Welcome to Lake Wanapulachit!
Take the Bait is a light, Euro-style tile collection game featuring teams of four whimsical fishermen competing to bring in the biggest catch. Do you rely on sheer fishing talent, or do you break out the Banjooki 2000 Platinum-plated Turbo Reel to haul in the monster fish? The choice is yours!
Take the Bait plays up to four players, and features a game board laid out like a lake with the game sections arranged around the lake in a semi-circle. The players take on the roles of four fishing teams at a tournament, lead by some whimsical characters with special abilities from which the players can choose.
The game is divided into three days (rounds), with three turns each round. Players begin the first, third and sixth turns at camp, in tents. They visit the campground canteen and, depending on certain circumstances, choose a coffee for the day, which will determine their turn order. Of course, the coffee that gives the biggest kick allows a player to go first but it also costs the most. Then it's onto the tackle shop to buy some equipment - some items are mundane, but cheap, while others are a bit more special but may require players to spend more cash, which isn't easy to come by.
Next, it's time for fishing. According to certain character powers, equipment mixes, etc. the players take turns drawing fish (tiles) out of three areas of the lake. The area closest to shore is the easiest to fish in, but it's where all the smaller fish dwell. The middle body of the lake has some bigger fish but requires a pier license to reach. The third is the deepest and most costly in which to fish, but it's where the big daddies live, including one monster catfish that has never been caught and has fueled tall tales for years at the lake. Mixed into the tiles in each of the sections are also various bits of detritus such as old boots, lost bikinis and such that always seem to latch onto hooks during any fishing trip. They'll hurt your score at the end of the tournament, but some may very well be of use to someone if they, or an opponent, have a matching item...
Then there's the market, where fish can be sold for money to buy bigger equipment, or held until the end of the current day (round). The market prices fluctuate from day to day and there's a catch of the day that brings a bonus, so players will have to decide whether that fish is best kept for score or sold for cash.
The final station for each turn is the lodge where teams can hire a guide - an extra hand that will help them fish for the day. The guides get cheaper as the tournament draws to an end, so players will need to decide whether they pay a premium for that extra help in the beginning or save their money for one last push at the end. Teams can also check the weather for the next day while at the lodge, giving them a little insight at the weather patterns that could influence fish migration.
The next turns continue until the end of the day when there is a weigh in, which scores points for players. The player who has the most points at the end of three days wins!
Teams can also freely trade among themselves. This trading keeps the game lively and social, as players tempt each other to "take the bait."