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Linda B
United States
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Santy Anno is a pirate-themed party game. The box says it can be played with 3-8 players, but I recommend eight players for maximum chaos, confusion, and fun. To start, eight cards with pirate ships on them are placed evenly around the table. (Use a round table for best results.) Each player chooses a ship at random to start with and stands behind that ship. Each player then chooses a pirate and receives a corresponding pirate card and a pirate token. The pirate card is placed to the left of the ship and the token is kept in the player’s hand. In the center of the table is a spot for placing the pirate tokens and a stack of rules cards.

Play starts by dealing out five rules cards, then the cards are turned over starting with the last card dealt. The first card dealt is the first rule that the players must follow, then the second dealt is the second rule, and so on. The rules tell you which ship you should go to. For instance, the first card may tell you to go to the other ship with the same hull color as your current ship. Then from that ship, you must move to the ship with the same colored nametag, and so on. When you have followed all the rules and are at your last ship, you place your token on the token card, making a stack of tokens with the first player on the bottom. When everyone has placed their token, the stack is turned over, and the player’s moves are checked to be sure that they are at the correct ship. The first correct player is awarded 5 points, the second is awarded 4 points, and so on. There are five rounds like this, and each round the number of rules you must follow goes up by one, so on the final round you must follow nine rules. At the end of the five rounds the player with the most points is the winner.

This is a fun party game. There was lots of laughter and jostling for position, and the artwork on the cards and tokens is amusing and colorful. On the downside, players either seem to get it, or they don’t get it. Our winner was in first or second place all five times, while other players got no points at all and found it frustrating. There was some trouble getting to the ships that you needed. Most people would stand in one place and do the movements in their head by pointing and muttering to themselves, then make a mad dash to their final ship and slam down their token. Some had trouble seeing the details, and had to go to each ship in turn, which made it harder for them. There was also some trouble with placing the tokens. People were rushing to put their token down and would knock the stack of tokens over, but that was just a small glitch. This is a physical game, good for getting the blood flowing after a long session of strategy games, and good for working off those Cheetos.

Another downside is that checking the player’s moves to be sure they are correct can be tedious. I recommend stopping the checks after the last point has been awarded, if there are still players that haven’t been checked. Just make sure everyone is assigned to a new starting ship and start the next round.

Overall, Santy Anno is a good game that is fun to play for a filler game or a party game. It takes about 30 min to play all five rounds. This would be a good game for kids.

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