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Subject: Get Hooked: Strategy Review rss

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Michael Sosa
United States
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I will break him.
I have now played this game more times than I care to admit, mainly due to its attractiveness to kids. While luck determines about 50% of the result, there is room for strategy and card manipulation, so that the more skilled player will win more often. Here then are tips on how to win.

Victory in Get Hooked is won by two methods: Scoring 30 points or catching three trophy fish. If playing with more than 3 players then some players will share boats and work as a team. The single fishermen have their victory conditions reduced to 20 points or two trophy fish. My experience has been that the two man crew has a distinct advantage over everyone else in a 4 player game due to the number of cards available and ability to fish twice, so that the other two players must cooperate in targeting this team if they are to have a chance of success.

So which victory condition is more likely? I’ve found that trophy wins in 2 player games are about 40%, while in 3 player games it is perhaps 30%, as with three players there is more aggressive targeting.

Completing turns: A house rule I utilize is that the game is not over on a point victory until everyone has completed an equal number of turns, thus allowing other players later in the turn order to score a higher number of points. This seems only fair, as why should the first player have an unearned advantage? With a trophy fish victory we do accept it as an immediate win.

Fishing locations and associated fish:
(number in parenthesis = number of fish in the deck) (Bullheads are not listed since they can be caught anywhere)

Dam: 2 pt Perch (10) , 3 pt Trout (8). Ideal Lure: Fly

Only come here to catch Trout.This is a good candidate spot to send your opponent with Broken Anchor.

Deep: 3-8 pt Trophy fish (6), 1 pt Bullheads (12), 10 pt Muskie(1). Ideal lure: Jig or Spoon

The most favorable fishing spot and the place you should head first if you start with a trophy fish in your hand and a bait fish such as a bullhead. The reasoning is thus: you want to catch trophy fish as quickly as you draw them (unless you are in a position to quickly win by points) but you need to have at least one other preferrable low point fish in your stringer to minimize the chances of cards targeting your higher value fish for removal (Broken Stringer, Devious Diver, and in the case of multiple high point fish, Limit). You should also move to this area on those rare occasions you have nothing to good catch (no fish 3 points or higher- exception if you have at least three 2 point Perch/Sunfish and The Reeds is available).

If your opponent has caught two trophy fish it becomes important for you to occupy The Deep and prevent your opponent from winning, unless you are close to winning on points yourself. Occupying this zone until you draw a card combo to help yourself or hurt your opponent, or you draw your own trophy fish, is a good defensive strategy in such a situation. Once you draw a defensive cards such as New Day or Broken Anchor (which your opponent might play to get you out of here), you can venture out to fish and hopefully win. You can always catch Bullheads meanwhile, and you might get lucky and draw the 10 point Muskie, or card combos that will allow you to catch other fish from this location (such as Beginner’s Luck, Fish Tale, etc.).

A note about the Muskie: try to catch this fish when you will as a result win by points, thus minimizing the chance of losing it to offensive Action cards. Of course if you hold it in your hand you might still lose through the play of any one of three action cards (The Reel Steal, New Day, Fish Tracker), so it bears to keep in mind whether those cards have been played.

Drop Off: 7pt Walleye (3). Ideal lure: Jig

This is not a useful spot to loiter in, as there are only 3 Walleyes in the deck. Of course the longer none are fished the higher the probability you will draw one or that your opponents already have. This spot is useful to bluff your opponents into thinking you will catch a 7pt fish, perhaps leading them to waste an action card on you.

Reeds: 2 pt Perch (10) or Sunfish (10). Ideal lure: Worms

This location is useful as the best place to catch both Perch and Sunfish, of which there are 20 in the deck- the most of any fish, with the worm lure. But because these fish are only worth 2 pts move here only when you have at least three Perch and or Sunfish to catch and hopefully either Hot Spot or Big Net (cards that allow you to catch a number of them at the same time). Sometimes you have no choice but to go here and catch one fish at a time for a few turns, but move out as soon as you get any other better fish

River Mouth: 2pt Sunfish (10), 3 pt Trout (8). Ideal lure: Fly

Only come here to catch Trout. This is a good spot to send your opponent with Broken Anchor.

Weed Bed: 2pt Perch (10), 5 pt Northen Pike (5). Ideal lure: Spoon

Only move here to catch Northern Pike. A useful spot to loiter when you don’t have any fish to catch.

Lily Pads: 2pt Sunfish (10), 5pt Bass (5). Ideal lure: Spinner

Only move here to catch Bass. A useful spot to loiter when you don’t have any fish to catch.

Action Cards

General suggestions: There are ideal times to play each action card. Don’t waste them! It is ok to not play any for several turns, although do not accumulate too many cards in your hand lest your opponent be tempted to play The Reel Steal (switch hands) or New Day (discard all and draw 5 cards).

Bait and Switch: One of the most powerful cards in the deck. Retrieve three cards with it (wait until there are three good cards to retrieve or you have junk in your hand). Ideally used to retrieve Fishing Memories for discard pile manipulation cycle.

Broken Anchor: Use this card to forcefully move your opponent’s boat from a location you wish to occupy, or if he/she is close to winning, from any location once he/she has the correct lure for the location (thus communicating his intent to catch a fish immediately on his next turn at that location). The best place to send your opponent’s boat with this card is either The Dam / River Mouth or The Reeds depending on how many Trout vs. Perch/Sunfish have been played. There are only 8 Trout but they are worth 3pts vs. 20 Perch /Sunfish worth 2 pts each. I typically prefer to send them to the Reeds. Note:You cannot send your opponent’s boat to The Dock because it is not a “fishing spot.”

Broken Stringer: Best played when your opponent has few fish, specially if they have only large fish. Also useful when they reach 30 pts or just caught the Muskie. (I onced picked Muskie out of three possible fish on the stringer - three times in a row!- I was giving my little opponent multiple chances).

Clogged Engine: Best used after your opponent has caught a fish, specially after they change their lure from one that is ideal for that fishing spot.

Devious Diver: An interesting card, here is how I interpret it: you must take from your opponent a fish immediately higher than the one you give him. Thus if you trade a Bullhead (1 pt) and your opponent has a Trout (3 pt) and a Walleye (7 pt) you can only take the Trout. Because of this card (and Broken Stringer) you should avoid having a bunch of large fish and no small ones!

Fishing Guide: One of the best cards, specially effective when that catch will trigger a win.

Fishing Memories: Save this card until you can use it to withdraw something that will give you a decided edge or, if your opponent is close to winning, will slow him down. Note that this card can be used to extract Bait and Switch (which allows you to retrieve 3 cards from the discard pile) for a powerful discard pile manipulation combo.

Fish Tracker: A card that is best used when your opponent moves to The Deep.

High and Dry: The best defensive card. Retrieve it from the discard pile when possible. Use it when your opponent has the ideal lure for the fish spot he occupies.

Hot Spot: Best used at The Reeds with the worm lure on, allowing you to catch both Perch and Sunfish.

Jet Skier: Wait for them to have the correct lure for their fishing location before playing.

Jumping Ship: Save this card for when you really need it, i.e. you have only one good fish to catch and your opponent is occupying the spot.

Limit: Save to use on Bass, Northern Pike, or Walleye.

Lunch Time: Best time to play this card is on the turn that you reach 30+ points, eliminating nasty action card plays against you.

Master Angler: Wait until you can play at least 3 useful action cards. If you are in possession of the Fishing Memories - Bait and Switch combo, Master Angler allows you many action card plays indeed.

New Day: Save this card to use on yourself when your hand offers few prospects. Also useful when your opponent is close to winning and just moved to The Deep (communicating intent to catch something important) or is holding too many cards (8+). Can be used to break the Fishing Memories - Bait and Switch discard manipulation combo.

School of Fish: wait until you have at least 3 Bullheads.

Snag: Play this when your opponent moves to a spot and does not have the ideal lure on.

Snapped Line: Play this when your opponent moves to a spot and has the ideal lure on.

The Reel Steal: For best effect, wait for your opponent to move to The Deep before changing hands. Can backfire though depending on what kind of action cards you are holding. This action card is best used against an opponent who has more cards than you and you have a poor hand.


Get Hooked is a fun family game, teaching basic strategy and card manipulation. The theme is attractive to kids.
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