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Subject: Have you ever played GDW’s “Coral Sea”? rss

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Rich Aguilar
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Looking for any information about GDW’s Coral Sea. I can’t seem to find anyone in my area who has any experience with this game. I am thinking about buying a copy, but would like some advice if it’s worth obtaining.
If you have played it, can you share your thoughts about the game?
- Is it worth picking up?
- Is it a Strategic, Operational or Tactical-level game?
- Did you have fun playing it?
- What did you like/dislike about it?
- Etc.
Thank you for any comments, info, advice you can provide me.
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Richard Boyes
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Only solo many years ago. Although just earlier today I thought about getting it out after reading a book on the subject while waiting for someone in an emergency room.

I would call it operational.
There are fighter, bomber, etc. counters, so the air units aren't just lumped into a counter or two.
I liked it, but IIRC it had search and plotting which made my solo effort unsatisfying.

I would buy it if it can be found on the cheap.

 
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Jeb
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I think flattop is better.
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Rich Aguilar
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jeb123 wrote:
I think flattop is better.
In your opinion, what is it about Flattop that makes it better?
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Rich Aguilar
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eltorosailor wrote:
Only solo many years ago. Although just earlier today I thought about getting it out after reading a book on the subject while waiting for someone in an emergency room.

I would call it operational.
There are fighter, bomber, etc. counters, so the air units aren't just lumped into a counter or two.
I liked it, but IIRC it had search and plotting which made my solo effort unsatisfying.

I would buy it if it can be found on the cheap.

THANK YOU very much for the information!
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Jeb
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Aggyhotep wrote:
jeb123 wrote:
I think flattop is better.
In your opinion, what is it about Flattop that makes it better?
Flat Top and Coral Sea cover the same campaign in WWII. I’ve played Flat top and loved the tension of the game as you search for each other. The air attacks feel realistic and the learnings you take away from the game gave me a greater appreciation for these campaigns.

I have not played Coral Sea BUT I have played Europa. The game seems to be related (at least the counters seem very similar) but designed for the pacific. I was never a big fan of Europa air system. The owner notes seem to support this opinion.

Lastly when you look at the ratings for the two games Flat Top is heads and shoulders better than Coral Sea. This does not surprise me as Flat Top is a classic wargame and I’ve never heard of Coral Sea.

If you are interested in Coral Sea I would suggest you should first check out Flat Top.
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Mark Aasted
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I’m not much help but I have played it, way back in the 80’s. I just recently sold the copy I had about a year ago. Like the others said, Flat Top is the Carrier game most often talked about and is more easily to find, quite often at a reasonable price.
 
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M St
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jeb123 wrote:
Aggyhotep wrote:
jeb123 wrote:
I think flattop is better.
In your opinion, what is it about Flattop that makes it better?
Flat Top and Coral Sea cover the same campaign in WWII. I’ve played Flat top and loved the tension of the game as you search for each other. The air attacks feel realistic and the learnings you take away from the game gave me a greater appreciation for these campaigns.

I have not played Coral Sea BUT I have played Europa. The game seems to be related (at least the counters seem very similar) but designed for the pacific. I was never a big fan of Europa air system. The owner notes seem to support this opinion.
It's rather dangerous to draw conclusions about a game system purely from the counter layout! The counters look like they do since GDW made its counters at the time look like that. Europa is a land campaign system with 2-week turns and 15(?) mile hexes. Coral Sea is an operational carrier game with 30 miles per hex and a few hours per turn.

The scale of Flat Top is somewhat more detailed than Coral Sea, but ultimately the mechanisms are quite similar. Both require searching and finding the enemy before you can hit him. Flat Top is a bit easier to use because you have the big plotting sheets to record your moves on; Coral Sea basically requires you to record them on paper.

As for the degree of obscurity of CS, one thing I have learned over time is how much the market position of AH shaped visibility in the eye of gamers. FT was a Battleline/Yaquinto design; having AH re-release it is what made it famous and widespread. You cannot simply argue that a game must be worse than an AH game because it is more obscure. CS was released when GDW was very young, it was successful enough to spawn two successor games, Battle for Midway and Indian Ocean Adventure.

I think FT is much more colourful, somewhat smoother in play, and gives you more decisions since it has more detail, and it has more scenarios, so it is not surprising that it stayed around. It's fun to have, and fun to play. However, it has the drawback that it takes longer, much longer, and neither game can really be played solitaire. So I would make the decision to buy FT dependent on whether you have the opponents, space and time to leave a game of it set up.

If you're more geared towards single session games, a reasonably well working game on the same topic at roughly the same level of detail as Coral Sea is "Scratch One Flat Top!". If you look for it, you may be able to get a copy of the Japanese Command Magazine special edition #6, containing a version of Victory at Midway which includes Coral Sea as a second scenario. Despite the fact that it is much more abstract than Flat Top, it is just as good history, it is just as exciting if not more (because there is basically no recordkeeping), and it can be played in an evening. However, it likewise cannot really be played solo.
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