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Port Royal: Unterwegs!» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Port Royal Unterwegs!: A review and a comparison to Port Royal rss

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Linda Stenström
Finland
Siuntio
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Port Royal Unterwegs! is a card game with a push your luck element for 2-4 players, where the goal is to have the most victory points at game end. The game is short, for two seasoned players it took only about ten minutes, and I don't think that it should take much more than 30 minutes even with rules explanation.

The game consists of a deck of 60 cards. Most of the cards depict either persons or ships. There are four different kinds of persons in this version of the game: Wholesalers, Sailors, Pirates and Passengers. All persons give you victory points. Some of them also have an additional ability. The ships come in five different colors. The ships give you coins during the game. In the deck are also 3 tax increase cards. On the back side of the cards is a picture of a coin. Every time a player receives coins, they take that many cards from the draw pile and put them face down (coin side up) in front of them.

On your turn you draw cards from the draw deck one by one and place them face up on the table to form a harbor area. After each card you can decide whether you want to stop or to draw more cards. You can draw as many cards as you like, but if you draw a second ship of a color that is already in the harbor, you have to discard all the cards from the harbor and forfeit the rest of your turn. If you decide to stop drawing cards before that happens, you get to go on to the trade & hire phase of your turn. In this phase you get to choose a certain amount of cards from the harbor, depending on how many different colored ships there are in the harbor. The more different colors, the more cards you get to take. So you want to draw many cards to the harbor in order to be able to choose more cards, but if you get too greedy you might end up with nothing. If you choose a ship card, you get the amount of coins depicted on the card, and then you discard the ship. If you choose a person card you have to pay its cost, and then you place the person card in front of you. When you have chosen your card(s), all other players get a chance to choose one of the cards left in the harbor, but if they do, they have to pay you one coin as compensation. After all players have had a chance to choose cards, the rest of the cards are discarded and the next player takes their turn. If a tax increase card is drawn, players with 9 or more coins discard down to 8 coins, and the player with the least victory points gets one coin. The tax increase card is then discarded and the game continues.

You get victory points by hiring persons, and when a player has 8 or more victory points on their person cards, the current game round is played to its completion so that all players get the same amount of game turns. Then the game ends and the winner is the player who has the most victory points.

In addition to giving players victory points, some of the persons also grant the player special abilities. The passengers do not have a special ability, the just give victory points. The wholesalers let you put ships of a certain color under the person card, and the ships are then worth a victory point each. The sailors and pirates give you swords which can let you repel ships. Most of the ship cards have a certain sword value, and if you have an equal or greater number of swords on your person cards, you can discard a ship card instead of putting it in the harbor. Some ship cards have a skull symbol instead, and those can't be repelled.

Port Royal Unterwegs! is marketed as a stripped down sequel to Port Royal, and that is exactly what it is. So what are the differences?

Players familiar with Port Royal might have noticed that game play is exactly the same. But Unterwegs! is shorter, you play to 8 victory points whereas in Port Royal you play to 12 VP. The deck is also smaller in Unterwegs!, although that doesn't really affect game play other than that you have to reshuffle the discard pile all the time. The biggest difference are the person cards. In Port Royal there are many more kinds of persons, some with more complex abilities. Also there are no expedition cards in Unterwegs! It might not sound like a big difference, but it actually affects the game. I Port Royal you have to choose which persons to hire, do you want lots of persons with abilities that help you take more coins and cards, or maybe you want to concentrate on the person cards that help you fulfill the expeditions? I felt that in Unterwegs! the focus is more on the push your luck element, you just want to be able to get as many cards as possible every turn. When it comes to hiring persons, you probably end up hiring the person with the highest amount of victory points you can afford.

I rated Port Royal Unterwegs! a 6. I didn't dislike it, but since I have played the original Port Royal, I thought this version was a little too bland. But I think Unterwegs! might work very well with new players or children. And since you can use some of the cards from Unterwegs to expand Port Royal, we will probably do that.
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David Luchetti
United States
Manchester
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I totally agree. This lacks the tension, excitement and engine-buildings aspects of Port Royal
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Fridjof B
Norway
Tranby
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Port Royal is not that complicated to begin with, so I don't really get it with Port Royal: Unterwegs! as a stand-alone.
Personally I bought it solely for the new cards to add to the base game; the Wholesaler-cards being the most interesting ones.
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Manuel Ingeland
Sweden
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...and note the ridiculously big box of the travel version!
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Carsten
Germany
Schkeuditz
Sachsen
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"The only thing you are going to see, is the burning hand of overdue justice." - Lobster Johnson
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“There are only three forms of high art: the symphony, the illustrated children's book and the board game.” - Saga
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greetingsfrombergen wrote:
Port Royal is not that complicated to begin with, so I don't really get it with Port Royal: Unterwegs! as a stand-alone.
Personally I bought it solely for the new cards to add to the base game; the Wholesaler-cards being the most interesting ones.

I did exactly the same.

I had to take the cards from the base game, because I wanted to lend it to a coworker. Because I had separated the decks I thought I give it a try with my 5 year old girl. The original game was a bit too much and too long for her. Unterwegs was quite right to play with her and it was fun. I hadn't expected that.
I still enjoy the original with the first expansion more, but I see now that it has its niche.
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Flavio Sousa
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The original Port Royal is too complicated for my students, Port Royal Unterwegs! seems perfect. Thank you for sharing your review and comments.
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Matthias Mahr
Austria
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I agree with the two most recent posts, which was stated as well in the last paragraph of the review. I used Unterwegs! as an intro game for a child, who was slightly too young to grasp the whole game all at once, and moved to the regular PR with him quite soon afterwards. I also play this a lot with a colleague at work, who was only used to trick taking and a few other traditional games, whom I initially failed teaching full PR. To date, I played 19 games of Unterwegs! with him, and I think it starts to klick with him. He likes it, but still would be uncomfortable with the full game. I think, after maybe a dozen more games we might try again. While there is sure no use to play Unterwegs! on it's own with other gamers, it sure suits it's purpose with non-gamers.
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Ltn Koen
France
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Blue_rose wrote:
The deck is also smaller in Unterwegs!, although that doesn't really affect game play other than that you have to reshuffle the discard pile all the time.
In my experience, we need to reshuffle many more times in regular Port Royal than in Unterwegs. The game is much shorter with Unterwegs, because we only go to 8 points, and because the Wholesalers can score a great amount of points very quickly. This results in fewer shuffles, even though the deck is smaller.

I agree that Unterwegs might seem a bit bland to someone who thinks Port Royal is already light enough. In my opinion Unterwegs is well suited with very young children, or with anyone when the time frame is too short for a full game of Port Royal. The bgg page indicates a playing time of "15-30 minutes", but I find it plays much, much quicker than that.
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