Hello, everyone. It’s midafternoon here in New Hometown, Florida on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 76˚F (24˚C) under mostly cloudy skies. With the wind blowing from the east at 14 MPH (22 KM/H) and humidity at 42%, the feels-like temperature is 75˚F (24˚C). The forecast for today calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 78˚F (25˚C). Tonight, we can expect mostly clear skies and a low of 54˚F (12˚C).
I don’t have any earthshaking news today – I woke up early and played Cold Waters for almost an hour after a breakfast that consisted of a cup of café con leche and a piece of guava-and-cheese coffee cake. I started the North Atlantic 1984 campaign – the one that is thematically, if not literally, similar to Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. I wasn’t going to do another Cold Waters campaign for a while; I completed the U.S.-vs.-China South China Sea 2000 one not too long ago, so I thought I’d not attempt the two with the Soviets as the “main baddies” till later in the spring or early summer.
It’s my belief that one of the reasons why I lost so many submarines in the South China Sea war is that I tried to rush through the campaign and went on more than one war patrol per day: The game isn’t physically tiring – beyond a certain amount of eyestrain or tired wrists and fingers from using the mouse a lot – but it is mentally challenging and immersive as hell. Some might even say Cold Waters – or any fun game, really – can be addictive. And because even simulated combat stress can affect your decision-making, you make bad choices or stupid tactical mistakes because you aren’t thinking clearly. Forgetting to make course alterations to deny enemy submariners a good Target Motion Analysis (TMA), firing a missile when there are Ka-27 Helix ASW helos hovering nearby, or not checking to see if an enemy sub is in your baffles – those are all fatal mistakes that can make things very, very bad for you and your crew.
So, with that in mind, I will not play more than one war patrol per day on Cold Waters during this particular campaign. I still might lose a boat or two in North Atlantic 2000, but not five out of six like I did in South China Sea 2000.
Other than that, today has been relatively uneventful. I’m in the process of “breaking the story” of my new screenplay for my friend Juan Carlos Hernandez, and soon I will start on Draft #1 of the script. I have some good ideas in my head; the challenge – as is the case in any creative project – is putting those ideas down on paper (or, more realistically, into printer-ready files in Movie Magic Screenwriter!
I’m going to take a break to rest my eyes for a bit, then I’ll resume my writer’s routine until six or so. So, until next time, Dear Readers, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.
 A war patrol, or war cruise, is when you take a sub from a base – Guam or Holy Loch, Scotland, depending on the scenario – and carry out a series of missions until you receive orders from your commanders (COMSUBPAC in the Pacific, COMSUBLANT in the Atlantic) to return to base to rearm and repair your boat. In Silent Service II, the only other sub game I own, a war patrol consists of sailing to a designated area on a map and engaging any enemy convoys or naval task forces you run into. In Cold Waters – just as in Red Storm Rising, the game that Killerfish Games drew its inspiration from – you are not locked into a specific patrol area. Instead, COMSUBLANT “radios” orders, such as “Satellites have spotted a Soviet amphibious force heading for Narvik and may reach the area in 3-4 days. Intercept this force and destroy the landing ships.” You move your boat from Point A to Point B with the mouse on the Strategic Transit Map, keeping a wary eye on icons that represent friendly and enemy patrol planes, satellites, and enemy surface or submarine forces. (To avoid clutter on the map, the game never shows NATO or US sub or surface units.) Once you finish your mission successfully – and there’s always a chance that you don’t – you will automatically send a report to headquarters, plus your boat’s status – weapons inventory and damage reports – and depending on your current condition, you’ll get further missions or told to return to base if you are out of ammo. In a worst-case scenario, a war patrol can end prematurely if you scuttle your boat and abandon it – there’s a 50-50 chance of being rescued – or if you and your boat are killed.
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