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Tuesday, 23 August 2016
In played a reduced size solo game of MTB today to see if it was as much fun as I remember it being back in the day. In short the answer is no. It really is showing its age and is definitely of its time with a fair amount of book keeping, a shed load of tables to consult and numerous modifiers to apply, before you even get to the end of a single turn. It was published in 1977 so no surprise there really?
The basic game is fine, its just swamped by the level of cross-referencing and calculating you need to do in order to sink anything. You need to consult at least five tables to work out if you've caused any damage, for example, let alone work out what the damage is that you've inflicted. Its clear that things have moved on a bit, especially when compared to equivalent modern games like TAC.
Anyway, it was fun to re-play the game which I set up with three British MTB's intercepting a coastal patrol of two German R-Boats and a VP-Boat or armed trawler. This was a fairly even match on paper but, as things turned out, it was a walkover for the Kriegsmarine. The R Boats and the trawler were too tough to damage, even by a lucky torpedo hit, and too well armed to be a pushover.
In contrast, the MTB's were fast but flimsy and took far more damage than the opposition, causing one MTB to catch fire and another to sink. The latter loss was, however, self inflicted due to a navigational error by the flotilla leader, who succeeded in ramming his number two at high speed. This left both MTB's locked together, unable to fire and sandwiched between the Germans.
I think I'll stick with other, more up to date rules for coastal warfare in the future, but it was a good game in the end and I did enjoy it. The clunky mechanics and time spent number crunching really detracted from the game itself, which was a shame. I'll definately continue my lead free naval gaming using card counters but I think MTB will be put back on the nostalgia shelf.