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Subject: Father and Son Review of Sword and Skull rss

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Here is a review written by my son followed by a few comments by his dad.

The Pirate-King has stolen the strongest ship in the Royal Navy; a large reward has been offered for its recovery. To recover it you must defeat either defeat the dreaded Pirate-King in mortal combat or bribe him with a vast sum of gold. To accomplish this for you, you have a noble officer from the Royal Navy and a pirate from the Queen’s dungeons.

Sword and Skull is a very similar game to Talisman; players move characters around the rectangular board fighting enemies, collecting followers (crew) and gaining powerful objects until they are strong enough to defeat or bribe the Pirate-King. Like Talisman there is a more dangerous, but more potent inner region where the Pirate-King lives. Differences to Talisman are that each space is home to a different type of card. For example, objects can be obtained only at the trading post. Also it is impossible to cease life in Sword and Skull.

The aesthetics of Sword and Skull are disappointing. The board mostly lacks colour with exception of a totally orange inner region and a few highlighted spaces. The colours on the board contrast each other too much.

Whilst being similar to Talisman, Sword and Skull is very much a younger kid’s game. The mechanics are basic, the game has much luck and it is hard to become upset over a game of Sword and Skull. For older players, Sword and Skull is very dull since they cannot get into the theme.

In conclusion, Sword and Skull is best suited to younger children who aren’t ready for the complications of Talisman.

Theme: 3/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Aesthetics: 3/10
Rules: 7/10
Overall: 5/10

A few comments by father

Sword and Skull is better thought of as a family board game in the tradition of Monopoly and Philately than as a lite role playing game. You go round the board collecting objects, money and followers in order to build up strength. Every time you go round the board, you get money in the spirit of Monopoly. The amount obtained depends on which followers you have. Objects are often auctioned and getting your bids right is an important part of winning.

There being two characters gives you more flexibility but they only move clockwise. You can judge which one moves to a more advantageous space – unless you roll doubles in which case they both move and they may both be moving to somewhere awful.

Sword and Skull is a worthwhile purchase if you want to move your younger children onto a different sort of themed board game. It also has the virtue of being fairly fast to play taking around 60 minutes.
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