June 2024

Nemo’s War - A Maiden Voyage

Nemo’s War - A Maiden Voyage

I peered through the porthole as we were about to embark, leaving out tiny island in the midst of the Indian Ocean. The sea was angry that day my friends, and my fear was that the dice would be angrier…

We were to Explore the world’s oceans, and I was a sailor aboard the Nautilus, captained by Nemo, a mercurial, strong willed genius. We quickly traversed through the oceans, using our Hydrodrive, searching for treasures, wonders and sights unseen. All the while the ocean above was filling with ships from the imperial powers that be.

Nemo showed his mettle by defeating a Great White Shark, while acquiring treasures left long ago on the ocean floors. He also showed his fickleness by depositing the good Professor Arronnax in the middle of the ocean in favor of another for Science Officer.

We sped through the Atlantic, into the Arctic, making discoveries as we went. We were uneasily aware of the ships above us. We had an encounter with the SS City of Boston which we handled quickly and many on the surface will wonder where the ship finally came to rest. We sped to the Pacific to avoid further calamities.

Our peace was short lived as the oceans kept filling with ships. We soon had another encounter with the tea carrying clipper ship Tasting. Charles Grey, the Earl Grey, would be without his tea that year. We quickly exited the Pacific Oceans via Cape Horn, but were almost boiled alive due to ocean vents We had a short encounter with the French Ship, Napoleon III, which went badly causing damage to the hull an loss of some crew. We came across a United States of America flagged whaling ship, named the Pequod, which we promptly sunk. I can still recall the image of a pegged legged man, screaming and waving a harpoon as the ship sank beneath the waves.

The new Science Office proved their worth by creating Steam Torpedos, which would greatly increase our ability to attack, while preventing damage to ourselves. And while they worked for a time, the toll of fighting was weighing heavily on Nemo. His goal was to explore, and while we were initially successful, the ocean was filling with increasing hostile ships, and we were on the defensive. Our notoriety continued to grow, in an ever descending spiral. The dice were cast when we sank the British Clipper, the Cutty Sark. We salvaged it’s cargo and the imbibing began. The incident brought talks of war from the British Imperialists.

We fled to the South, planning to wait out the turmoil, discovering the pole along the way. We attempted repairs and rest, but to no avail. We sailed north in hopes of finding sunnier climes, when it happened, our ship engulfed by what appeared to be enormous tentacles….It was….The Kracken….Jeez you would have thought Moby Dick would have ate this oversized calamari appetizer for us in thanks for sending old Ahab to Davy Jones’ Locker. However, this was not the case. It almost pushed Nemo and Crew to the breaking point. And in many ways it did. We survived, but were broken beyond repair. Leaving the Nautilus an empty shell, we disbanded, broken, defeated and all but forgotten. Only the oldest of salts have a faint recollection of the Nautilus and her mad captain Nemo.


In a nutshell, I really enjoyed this game. If you are are looking for a solo adventure and this theme appeals to you, then it is worth checking out. A few other comments.

  • Other games I have are Root, Pax Pamir 2E, and John Company 2E. While these games have solo modes (Root with Robotics), they really aren’t made for solo. They come to life with others at the table. I had given up on the concept of solo board games and then someone made the comment of trying a game that was designed for the solo experience, not something that was tacked on. Nemo’s War is a great example of this, as it was designed for solo play.

  • There are dice. I say this now, because apparently, dice are a “thing” now. Decades ago I started playing chess as a kid (no dice) and then moved into D&D (lots of dice, and different kinds of dice) and then Avalon Hill games (many had dice). Dice were everywhere. Games faded away for a few decades, but I recently got back into the hobby and have discovered dice are a thing. One of my favorite computer functions, RND() seems to have become a dividing point amongst gamers. To each their own. I think chance is part of life. Now, you can take steps to minimize bad outcomes, and maximize good ones. The steps don’t always work, but they can/should help prevent catastrophic failure. Nemo’s War works this way. You have plenty of options of dealing with the dice.

  • The game itself is beautiful and is fun to leave out on the table. I am a fan of Ian O’Toole’s art and his board design was extremely helpful in playing the game. I have a sense the next time I break this out, I’ll only need to refer to the rule book minimally as most of what you need to know is on the board. I also really appreciated all the flavor on the cards, the unique design of each ship and those small bits (like there is a ghost ship). Note, I have the Ultimate Edition of the game.

  • I played a second game, and ended up losing due the seas being filled with warships, so a DNF. Still, i thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am looking forward to trying a new strategy next time.

  • I keep a small log book with the game, and make notes as I play. Both games felt like an adventure and over multiple plays, it will be fun to look back at past journeys, along with keeping track of scores.

  • The game has three levels and eight motives, goals for Nemo to achieve, so there seems like there is plenty of variety. Each of the motives seem like they require a different strategy. There are also cooperative options and a multiplayer option. I have not tried them. I bought this primarily as a solo game, and it excels at that.

  • Leaving port (my first play) was a slight challenge. There are two rule books. They both seem to have a reference type of approach. I recommend the Heavy Cardboard play through videos. They are very well done, and once you see game played, things start to click. My second game was much easier than my first.

  • This will be an “event” game for me. Total play time seems to fall in the three hour time frame. This will be perfect on that cold winter night, wanting to unplug from technology and escape into an adventure. Pour a dram of scotch (Cutty Sark perhaps?) and go explore the oceans, incite some uprisings, and sink some ships!