Author: Leo Colovini


Awards: none



G@mebox author Marco Klasmeyer writes about the game:


Sensational discoveries can be found at the very bottom of the ocean. The players control the salvage missions of small submarines from their mother ships (survey vessels) and give all the best to salvage 12 of the desirable artefacts from the ground of the ocean. But the missions have to be planned precisely and require tactical cleverness, because the other players will try to disturb the radio traffic between the submarines and the mother ship and hence hinder their recovery of the treasures. This can be only compensated by clever planning of the submarine missions and the usage of precious resources.


Submarine has a game board composed of 5x8=40 squares showing the ground of the sea and part of the water surface. On these squares the 60 treasure markers (12 markers per colour, 5 colours) are randomly placed, but the deeper the sea the more treasures can be found there. Each player gets a number of salvage cards (60 all together, 12 markers per colour, 5 colours) depending on the number of players participating. Each colour of the treasures corresponds to the salvage cards. Additionally, each player obtains a survey vessel, five submarine vehicles, a joker chip and a container board for the 12 treasures to be salvaged. Each player has its own deck of salvage cards, but during the game it may happen that one has to pay penalties to other players and hence hand over cards from his own deck. For salvaging a treasure from the ground you need a card with the corresponding colour and at least one submarine on the corresponding field. Each player is allowed to hold up to three cards in his hand.


A player on turn has to move his survey vessel on the surface at least one field from left to the right. If the vessel reaches the border of the board, it moves from the board and has to wait until all other vessels have also reached the border, then all players vessels start again at the left border. The waiting phase is called research and it allows exchanging some hand cards with the supply stack. After the survey vessel has moved, only those submarines in the same column of squares under the survey vessel can take one of the following actions:

  • Movement:
    Ascend or descend with the submarine by one layer (corresponding to water depth), but not more. Within a layer it can move to an arbitrary field. The submarine can also stay in the same layer.

  • Salvage of treasures:
    The player has to discard a salvage card of the same colour as the treasure on the submarine's field. Also for each foreign submarine between his own and his survey vessel the player has to give a card from his supply stack to the opponent. The opponent places the card on top of his supply stack. If a player cannot pay the costs for salvaging a treasure he simply cannot get it. Instead of playing salvage cards, the player can use marker with a shell as a wild card for salvaging a treasure for free. There are no costs for foreign submarines. The shell substitutes the treasure on the board and hence can be salvaged itself again later on also by another player. It is possible to collect more than one treasure with the same submarine, but the costs have to be paid separately of course.

Please note that all submarines of the active column selected by the survey vessel can only perform the same kind of action, either all move or all salvage or a submarine passes the action. A player has to perform at least one action, so he cannot pass on all his possible submarine actions. After this action phase the player can complete his hand cards up to three, supposing his supply stack still allows this.

The game ends when a player has collected 12 different treasures, or all treasures in a column have been salvaged, so that it is empty, or all players have used up all salvage cards and no one can draw cards anymore.


At the first glance Submarine is a quick game for collecting items and simply winning when the collection is complete. But on the second glance there is the card exchange mechanism which prevents a player from gathering treasures too fast and carelessly - he will ran out of salvage cards because he might pay too much penalties. These penalties make Submarine so interesting, because you have to carefully plan your moves and see that you always have enough cards to be "operable". It is sometimes possible to pay high penalties of salvage cards, when you can expect cards from your opponents by clever placement of your Submarines. For being successful you have to conclude what kind of treasures your opponents desire next and maybe put the one or the other of your submarines in their way, so you get cards from them.

Submarine has a very nice design, especially the game board. The small submarines and the survey vessels are cute wooden markers. The salvage cards have a simple but very maritime look corresponding well to the small treasure markers. Also positive is the fact that the game comes in the usual small handy box, wasting no space and being filled with nice playing material.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany