in his career. I played against Cpt S. Daley and beat his career having performed the same amount of successful patrols but sinking 2 additional ships and over 50,000lbs more than he did.
CAMPAGIN #2 - ALL RULES + RANDOM VICTORY CONDITIONS
This was the most fun of the 3, in my opinion. Basically, I started off by creating random victory conditions. First, I rolled 2d6 to determine how many successful patrols I needed to perform to gain 1 VP. Had I rolled 2-5 I would have rolled a D4 and added that many more patrols. In my case, I rolled 8 so I needed to perform at least 8 successful patrols to earn 1 VP.
Then, I rolled a D20 + D10 to determine the min amount of ships I would need to sink in order to score 1 VP with the minimum being 15 (anything less results in needing at least 15). I rolled 26.
Next, I rolled 3d10 and used them to help determine the tonnage I would need to sink to achieve 1 VP with the minimum being 45,100lbs. So, I rolled 3d10 and put them in descending order. I rolled 8,6,1 so the tonnage I needed to sink was 86,100lbs.
I then went over to the awards. I rolled 1d6 for each major award. on a 1-3 it was a possible VP condition. on a 4-6 is was not considered for VPs (still has in-game benefits). Then, for each award with a possible VP I rolled a d4 to determine how many of them I need to collect to gain a VP for it. For me, I need 2 ribbons, 3 silver stars, 1 navy cross, and/or 4 bronze stars. Achieving any of these individually gave 1 VP (for instance, if I had received 1 navy cross and 2 ribbons I would have received 2 VPs).
My final rank as a commander also yields VPs. LCDR = 0, CDR = 1 VP, CTP = 2 VP
Finally, once all of that was done, I randomly determined how many VPs I would need to achieve victory. I rolled a d3 to do this. 1-2= 4 VPs, 3-4=5VPs, 5-6=6Vps. I personally needed 4 VPS to win.
Results - I ended the game after my final patrol in Dec 1944 on a special mission (M) to the China Sea. I retired after that patrol. I scored 1 VP for successfully completing 9 patrol out of 11 (needed 8). I scored another VP for sinking exactly 26 ships (needed 26). Another VP for a Navy Cross (needed 1 - I did not gather enough of the other awards). Another VP came from my rank as CDR. And finally 1 last VP for sinking a total of 113,600lbs in enemy ships! this gave me 5 VPs of the 4 I needed.
This was a really cool way to play as it made me change up my strategy other than just going after tonnage. One I knew I had sunk enough tonnage, I needed to start shifting my focus to the number of ships I was sinking not only for the VP for total ships sunk, but for the different awards I was going after.
This is a fun submarine simulator game. Having played these 3 full campaigns I will probably put it away for a while, and return to it sometime over the next several years when it feels fresh again. Definitely worth the buy if you can wait on the P500 reprint or find yourself and existing copy. While I won't play it again right away, I certainly won't be getting rid of it. I'm sure I can think of several other ways to play that would keep it exciting each time
I feel it repetitive too.
Always the same detection roll each time.
Fail and it is downhill ride of dice rolls.
Picked up a used copy, and ended very quickly collecting dust.
No doubt some house rules lifts the game.
Thanks for sharing!
I am probably spoiled by Target for Today
Much more diversity and detail from first dice roll.