First unboxing.

Rate this Entry
Here is a personal account of what a newbie goes through when he/she decides to take the plunge and decide to invest in SOG:

I was at my local gaming store. The owner showed me a whole bunch of products including Wings of Glory and Sails of Glory. I told him that I would have to research those games as they seemed kind of pricey for a few nicely made plastic miniatures and cardboard counters. I went online and researched WOG. Lovely plastic models, crappy unrealistic rules, even in advanced mode. IMHO, aerial combat is best suited to real time, in-the-cockpit computer simulation. But naval battles lend themselves very well to 2D simulations. I read the rules online, scouted out reviews and forums, and was very impressed with SOG. I was a big JUTLAND by Avalon Hill fan back in the day, which recreates WWI Steamship dreadnaught class warfare. The problem with Jutland was scale. The closest any two ships of that era came to each other was about 5 miles. 1:1200 miniatures would make the playing field as big as a house. But in the age of sail, ships in battle actually entangled their yards and blasted away at point blank range. Reading the rules for SOG online, I was not impressed with the basic rules. Again, too simplistic. But after reading the advanced rules, I was hooked. This game should play really well and provide enough realism. So I ran down to the local game shop (Isle of Games, Tucson AZ) and grabbed the starter set box. It had obviously been dropped by someone, the foremast of the French 3rd rate Ship of the line had snapped off, but the box was in perfect shape (no crumpled corners, no slobber or drool on the clear plastic). The clerk selling me the game gave me a 10% discount because of the broken ship, which essentially paid for the tax as this game set me back 87 bucks. Now, I know that I could get it much cheaper online, but I'm one of those guys that feels that he has to support his local game shop, otherwise it will go away quickly. So I grabbed the game and rushed home to see just how cool this game is.


Remove shrinkwrap. Wow, very nice, very thick cardboard with "linen" texture embossing. The whole game has that. Very impressive. The cheap plastic boats are very nicely detailed with very fragile masts considering all the plastic poured into the sails to give them strength. The first thing I did was to scan every die cut cardboard piece (front and back) into my computer. That way, when I accidentally spill my grog in the heat of battle, I can replace counters, ship mats and logs, etc. I also did this so I can make custom cards, logs, etc. The next thing I did was to find out how to repair the mast on that french frigate. This wonderful site gave me multiple ways to fix what I found out was a really common problem with these sets. I chose the stick pin replacement method and it worked swell. I'm a modeler from way back who already had things like micro drills and third hands, but I'm 60, my eyes aren't what they used to be and I don't want to bother so much with that anymore. The next thing was to assemble the ships to their bases with their respective base cards. First off, the cards didn't fit. Anybody else have this problem? The cards are just a smidge too large to fit into the bases. This results in cards arching and not letting you fit the clear plastic cover over them. At first, I thought that the cards fit over the clear plastic bit, but that just lets the card spin around the central ship pin. So, it's a poor fit created by improper manufacturing tolerances. Next thing I noticed was that some bases rocked a little while sitting on a level surface. That's poor manufacturing again. Then, the pegs on the bottom of the ships are extremely loose when placed into the bases. When I went to pick up a base, I accidentally knocked a ship completely over. Very poor tolerances all around. I have since researched the forum and I want to thank to everyone here for their brilliant solutions to these common problems. The next thing I did was to punch out the one hundred and fifty billion counters. That took a while and sucked up way too much space on the 4 ft by 4ft table I was hoping to play on. You need a least a couple of feet beyond the "play area" to house all that stuff. What I wound up doing was to put each counter type into separate zip lock snack bags (which are shallow and wide and best of all, recloseable). The first thing I thought when I mounded all the counters up was that they could be completely replaced by an i-phone app. Somebody, please write that app so I don't have to devote half my table to token storage. BTW, I love the compass rose. I used my i-phone to actually align it with true north before I set the pointer parallel to the first scenario battle lines. I really like tiny realistic stuff like that. Just setting this game up, punching out counters, assembling stuff and getting ready to actually play a game I've never played before took well over two hours. I had to refer to the rules multiple times to make sure I understood what I was looking at and where counters should go, etc. So, give yourself plenty of time to do this. Once you play a game, you realize you did the set-up all wrong and you learn from experience. Well, I've set it up and now it's time to play an actual game. That's the title of my next blog entry.

Submit "First unboxing." to Digg Submit "First unboxing." to Submit "First unboxing." to StumbleUpon Submit "First unboxing." to Google



  1. 7eat51's Avatar
    Some of us are replacing the game logs/mats with laminated sheets - much easier, needs less space, mobile during play, etc.

    If you find the ships and bases too problematic in terms of manufacturing tolerances, contact Ares. They have been responsive to others' problems.
  2. Union Jack's Avatar
    I'm tending towards a magnetic option so you can pick up the ship card and nothing falls off/moves etc.
  3. Ozariig's Avatar
    It's a few months later and I'm going through exactly the same stuff you did on the production value, minus the mast repair. I'm a modeller too so it's not a dealbreaker for me, but I do feel like it is somewhat of a missed opportunity for Ares. A game's "cool" factor gets multiplied 10 times if the components are well crafted, in my opinion :)