Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Winds of Plunder» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Preview of Winds of Plunder by Joe Steadman rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Joe Steadman
United States
Evans
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Preview of GMT’s new Winds of Plunder

Although I’m know as the “wargame enthusiast” I do play many Euro/designer games. This is mostly because of the lack of wargamers where I’m at, my wife prefers German games, and time constraints often make it more practical to play designer games. Having played so many of these games I definitely have a preference for certain types of Euro games and if you ask my friends, I can usually decide whether or not I like a game in ten minutes or so. For me, designer games need to have certain elements to get the “Joe Steadman thumbs up”. The “Big Three” for me are confrontation, a high level of player interaction, and an interesting theme. Winds of Plunder got my attention immediately because in my first read-through of the rules it seemed to have all three.

Winds of Plunder is a new GMT game designed by Alan Newman, a fairly unknown designer, that allows you to play a buccaneering adventure in the Golden Age of Piracy. The game is currently on the P500 at GMT and has made the cut but still in art and final development. This preview will be based on a play-test kit and not on the final version of the game, but the rules and game is complete minus the promised, non-cardboard, mounted board and wooden pirate ships and miscellaneous bits. GMT is mostly known for its wargames, but they have put out the occasional designer game.

Game Overview:

Winds of Plunder is a 90 minute, 3-5 player game where you, a pirate, along with the other pirates sail the Caribbean Seas at the expense of the Caribbean natives and each other. The game is played in nine turns with two main phases in each turn. The player who gets the most victory points wins and there are multiple ways of earning victory points. The game board is your typical designer game board with a scoring track around the complete border, various ways to track the status of mechanics of the game, and a few game helps. The map itself is of the Caribbean, where it is divided vertically four ways. In each of the four areas there are three islands which are color coded. I’ll skip most of my comments about the components as they will change with the final production edition, but each player will have thirty cubes, someway to point a cardinal direction and a few other little things. There are also two deck of cards, an action deck and a buried treasure deck, and three advantage markers, similar to the cards in Settlers of Catan that indicate the player with the longest road, most priests, etc…

Game Play:

The first of the two phases played each turn is the wind phase. This is a very interesting mechanic and one of the highlights of the game. The players bid on the direction they’d like the wind to blow in the coming turn after secretly marking the direction they would like to go. Once all players have decided and revealed the direction they’d like the wind to blow (one of the four cardinal directions) they are locked into bidding for that direction. Wind cubes are used in this blind bidding phase. Each player will have two piles of wind cubes, one being his reserve pile and the other his usable pile. Wind cubes can be brought out of the reserve into the active area various ways throughout the game and act as the game’s basic economy. After each player secretly bids and reveals, all bid cubes are put into the reserve and the direction with the most cubes prevails. Ties and starting player are decided by the holder of the coveted Blackbeard tile. This tile is also earned during this phase by the player who bid the most cubes. Winds blowing north and south allow players to move their ships within their map area in the direction of the wind or to an adjacent area also in the direction of the wind. East/west winds are more powerful, allowing ships to sail up to two map areas in the direction of the wind. Everything in the game revolves around being able to get your ship to the island you desire. Therefore, the wind phase is very important and increasingly so as the game progresses. For example, Monica and I both want to be the first to arrive to a certain island but we’re on opposite sides of the island. As you can imagine, the bidding that wind phase will be very high because one of us will get there and the other will sail the opposite direction. Also, the Blackbeard tile, allowing you to go first, becomes more and more important as you race for possible victory points.

The other phase of the game, the plundering phase, is really divided into three distinct parts, played in any order, even though the rules say two. The first of these three is sailing. Following the direction of the wind, you move your ship to an allowable island. This is a bit confusing at first, but if you use the help chart on the map questions about the north/south relationships of the islands can be easily answered. (East and west sailing is really a no-brainer). You must sail on your turn, unless you are wind-locked stuck against the side of the board basically)

The second of the three is the playing of action points. You can spend your three action points on basically three things: action cards, wind cubes, and wind gust. Action cards cost one point to take and one point to play plus they add a random variable to the game. The cards aren’t overly powerful but they can become important at many times during the game. Wind cubes can be brought out of reserve in different amounts based on how many actions you spend. Thirdly, for ships that can’t get where they want to go, you can spend all three action points for a gust of wind. The wind gust allows you to temporally treat the wind as if it were moving in the direction of your choice.

The last part of the Plundering phase is port sequence. Each island has a port and a victory point tile that will be removed then replaced after each player visits an island. The tile also includes one or two other items you will receive from a list of four possibilities:

The first three possibilities are: crew, weapons, and provisions. Having the most of each of these items, tracked on the board, allows for certain privileges and is very similar to Settlers of Catan. The ship with the largest crew receives an extra action point to be used at the end of each of their turns, the ship with the most provisions scores an extra victory point each time they enter a port, and the ship with the most weapons is guaranteed to be allowed to board any other player’s ship in what I will describe next; ship boarding. Ship boarding adds a thematic confrontational element to the game as is two players are in the same port the player with the most weapons can board and steal two victory points from that player or take one ship upgrade of their choice. This is fun and not too evil as to make the game unenjoyable. The last thing you may get at an island is a treasure card. Treasure cards hold the name of another island. If you go to this island later and turn in the card, scoring booty, you score victory points on a sliding scale (on the board) that rewards more points the later you wait.

Besides earning victory points for going to different ports, stealing them in boarding, booty, and having one of the two point bonus “most” cards, you can earn extra points for being the first to visit all three islands in a zone. Lesser points are also earned for the other subsequent zones.

Thoughts:

The game has a fun feel to it and has the ingredients for a good designer game. It left me a little dry the first time I played it with three players but later plays with four players were much better. The game can start out a little slow but around turn 3 or 4 the action will start picking up. I really liked the boarding possibility and the way to allowed players to slow down a leader. The wind mechanic was very original and probably the highlight of the game for me. There are a few variations on the back and I would only recommend one; that is for not allowing for gust of wind; this makes the bidding much more important.

You will find yourself wishing you had more action points and having to adapt constantly to the play of your opponents. My wife calls this the “butterfly syndrome”. The butterfly syndrome is the way some games make you feel while you watch the other players and wait for your turn. These are a few things that really make it feel like a good designer game to me. I will be getting a copy for my collection and if you like designer games with confrontation, lots of player interaction, and blind bidding I suggest you go over to GMT and order a copy. By the way, GMT, no purple pirate ships, please!

GMT’s Project 500 list can be found at:

http://www.gmtgames.com/p500/gmtp50.asp

Keep your powder dry,

Joe Steadman
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael @mgouker
United States
Pembroke Pines
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review, Joe!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Bailey
United States
Broomfield
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
GO ROCKIES!!!!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is the only game I've ever ordered before it was even made. It sounds great and I can't wait to get a copy.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Steadman
United States
Evans
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think you will like it Chris, and welcome to the world of the P500!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shawn Low
Australia
Footscray
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So Joe, how much did they pay you for the review?

Just kidding.

I've been waiting for this game for AGES!

I'm a fan of Craig's artwork. Fingers crossed that this will see the light of day soon. Thanks for the in-depth review.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich S
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've been looking for a GOOD pirate game for a long and this review just put me over the top. I just made my first preorder.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Nardo
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JoeSteadman wrote:
By the way, GMT, no purple pirate ships, please!

Anthony Curtis & I have recently been nailing down the details for the wooden pieces: sizes, colors, specs for milling the pirate ships, etc. If the current plans hold, you will get your wish, Joe.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joel Langenfeld
United States
Shoreview
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
By the way, GMT, no purple pirate ships, please!


Quite right - Everyone knows The Purple means Vikings!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Arden Nelson Jr.
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the preview Joe. You've talked me into entering the world of P500 with the Dice Tower and now following reviews online.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.