As always with these reviews, I want to answer the question “Should I play Tsuro of the Seas with my kids?”.
Review originally posted here: http://beyondsettlers.com/2014/05/22/playing-tsuro-of-the-se...
THE SHORT VERSION
Just like King of Tokyo, and Castle Panic, Tsuro of the Seas fits right in my wheelhouse of games to play with my kids (4 and 5). It has:
* No required modification of rules.
* No reading required – There is not a single word to be read (other than the rules, which I explain to them, of course).
*Luck that comes from dice rolling – Too much strategy and they get frustrated. Fortunately, they don’t really understand that dice rolling makes it high on luck, but they don’t seem to be bothered by that either.
*Short playtime – You know kids, they get bored easily.
Although it’s a heavily “luck” weighted game because of the dice rolling, that works perfectly with my kids. They love rolling the dice, figuring out if they “woke the dragons”, and then trying to get away.
It plays in about 20-25 minutes when the three of us play together, so sometimes we can even get two games in.
THE LONG VERSION
Manipulating the Pieces
While the pieces themselves are not difficult to manipulate–the wake boards are thick pieces of cardboard about 4cm on each side, and the ships are heavy plastic and easy to pick up–keeping the pieces on the right spot on the board can be difficult.
See those light little lines going through the entire board? Those are the markers for the squares where your wake pieces and the dragons go. I’ve found that both of my kids have difficulty moving pieces (and dragons are moved on many turns) and knowing when they have properly placed a piece inside one of those squares. With all of the imagery on the board, they don’t seem to grasp really well where those boundaries are. I find myself frequently moving the pieces a few inches each way to make sure they are in the right spot (and I’m generally not that OCD).
All you have to keep track of is where the dragons are and make sure you stay away from them. Easy peasy. No health, points, coins, cards, or special powers to worry about. Just the way my kids like it!
You start your turn by rolling two dice. If you roll a 6, 7, or 8, you wake the dragons. That means one more dice roll to see how they move. After that (or if you roll any other number) you place your “wake board” to travel a bit farther in the ocean. Once you’ve placed that piece it goes on to the next player’s turn.
While Castle Panic and King of Tokyo either required or could benefit from some modifications, none are necessary in Tsuro of the Seas. Playtime is already short. There are no complex elements to remove, no reading is required. In fact, there aren’t any elements that you could remove even if you wanted to. This game is great the way it is, even for 4 and 5 year olds. We play with no modifications.
That being said, I watched the Table Top episode on Tsuro of the Seas and they did include one modification. If a player got out, they could still role the dice and wake the dragons. This let the “out” player still participate, and would help speed up the game a bit. While I don’t think it’s necessary, if you’ve got a kid that doesn’t like sitting around for a game to finish, this can keep them engaged even though their ship was eaten.
While not the Orcs and Goblins of Castle Panic, some more sensitive kids might think the dragon pieces are a bit scary. My kids don’t think twice, and I doubt yours would either, but dragons are dragons so you never know. The picture below shows the 5 different dragon types.
Being a fairly simple game, there aren’t a lot of elements that would be educational, but you must do simple addition when getting the dice count. This is a bit simple for my 5 year old daughter who can easily add up to 6+6, but for my 4 year old son, he still has to work just a bit to do that addition quickly, so it’s good practice for him.
We get this game to the table pretty frequently as we don’t have to modify any rules, and it’s short enough that sometimes we can get two games in. This is great because since it isn’t a cooperative game it gives the opportunity for more than one child to win. Being based on the luck of the dice is also a plus, as that really cuts down on the mental capacity required. If the kids are a bit wired we can still play this, because less concentration is required (they usually need to focus a bit more for King of Tokyo or Castle Panic).
The only downside is the fact that the pieces generally end up everywhere on the board. I’m always having to straighten things out. All things considered, that’s a small price to pay to spend time playing games with my kids.
Rating: Highly Recommended
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I don't have experience with the Tsuro line...
1) Do you need Tsuro to play Tsuro Of The Seas? Is this an expansion?
2) Do you need experience playing Tsuro to understand Tsuro Of The Seas?
I have a 9 and 11 year old and want to try this...
Fantastic review! I think you perfectly captured the game. Just as a cool FYI, the rule about eliminated players continuing to roll for Daikaiju movement is so awesome and helps keep people engaged, that it will be included as an official rule starting with the next run of the game.
As to your questions, John, this game is not an expansion to the original Tsuro, but rather a continuation of the line, and as such does not require the original game. You also don't need any previous experience with the original game to play this one.
I have both games and
1. No. Tsuro of the Seas is a stand alone game
2. No. Tsuro is a much simpler game than Tsuro of the Seas, but both games can easily be picked up by kids... both are fun games