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Subject: FMW Reviews #32: Wharfside - Fish, Now with Market Shares rss

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Antonio Guerra Gerdel
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I would call it a trilogy at this point. First, we have the amazing Fleet, proving that fishing can be fun with fun mechanics combined. Then we have the expansion to the game, Arctic Bounty. With this expansion, it allows for much more cards to be added to the game as well as more players to join in on the fun of, well, more fishing! Now, we take it to a different level within this "trilogy". I say that loosely because who knows if we'll get more Fleet games in the future so let's keep it at that. Yes, what happens once you capture these fish? Where do all those crabs go once you captured them? Well, this game answers these questions!

Fleet Wharfside, or just commonly called Wharfside, is a sequel to both Fleet and Arctic Bounty. With the first two games, you fish and gain victory points for however many crates of fish you gained on your ships. But now, we head over to the wharf in hopes of selling these goodies to the local markets and try to rake in victory points in that sense. What did I think of this game? Well, it was a winner, in fact, a bigger winner then I expected!

Long John Silver: Fishing fish with fishes as long as I can remember.



Wharfside
Eagle-Gryphon Games
Released: 2015
Set Collection/Hand Management
2-4 Players
~20-30 Minutes


Components

Once again, the Fleet series has always produced some great components but in the case for Wharfside, it's just cards. Nothing but cards because it's a bit more lighter in terms of gameplay when compared to Fleet. And the box is much, much smaller. So, let's see what's in the box!

72 Good Cards - Ah yes, the goods of Fleet. These are just as beautiful as it is with the original, now with added feel to them! You have your Shrimp, Oyster, Tuna, Swordfish, Lobster and King Crab.
20 Contracts - The other potatoes of the game, these allow you to gain victory points once you complete them.
4 Captains - These are given to players at the beginning of the game and a little handy guide for you in terms of fishes and stuff. Plus, they each have a special bonus when getting a certain type of fish.
7 Trophy Cards - Think of these cards as achievements when completing certain contracts throughout the game.
4 Buildings - These are just buildings that give players victory points at the end of the game.
4 Market Cards - The market cards allows for players to see what each contract and building is going to cost them in resources they gather in the wharf.

And that's pretty much the components of the game. The cards feel really, really nice in your hands. Everything looks beautiful and everything just shines because of that. A+ work here with the components. And now, let us begin the catch of the day!!!

Gameplay

Wharfside takes place over a series of turns, with players trying to complete either any combination of 5 contracts or five buildings or any mix between the two. What players are doing is getting these contracts and then completing them in order to gain victory points. At no time can you have more then 3 open contracts face up so you can't take anymore until you complete them. Why you ask? Well, so long as these contracts are still face up, you can perform special actions every time you do something within the game. A player as two main actions they can perform in the game.

Use the Wharf

Players can go to the wharf and try their hand on getting some more resources and using their contract's special abilities to help them get the advantage. There's a few things players can do on this action so let's go over them.

Allocate one or two goods to Contracts - Every contract has a certain amount of goods on them and here, a player can place one or two goods from their hand under these contracts. You can also put these goods on different contracts so you don't have to put both goods on a single contract.
Complete Contracts - Once you have all the goods under a contract that completes it, you just flip the contract over and discard all the goods from it.
Store King Crab Goods - King Crab once again shows why they're the king. You can take one King Crab from your hand and put it under your captain card, scoring a victory point at the end of the game.

Once you completed these steps, the last thing a player must do whenever they take the wharf action is to gain some goods from the wharf itself. We have two sides you can pick from, the North and the South. You can take two goods from either side but you can't take one good from the North and one good from the South, they both have to be in the same location. Once you do that, your turn ends. If you decide to take this action when you start your turn, it will end your turn. Just remember that a player has a hand limit of 6 good cards so be careful not to go over.

Using the Market

The other thing a player can do is head towards the market to sell their goods in order to gain new contracts or get new buildings. The key thing here is that once you take this action, you can't get the two goods if you take the wharf action so keep that in mind if your low on goods.

Purchase a Contract or Building - In this step you look at the market and see if there's anything you can buy. Should you decide to buy a contract, you pay the goods that's shown above the contract/building with the market cards. How this works is simple. You see above the card and see a number of goods you need to get rid of in order to get that contract/building. Say a contract is worth two shrimp. You can either pay with two shrimp, or a better two of a kind that's higher then the shrimp, like two oysters or two lobsters. And, that goes above that if you have the goods for them. So think poker but with fish. If a contract has three King Crab price point, it's either that or a four of a kind of anything since it beats a three of a kind. Once you get used to this, you will understand this.

Once you do buy a contract, you move everything down and replace that open space with a new contract and now look at the top left hand corner of the contract that was revealed. You then see a number and that number rotates the market card to reflect a new price of getting that contract. This is the fun part of the game because now, contracts/buildings will now cost differently, allowing for players to think of new ways to get these contracts. Speaking of contracts, there is a different variety of contract bonuses that you can have.

Oyster/Shrimp - These goods allows you to turn these goods into Wilds, allowing you to use them to buy new contracts/buildings and allocating them to contracts as well!
Declaring a Contract - What this allows you to do is declare any open contract you have and draw a good from the deck. If that good matches on the contract, it gets allocated to that contract.
Completing Contract - When completing these contracts, you can take one good from that contract and put it back into your hand.
Gain Contracts - When completing these contracts, you draw the top card from the contract deck and place it face up in your area, allowing you to save on goods!
Drawing Goods - You can draw a single good card from the deck and if it matches any that is in either the North or South wharf, you get to keep it!
Purchasing Contracts/Buildings - You can take any one face up good from the wharfs before planning to buy something.

And that's the game in a nutshell! The game continues as players try to complete contracts and buildings. Once a player builds/completes their 5th contract or building, players get one more turn to complete everything and you add up all the victory points. Plus, you gain more victory points for your captain bonus, meaning that whatever good they specialize in, you get more victory points for each good is on your completed contracts. Now add up the points and whoever has the most victory points is the winner!

Fish, Now with Market Shares

I'm just going to go out and say that my group really loves this game. This is a much quicker game then Fleet itself depending on how you see the game. I love how simple and straightforward this game is compared to Fleet. This is a lighter game and Fleet was pretty light if you think about it. My girlfriend really enjoys this game a lot more then Fleet because it's much more easy on the mind when it comes to gameplay. While I love Fleet, I really love Wharfside a ton and I think that if anyone should play this game, it would be everyone. It's simple and straightforward and once you learn what you can do, the game can really only take a half an hour. A great filler that could replace other fillers if you like the theme of the game. Overall, I think my group really likes this game and we are happy that such a game is this much fun for something shorter then most filler games.

Final Verdict

For what this little game is worth, it packs a huge punch. While this is the third game of the series, Wharfside is so different from Fleet and Arctic Bounty that it's really a great game in it's own right. The filler here is that it's a quick game and becomes quicker once everyone understands what you can do in the game. If this is the final game within the Fleet series, then I can see this as another great game to finish our Fleet adventure. However and most likely, if there's another Fleet game waiting in the shadows, then you can bet that I'll play that! Fleet is a wonderful game series and with each game, it gets better and better. With Fleet and Arctic Bounty, it adds more flavor. With Wharfside, it just makes a game much more fun and quicker as well.

Overall, I give Wharfside a solid nine and a half out of ten, showing that filler games come in different shapes and sizes, but this one is a huge, huge keeper and can't wait to see what the future holds from Fleet.

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Matt Riddle
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Wow! Thank you for the review and glad you like it!
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Fullmetalwwant wrote:
This is a lighter game and Fleet was pretty light if you think about it.
I agree. Fleet is already a bit too light for my taste, so I doubt, I'd enjoy Wharfside.

Thanks for the review!
 
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