Loot Session 3/11/2006
Played our first ever session of Loot this weekend and it was a big hit.
This game is just plain fun. Its fast, lite, funny, and addictive-which is why I cant wait to play again.
The basic premise:
Players are pirates vying to capture the most merchant ships (and thereby the most gold) before the cards run out and the game ends. To do this they launch attacks against merchant ships by playing "pirate cards" of various numerical strengths hoping to outscore other pirate assaults on the same vessels. A pirate launching the greatest assault on a ship without being matched or superceded by an opponent's attack at the end of one round, captures the merchant ship and its cargo of gold. Each merchant ship has a different size cargo of gold, which add some variety to strategy making. Pirate Captains and Admiral cards give you some special powers to play with. Throw in a few awful pirate imitations ("AAAAARRGH MATEY!") and you have the makings of a fun-filled, keel haulin, parrot squawkin evening.
Its a fast moving game, and during our session we were able to get in about 5 games in about an hour. Its quickness appealed to most of our players. Of course, there is some luck involved, but this can be superceded by some well thought out strategy, card management, and some basic understanding of psychology.
The first game was primarily a learning session, understanding rules, scoring, etc. The second was more of a strategy-learning session. Here we came to grips with how the game should be played, testing out strategies, playing multiple ships, etc. By the third or fourth game we were well-tested pirate apprentices, ready for action on the high seas.
The fifth game was the keeper, and heres how it went:
First couple rounds were a build-up period; players simply drew from the deck hoping to get some good cards like the pirate captains, admiral, or the really big 8-gold merchant ship. Slowly, but surely, a few pea-sized merchant ships made their appearance. Some of these were attacked, some were ignored. Those ignored fell into the original owner's hands. Heck, why waste good pirates on a measly 2 golder?
Some of the early strategy here was to get those big pirate cards out in the open and wasted on the small ships. Of course by now we were all well educated in this maneuver so most of us didnt bite when offered the chance. We were saving the big guns for the real ships, like the 7 and 8 goldies.
As the draw deck diminished, the real action started to develop. The bigger 4 and 5 gold ships started making their appearance and were pounced upon mercilessly. Some players tossed out two ships sequentially, hoping to distract opponents on one ship, while winning the other un-molested. This tactic was good for drawing out good pirate cards like a magnet, leaving the opponent lacking during the real fight. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didnt.
Then the 6 and 7 ships were seen and attacked ruthlessly. And then--thar she blows! The huge 8 gold monster ship sailed over the horizon! Party time boys!
I threw out my 4 strength green pirate card, attacking dead on. The player to my left matched me with a gold colored 4-strength pirate card. The next player attacked with a three blue card. Would he last the entire round? The original ship owner then launched a purple 4 card on the beastie. Now a three way tie! I was up next, and I decided to raise the stakes. Out came the green Pirate Captain. Ah ha! Beat that! The gold player folded and drew a card from the deck. The blue player also conceded and drew from the deck. Yes! I was now savoring the sweet taste of victory! (The last pirate captain played always wins the combat.) Did the purple player have a card up his sleeve to counter my green captain? HE DID! A PURPLE PIRATE CAPTAIN! AAAARRGGHH! The big ship was his!
And thus ended an exiting session of Loot, the winner having been the player who took the 8-sized monster ship. The scores were: