Since it seems the rules for this game are only available in German, I hope this review will also serve as a rules translation.
Gezanke auf der Planke is a game for 2-4 players, where the goal is to keep your own pirates on the ship while you try to push the other players' pirates into the shark's mouth.
The pirates are not pushing each other overboard just for the fun of it. No, today it's time for bath. But pirates don't like to wash themselves, and besides, there are sharks in the sea. Therefor, the pirates are struggling to stay on board by pushing the others into the sea. The last one on board won't have to take a bath, and is the winner.
1 game board with a ship, a shark and a compass rose
16 pirates in 4 colors
4 colored stones
1 cloth bag
Setting up the game
The game board is placed on the open box. The pirates are placed on the plank according to the picture in the rulebook. The two first spaces (closest to the shark) are left empty, then comes a blue pirate, then a green, a red, a yellow, a blue and so on.
The four stones are put in the cloth bag. Then all players draw one stone each from the bag. The colors of the stones determine the player colors. Player colors are kept secret, and any stones left in the bag should remain there unrevealed.
How to play the game
The youngest player begins and the game proceeds in clockwise order. The goal is to move the pirates in order to be be the last player with pirates still on board.
The turn consists of two steps:
1. The player spins the compass rose and carries out one of the actions the swords are pointing at.
2. The player must then choose a group of pirates on the plank and push all pirates in it one space forwards. A group is an uninterrupted row of pirates. In the beginning of the game all pirates are in the same group. Sometimes a single pirate can form a group.
If a player pushes the first group of pirates on the plank, and there is no empty space in front of the pirates, the first pirate will fall into the shark's mouth.
When only one pirate is left on the plank the game ends. All players reveal their stones, and the one whose pirate is on the plank, is the winner.
A player does not stop playing even if all his pirates have fallen into the sea, and he does not tell the other players the he has no pirates left on board.
By 2 or 3 players it is possible that the pirate left on board does not belong to any of the players. In this case there is no winner.
The actions on the compass rose
In the first step of his turn, a player has to choose one of the two actions the swords of the compass rose are pointing at. The actions are:
Switch two pirates (Symbol: two hands)
The player chooses two pirates of any color(s) and switches their places.
Push pirates (Symbol: one hand)
The player chooses a pirate of any color and pushes him one space forward. If there are pirates in front of this pirate, with no gap between them, these pirates will be pushed with the chosen pirate. It is allowed to choose a pirate from the middle of a group.
Move one pirate (Symbol: row of pirates)
The player chooses one pirate of any color and places him directly in front of the first pirate or behind the last pirate. This can only be done if the space in question is empty. For example, in the beginning of the game it is not possible to move a pirate behind the last pirate since there are no spaces left on the plank behind the last pirate.
No action (Symbol: skull)
If one of the symbols is a skull, the player may choose the other action. If both symbols are skulls, the player must pass the first step of his turn and can only carry out the second step of his turn.
My thoughts on this game
When I first looked at the box, I thougt this would be some kind of childrens game, or maybe a dexterity game. It turned out I was wrong. It's actually more of a game in it than I thought. It's not a great game, but it's good for what it is. I've rated it a 5, because it's not a game I would choose myself, but I won't say no if someone asks me to play it.
I noticed it might be a good idea to replace the player color stones with pieces of paper with the colors written on them. The stones are difficult to keep hidden, and it's also hard to tell the difference between the blue and the green stone.
Nice review. I think this is a fun game and if it lacks depth that's ok since it takes about ten minutes to play.
Agree with the stone colors being too similar but I found the stones easy to palm and keep hidden. Maybe could use cubes from another game.