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Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Not all treasure is silver and gold!!! rss

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Summary and Overview

To buy for $60 Dollah MSRP? That is the question.

For that price, you get the following Components:

38 custom dice -- very cool: different colors and engravings
5 cardboard ships -- each with different art work
50+ ship parts and upgrades -- both standard parts and about 25 unique
20+ sailors -- many of which are unique
2 scenario decks
35 gold coins -- metal tokens! super cool!!!
64 loot tokens/w bag.
Printed box
Rules booklet

Rattle Battle is a game created by Ignacy Trzewiczek, he of Robinson Crusoe and Imperial Settlers fame, amongst others. He has become a favorite in my gaming groups so this game has been anticipated. Rattle Battle is a pirate themed game in which you play a pirate seeking to pillage your way to fame and fortune. Your goal is to earn favor from the Pirate King, and the player with the most favor at the end of the game is the winner.

Components
As I show above, you get quite a bit with this game. The ship parts are all made of high quality card board and are made to interlock and layover. The point being to build yourself a legendary pirate galleon.



The dice look good with a large variety of colors. The solid colored player dice represent your captains fleet. The translucent dice represent merchants or navy vessels.



The box is a key component as well, as it is used to represent the sea, and it is where your dice are rolled. It is very sturdy and built to be durable as a major part of the game. Printed on the inside of the box top is an ocean/sea. This is where you roll your dice, with their resting place being a key mechanic in the game. Also printed there is the turn order, printed to blend in with the water, and it is very useful.



The rules are well done. The rules look good and have a ton of examples. The rule book is nearly the same size as the box, so the pictures are large, helping with setup and game play. The rules are relatively short as well, so I don’t think you will be overwhelmed looking at them. They seem quick to find what you need and they answered the few questions that we had. Personally, I like rules written like that. The rules for Galaxy Truckers come to mind as a comparison.

There is no board for the game. As I said, you use the box for the die rolling, which also couples as the game/play board. There are a bunch of cardboard markers to represent your location in port. This is where you buy upgrades, recruit sailors, and improve your ship so that you can improve your chances to succeed on later missions. Here, you buy your sailor and upgrade cards, many of which are unique. Each sailor adds a unique power to your fleet. Each upgrade card gives a power, and then has a corresponding upgrade token that you use to add to your galleon.



The coins are top notch. They are metal, engraved, and come in 2 varieties. I loved the coins.



Set Up
Set up does not take that long. My buddy that I primarily game with is Mr. Storage, so when he breaks out a game, it typically only takes a moment to set up. This is no different. The port takes the longest to set up, and by that I mean that it only takes a minute or two. From there, just grab your dice, pick your scenario, and get ready.

Playing the Game
Seeing all of these components, I was happy to sit, and excited to play.

The turn goes: gather dice, drop the dice (don't roll), NPC actions, your actions, battle, receive coins, grab your loot, repair, use sailors, stow your loot, then go to port. This seemed like a lot as I was listening, but it really wasn't.

Upon set up, you more or less go straight to sea. You decide the amount of ships you want to send and then the first player drops all of the dice.

The drop is a big moment for the game. The location of the dice is the main mechanic of the game, and your actions are all related to location of dice in the sea. This picture sort of shows the idea:


The NPC ships then take actions if they can. This is a function of the dice, meaning, if they have the proper side showing that can take the action, or they cannot. Some of these actions are very powerful, so the drop is huge in determining who is affected by the NPC actions. Typical actions include blasting the nearest ship, fleeing, or in some cases simply exploding as the ship is a trap.

Your actions in battle can be cannon fire, moving, boarding, or using some of the upgrades that you buy in Port. The action phase goes back and forth until all pirates pass and stop taking actions.

Range and movement is determined using the edge of either a sailor card or upgrade card. The short side is short range, and the long edge is long range.

Battle then ensues. This is pretty simple in that the higher die number showing wins.

Finally, you gain a favor coin per ship you sunk, and you gain loot from the loot bag. The amount of loot drawn is a function of the scenario card plus an extra for boarding an enemy vessel.

After battle you go to port where you spend your loot. Loot is currency you use to repair your ships. You also use loot to buy upgrades, sailors, and more favor coins. The favor coins are your victory points that your use to determine who wins the game. The upgrades and sailors are drawn from decks. You draw 3 and choose one of them.

So, my bottom line:
I think this game is a winner. I like the artwork a lot. Each ship is different and it feels good building your ship and recruiting sailors. Watching your ship grow is a lot of fun. The battle has some reasonably meaningful decisions to be made, with more coming as the game progresses and the upgrade cards add to your options. Also, the scenarios begin to force multiple battles, which will make your fleet and action choices even harder.

The scenarios have many tokens to add things to the sea. New components like islands are placed in the sea, so the drop becomes different and the sea components make the final resting spot of the dice even more important.

In port, sailors and upgrades are all powerful, so the choice of what to buy is a tough choice.

There is a bit of randomness in the drop mechanic. This will almost certainly make or break your game, potentially determining whether you win or lose. For me, I like dice, and I like random, so this is fine with me. If you don't like random, this may bother you some, but your actions do mitigate this quite a bit. Smart play will matter.

So, I like the box, I like the components, I like the rules, and I like the art work. You get good value out of the box. The large amount of sailors and upgrades give a lot of replay. I want to say there are about 20 of each, so that will make your ship builds very different each time around. The scenarios then give more replay again. I assume more scenarios will be coming, so that will only grow.

In the end, I liked playing the game. I like building things, I like rolling dice, I like a wide variety of unique powers, and I like making meaningful decisions. This game does all of that. Add the cutesy artwork, and this game becomes a real winner. I can't wait to play the head to head skirmish scenario. Finally, the MSRP of $60 is pretty good. As is typical in Portal games, the components are top notch. Support your local FLGS and go buy this game! You won't regret it.

Take this with a grain of salt as this is a review after 1 game with this.

Also, I pulled all the pictures from the BGG database here on the Rattle Battle Web site.

Thanks for reading, I hope this was useful!
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Marlene Thornstrom
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What's the average play time been for you? Do you think this would be a good game for kids (aged 7+)?
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Chris Funk
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I played a game with my 7 year old a couple nights ago. He can read very well, but I felt the need to explain what the cards did and let him choose what he wanted.

When it came strategy time in the drop, again, took a little longer than normal as I was pointing out his options and letting him pick what to do.

My games have averaged out about 1:30 with possibly being around 2:00 with 5 brand new players, so YMMV as for time as you get used to the game. I'd say, with experienced players, an hour - hour/half should be pretty normal.

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Tikatoy wrote:
What's the average play time been for you? Do you think this would be a good game for kids (aged 7+)?

Hey there. The game I most recently played took near 2 hours. That said, as you play more, I would imagine that your play time will decline closer to an hour and a half.

Kids age 7-10, I am not sure. My guess is going to be no.

1) The game runs over an hour so attention span will be an issue for sure.

2) There is enough strategy in the battle that it could be a little tough for the child to understand and predict what the NPC will do with actions and battle.

So, I think the length of play and the strategy in this game make it a tad too much for a child that young. My kids, aged 12 and 11 would not have handled this well at the age of 7-10. I doubt my 11 year old would handle it well now. Of course, that depends on the child, and every child is different.
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Can someone who knows or has played both games compare this to Dungeon Fighter, already?
I'd be interested in their assessment.

To me, Dungeon Fighter fell absolutely short, as the sillyness of the die throws (the fun part of the game) got counterweighted by the cooperative planning and harsh situation in the dungeon otherwise. I felt like the whole coop planning thing took a lot of atmosphere out of the game and always dialled back the "pace". The combination was an absolute no-go for me.

I feel like this game could go either way - the dice-throw and the randomness of it are quite quick and fun, as is grabbing loot and shopping for stuff, but the movement and battle aspect in the box could possibly drag it a bot, dialling back the "fun" and "pace".
I'm not biased against it, at all - I would rather LOVE to like it. And I also know that nothing will beat playing it (and finding out on my own). Still, an assessment would be interesting...


[Edit]
I totally forgot to pay credit where credit's due:
Great review! Thank you for your insights!
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Dennis Ku
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I picked up Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot at GenCon and got Ignacy to sign it (I had to throw that in this post). We played a 3-player Intro game one night and it took us over 2 hours. I love the silliness and great art of the game. It's nothing like any of my other games, so I like it, but if you're looking for a deep strategy game, this isn't it.

Watch the video of Ignacy introducing the game before GenCon and his enthusiasm for the gameplay will hook you if you are on the fence.
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Chris Funk
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Got mine signed, too. So great.
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S. R.
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Maybe I have to clarify a little.
I love silly and funny games. I also love strategic games of deep thought. However, it CAN be the mix that is absolutely not to my liking.

Each game needs to have (and has) a certain pace and/or atmosphere. And all games have that. But then there are some games that are a combination of two distinct parts, with their own atmosphere and pace each. This, to me, is the case in Dungeon Fighter. On the one hand, you have the silly, cheerful, FUN part of throwing the dice, under the cheer and/or ridicule of your friends. On the other hand you have the careful ressource-management coop strategy, deciding where to go, what to buy, and who should throw the dice first. It's like running a marathon made up of 200m sprints and 400m cooling-off walking distances in between. It did not congeal into one harmonic gaming experience for me...

And I fear that it could be the same with this game, although there is a lot less sillyness...
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Chris Funk
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It's also more strategy than dexterity and that makes them entirely different games in that fact alone.
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Sorry, I don't know dungeon fighter at all, so I cannot help.
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Alex Lam
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In my opinion the two games are nothing alike. The fun part of this game (to me) is the customization and seeing what the dice land as.

The "dice drop" part of this game literally takes half a second (or however long your Baron wants to shake the dice in his or her hands for...mwahahaha) and it's the "after" stuff that takes long.

I kind of felt the same as you the first time I was playing this game about the taking action phase and slowing the game down. However, after a few more turns I realized that player ships are pretty limited in how many actions you can take. There are only two - fire and move. As well, you're limited each set of adventures to how many times you can actually perform those actions before they are all exhausted. So let's say on the first adventure of three you decide to go hard and use all of your actions. Well, you get NO more for the rest of the two of three adventures (barring any special abilities). It seems to be a pretty big part of the game to know "when to go", "when to no-go".
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Marcelo Trein
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Well, the way the dice are "thrown" kind of scares me a bit.

I really enjoy Robinson Crusoe, but some of Ignacy's games have gameplay parts that are a little bit too crazy for me (for example, the real time picking of parts in Galaxy Trucker. That kind of draws me away from it, unless everyone agrees to do it in turn order... And that makes the game much longer) :/

Thank you for the review, though I think I will be skipping this one.
 
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mtrein wrote:

I really enjoy Robinson Crusoe, but some of Ignacy's games have gameplay parts that are a little bit too crazy for me (for example, the real time picking of parts in Galaxy Trucker. That kind of draws me away from it, unless everyone agrees to do it in turn order...

Galaxy Trucker is not Ignacy, that is Vlaada Chvatil! He is a great, great, designer in his own right!
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mtrein wrote:
Well, the way the dice are "thrown" kind of scares me a bit.

Honestly, this, for me, is one of the best parts of the game. I like some luck factor in my games.
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Thomas
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Is this game just a gateway/family game or is there enough decisions for "serious gamers"? Does it work ok with two?
 
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The ship building and port actions are a lot of fun. I think there are plenty of choices to make there. The battle, and "the drop," are where some people lose their fascination with this game.

I have only played it 2p, and I thought it was fine. I think that there is more potential for decision making in battle with more than 2 players.
 
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
Is this game just a gateway/family game or is there enough decisions for "serious gamers"? Does it work ok with two?

I think it fails to appeal to both of those audiences.

It's too rulesy and tricky to be a good gateway, but it's too frantic and random feeling to be a good gamer's game. I don't really know who it's for.
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Doug Moore
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it is on sale for $9 this week - is it worth $9 ?? hehe
 
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Chris Funk
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lorddog wrote:
it is on sale for $9 this week - is it worth $9 ?? hehe

link?
 
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Doug Moore
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https://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/218410 (base)

https://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/252019 (base + expansion)
 
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yes!
 
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