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Subject: So promising, so disappointing rss

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Christopher Floyd
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Okay, I love pirates. I think they're a great gaming theme. So I bought this game thinking it might be pretty good (FFG has a moderately good track record). Once I read the rules, I was very intrigued. The mechanics, on paper, looked fantastic: bidding with two different resources, gaining of special abilities that change hands as the game progresses, and just so much piratey goodness. I was ready to declare this the innovative bidding game that New England was supposed to be, but isn't.

Ouch. What a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot that works here. The rum/doubloon mechanic works fine, for example. But the game reads like it's going to be straightforward and easy to grasp. We got thrown a lot of weird curveballs while playing. For example, one of the abilities that is bidded on is the "spyglass" which makes you the person who breaks ties. One player, who controls the pilot, also chooses one of two islands to sail to each turn. On the islands, players controlling some of the crewmembers gain or lose resources. Now, the player with the spyglass decides who controls each crewmember in the case of a tie. But when resolving the island effects, he can choose differently than he chose for actual control. Also, island effects take place before you've even really resolved control of the last crewmember (first mate). Granted, nothing really can change before then, but feels awkward. It seems like the game ran into some obstacles when it tried to work out the timing of all the phases of the game and the abilities.

Other dubious elements: gaining and losing doubloons, which are your primary source of buying power. You start with 8, but could theoretically lose up to three or four of those if things turn against you. Also, cutlasses as the only resource to win. Ultimately, the gunner is the road to victory; he must be.

The final disappointment: This is a bidding game. There are no screens for hiding your unbidded resources!! Which makes figuring out bids very easy. Clearly, players are expected to supply their own screens or keep all their stuff in their lap or their hands. Very awkward. What an oversight. Can screens have been so expensive to include? I can't imagine they did playtesting without them.

Hey, I still really want to like this game. And it actually feels to me like it might be made better my just some small rules changes to smooth out the wrinkles. I still think the fundamentals are fantastic in theory. Can we ask for a second edition so soon after the first?
 
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Christopher Floyd
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Re:So promising, so disappointing
Huh. Maybe it's just me. I have seen a smattering of reviews out there for this game, both good and not-so-good, and not one has mentioned the lack of screens, which I find to be seriously debilitating on the gameplay out of the box. Is it just me? What do other people do with the stuff they AREN'T bidding with on a given round?
 
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Leiv Hodne
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Re:So promising, so disappointing
Nightgaunt (#27236),

I thought the game had some flaws (primarily the dominance of the gunner), but I didn't find the lack of screens to be any problem, and I don't think anyone else did, either. The amount of tokens one has is small enough that it's simple to hold your bid in one hand and your stash in the other, IMHO.
 
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Leiv Hodne
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Re:So promising, so disappointing
Findegil wrote:
I don't think anyone else did, either.


Um...meaning, of course, "anyone else I played with".
 
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Francesco Isabella
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Re:So promising, so disappointing
well, actually hiding rum might be useful sometimes; you can easily keep track of dobloons, but after a few rounds of rum storing keeping hidden your bottles might give you a significant edge.
 
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