This game takes some thought, and some repeated playings, to get used to the mechanism. Players are trying to sail their vessel around Cape Horn and must reach two 'navigational' points before making a race for the finish. Another option is for them to reach a third navigational point, in which case they win automatically without having to bolt for the finish line.
Movement is dictated by the laying of wind tiles, which list various directions in which a player can move. For instance, one tile may show arrows and numbers which require a player to move '2 spaces forward', or '2 spaces forward, and 1 space left or right'. These tiles come in a variety of possibilities and must be managed to maximize one's movement in accordance with one's intentions. Of course, other players may place tiles in your planned path which will alter your movement capabilities, thereby forcing you to adapt and change your plans.
The board is divided into three regions. In each region, there are three navigational markers, one each in red, yellow and green. A player can win in one of two manners:
1) Reach a navigational marker in two different territories, but they must be of a different color. Then, that player must reach the finish line first.
2) Reach a navigational marker in three different areas, but they each must be a different color. The game ends immediately with that player victorious.
The basic idea is to manage one's tiles so that a logical movement path can be established to quickly get one to the required navigational points, while at the same time trying to lay tiles in such a way as to disrupt the paths on one's opponents. An intriguing idea, but frankly it falls a bit flat. I played twice and put it firmly in the same category as last year's Freibeuter (which I do enjoy a bit more than this one). I'll play it, but probably would never request it.
In addition to this game, I played another game of Cape Horn during the Gulf Games convention. For some reason, the movement arrows on the tiles were a constant source of confusion for the players. Despite the best effort of Jay Tummelson and myself at explaining and demonstrating how the system operated, players were still getting confused even during the latter stages of the game. Again, I think it takes repeated playings to become accustomed to the system.
In this game, John was the first to reach a navigational token, but was quickly followed by Jay and I. Jay burst out into a lead as John and I struggled to reach our second token. Fortunately, I was able to lay a series of tiles which forced Jay to slow down, while John seemed mired at the tip of the Cape. I was able to catch Jay and lay a path which I felt would lead me to victory.
Fortunately for me, Jay spotted that instead of angling for a race to the finish, John was setting himself up to grab his third navigational token, which would have earned him the victory. Jay placed a few tiles which made this task more difficult for John, and neither Jay nor John was able to lay the necessary tiles to prevent me from scooting across the finish line to claim the victory.
John enjoyed the game a bit more than I. Again, I'll play it, but not likely to make the purchase.
Ratings: John 7, Greg 6