The 5th Fleet is a hex-based strategical wargame based on the board game 5th Fleet. The game is designed for two players which both take the side of a war party - in matches of a larger scale one war party can include several different countries. The gameplay is strictly turn-based and every day is divided into six rounds (three for each player). Every turn is divided into three phases: submarines, ships and aircraft.
During the phases the players use two different map screens for their planning: the strategic map shows the whole operational zone divided into several areas and the tactical map offers a closer look over one area. The basic orders the players have to give are moving (marking a unit and choosing the goal hex) and attacking (choosing which weapon is used on what target). During longer matches it is also important to take care of replenishment. While naval units have to be moved on the tactical map the players can use the strategic map to plan aircraft movement. As usual for these kind of games everything is represented with abstract symbols on the map.
In single player the game features ten scenarios set in the Indian Ocean or the Persian Gulf with increasing difficulty. There the player takes the role of the American fleet and mostly fights against Russia.
Are you a naval warfare fan? Do you have a copy of Jane's fighting ships on your bookshelf? Do you like the idea of leading the American 5th fleet into combat against Russian and Indian forces (or vice-versa)?
If so then you are going to love this game. It is a faithful representation of the board game released by victory games in the late 1980s, right down to the counters. A lot of board game to pc conversions from the early to mid 90s use flashy 2d/3d graphics to represent the counters. Not 5th fleet. The map and the ships look exactly as they did in the board game. It is a completely faithful representation of the game it is based on.
Personally i did not like this game. But I am not going to mark it down as I think a lot of other people will like it. Here's why I think that. Firstly, it has nice graphics. The interface is complex, but considering the size of the war that is going on in the game, it needs the sort of interface that it has. The combat animations are also nice while the depth of logistical operations is very good. The accompanying information you can get about every ship plane and submarine in the game is defiantly extremely handy as it means you know exactly what you are going up against and can judge your forces accordingly. The only thing lacking in this picture is the sound which is minimal at best.
The gameplay is a mixture between ammo conservation and solid tactical planning. You will be spending a lot of time searching for enemy submarines. It is essential you don't send units out on their own. You always have to back up your ships and subs with planes that have high submarine detection levels. Also, you will learn the value of conserving your surface to surface missiles as ships can only carry a limited number so you really do have to stretch them as far as you can. There are only 11 scenarios, but due to the random unit placement, this has a lot more variety to it than you would think. That definitely ups the game's replayability.
All in all I give this game a 4. The game is a well made example of a turn based war game so have fun in the sun of the pacific and let the missiles fly.
People who downloaded 5th Fleet have also downloaded:
Advanced Civilization, Axis & Allies: Iron Blitz Edition, Axis & Allies, Battleship: The Classic Naval Warfare Game, Hitler's War, Risk 2, Game of Life, Risk (1991)
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