Sitting on my game table today is Coral Sea: The First Carrier Battle, 1942 which is part of the Second World War at Sea series from Avalanche Press. The game is marketed as a “new introductory boxed game” that is a “gateway for players new to the world’s most popular series of naval boardgames.”
Well, I have been playing the Second World War at Sea and Great War at Sea series of games since the first one came out in 1996. I bought this one partially because of the initial price point ($19.95) that seemingly promised a whole gaming experience for less cost.
So what did I get? Well, this is NOT an introductory game. If anything, we have a repackaging of components into a new compilation with new counters. The series rules are circa 2005 – nothing new there. For an “introductory” game I was surprised Avalanche didn’t use a programmed or phased learning approach, or even include their Five-Minute Rules. From all appearances, Avalanche defined “introductory” as lower price and nothing else. Replay value of this set is rather low; there are only two battle and two operational scenarios and the operational map has a border making it incompatible with other SWWAS modules. And what is up with those two tones of blue on the maps? They don’t even look like they belong together! On the west map (which is a bit darker) it is almost impossible to see the boxes.
So, did I get my money’s worth? Honestly, I don’t think so. Should you buy this game. Well, if you never have played a SWWAS series game then maybe. If you are experienced SWWAS player and owner of several modules, then it is probably best to steer clear of this one.