Top 3 Amazing things about Iron Bottom Sound III

Short Rules

I’ve spent years playing monsters like ASL and World in Flames. I’m not afraid of a long rule book and complex rules.  That said, I have been trending more towards shorter, simpler rules these days.  I must admit, I was a little reluctant to take on a game as detailed as Iron Bottom Sound.  I was expecting 60-100 pages of triple column, fine print. 

Amazingly no!  The rule book is only around 30 pages and half of those are scenarios.  Double column.  Big font size.  Easy to read with lots of space.  The actual rules only come in around 15 pages.  The rules make sense so they are easy to remember.  Very clean. 

Written Orders

What?!! How could that be?  Sounds like a mess.  It’s not.  It is amazing.  I love Columbia Games and Kriegsspiel because they bring in hidden and unknown features of war.  This game does the same thing only without umpires and blocks. 

Now at first I thought this sounds like a big hassle. You have to write out where each ship goes?  Who wants to sit around, hand writing orders.  Their system makes it painless, quick and fun.  How does it work?  You ships face hexsides.  Want to just steam dead ahead?  Fine.  How many Movement Factors does you ship have?  Five.  Ok, just write down “5” on your log.  That simple. 

Ok, then how do you turn? Easy.  Let’s say I want to move ahead for 2 hexes, then turn 60 degrees (that is the next hexside) to port and continue.  That would be:  2P3. 

Making a hard 120 deg turn costs an extra MF. So in that case you would write 2PP2.  All stop?  Just write: 0.  How hard it that?

These little order notes are easy to track on each ships log.


That’s pretty sleek and painless but still, why bother with all this writing? Because it is incredibly fun and realistic!!  All the ships move simultaneously.  So you have to try to guess what the enemy is going to do.  Where is he going to be?  Where do you want to end up?  Both players try to anticipate this and plan accordingly while writing down there moves. 

What happens when the enemy doesn’t move like you expect? I can easily imagine all sorts of tricks, maneuvers and mishaps.  Be careful because if your ship ends up in a hex with another ship, they can collide!  All the fun of Kriegsspiel without an umpire or teams in a straightforward 2 player game. 


This game is a gem!

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