Brace for Impact: Preview

Dive! Dive! Dive! Arm the torpedoes! Fire!” Today, Fairway dives deep and then surfaces with this preview of the upcoming Kickstarter game by Rampage Games: Brace for Impact!  Find out whether this one sinks or floats. 

Brace for Impact! is a two-player, real-time, dice rolling microgame that fits in a small mint tin. Each player is the captain of a ship attempting to sink their opponent. Brace for Impact is coming to Kickstarter.  I was provided a preview, pre-production copy so things like components and art may change.

Initial Impressions

  1. The real time, frantic dice rolling captures (what I assume to be) the feeling of a submarine dog fight: frantic, nervous, confusing, and frustrating
  2. The game wraps up very quickly and definitely in or around the advertised five-minute mark.
  3. There is a bit of a memorization curve to keep the commands and corresponding die rolls in sync.

Game play

As Brace For Impact is a mint tin-sized micro game, there’s very few components.  Each player is given four meeples, two dice, a surfaced/submerged token, and a torpedo.  There are few gems that represent “intelligence” in the game.

At the start of each game, players start with the pair of dice, torpedo, the token set to “surface,” and three of meeples. Everything else is set toward the middle of the table.

To play, all players will simultaneously roll their dice.  Depending on your submarine’s current position (surfaced or underwater), you’ll have a few different options:

Die Roll Surface Underwater
Seven
  • Dive underwater
  • Add a crew member
  • Surface
  • Gather an intelligence gem
Doubles
  • Remove an opponent’s intelligence gem
  • Load a torpedo
  • Load a torpedo
  • Fire a torpedo

As you roll, you make decisions about which actions to take. Your objective is one of two folds: remove all your enemy’s crew members or get enough intelligence gems.  To remove crew members, you need to fire a torpedo. The game continues until one player has seven intelligence gems or one player has no crew members left.

On the green

Theme. The theme here fits the format. There’s quite a bit of tension packed into the game. We liked that the game comes in a small tin, not unlike a miniature version of a submarine. Then, rolling the necessary sevens and doubles never seem to come just when I need them adding to the sense of urgency and tension… and claustrophobia. Those feelings persist for the short five minutes of the game.

Play time.  The fact that this game plays quickly is definitely a perk. The frenetic rolling and frantic decisions wouldn’t do well in a much longer game, but there’s still plenty of time to have fun.

Where it comes up short

If there’s one thing I take issue with is that the progressions and corresponding die rolls seem non-linear. It means you’re working extra hard to memorize what actions happen when and with what die roll.  For example, something as simple at “intelligence gems”: it’s roll doubles to “gather” underwater and then it’s roll seven to “remove” when surfaced.

The exact opposite happens when you’re thinking about crews and torpedoes. On the surface, roll seven to add a crew member. Then, underwater, roll doubles to fire a torpedo to remove a crew member from an opponent — also, it only works if you’ve got a torpedo loaded.

Perhaps other people have more nimble minds, but this is easily confused during the game and there’s no time to stop and check rules in a real time game. I think this has the consequence of increasing the learning curve of the game.

A collector’s edition! Pic from the Kickstarter Campaign page.

In the hole

Brace for Impact is a nifty little submarine warfare microgame. The game plays quickly, but is filled with nervous, confusing, and frantic tension. That’s a good thing. With the exception of the minor quibble about the learning curve for a real-time game, this is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a ultra-portable, quick dice game.

Brace for Impact is in the hole for a Par.

Fairway was provided a preview copy of Brace for Impact in order to write this preview. He was not otherwise compensated for writing it.

Tell us what you think!