Jayson Myers
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Conclusion:

This was a game I was planning on getting rid of, so I played it one more time and lo and behold my gaming group liked it. Sadly, in this moment in time, my gaming group is leaning towards lighter games.

To me, the artwork and color scheme is pretty drab and bland. Lots of "lack of color" and blandness. The rule book is good to get the game across, but more examples would have been nice.

Overall, this is a set collection game with some "go fish" thrown in. There is some strategy with which cards to play and in what order. In my humble opinion, this was an okay game for the 8 bucks it is currently going for. If I had paid $40, I would be very disappointed.



Components:

You get a deck of cards that are a little undersized, but made of good quality. You get some chits of hard cardboard. Some wooden scoring tokens and a set of boats (seen above) that you have to put together. One of my boats has since been destroyed. By the standards when the game was released, it might be a little over produced. This probably could have been a much "smaller" game. Everything you get is fine and very good for the current $8 price point.



Rule Book:

The Rule book is very good. The rule book clearly explains each stage of the game with very helpful pictures. During the action stage, the books explains each of the actions and how many actions you get (with pictures included).

The rules on the bonus tiles are stuck at the back of the rule book and can be easily missed. The scoring examples were perfect and a true example for most rule books.

This is one of the best, clearest rules I have read. This game is a filler or a tad above, but the rules are not confusing. This is a great example of how rules should be written. They never get in the way of the game and you can learn these rules while playing your first game.



Flow of the Game:

First, you get a discard your cards to the number printed on your top face up card. Then, you can buy more cards and/or trade with your opponents (they get a prestige marker if you trade with them).

Next is the main "game" part. You must lay down a number of cards equal to the number of actions you have this turned (decided by your top face up card). On the side of each card you play are symbols. Each card has 2 of the 4 possible symbols. These are how you do "things". You must do all that are listed:

A: Get Money
B: Pirate: draw cards to a face down stack that cost you points at end of the game if you don't buy them back later
C: Draw cards
D: Move your ship on the board (you get harbor tokens that you give you "powers").

Lastly, you place the cards you played (in any order you want) on your face up stack.

The face up stack is how you score points at the end of the game (and other bonus ways). Basically, you are making a stack of cards that have different "goods" on them. Each set of goods have numbers that tell you how many points you get based on how many of that good you have in a row. This is the main idea of the game is to play as many cards of the same type of good in a row to max your points. This will drive most of your decisions in the game.




Should I buy this?:

For 8 bucks, you could take a flier on this and get a solid light game. Nothing about it is unique or going to draw you into playing it. It is a solid game, with drab colors, but nice enough bits. The rules are clear and the gaming experience is good enough. Nothing stands out, the theme is used to death, and the artwork is not good. If you are tight on a budget and want a new game, this should fit the bill.

I am going to keep for now only because my gaming group liked it, but if it doesn't make it to the table in the next 6 months I will purge it.
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Roger Howell
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Nice review and good pics, thank you.

I did not like this game, in fact I sold it just recently for $6 and I felt like I got the better deal. The board seems to have no real purpose in the game. The mechanic of playing your cards is unique and different than any other game I have played, but still, it just didn't click with me.
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Jayson Myers
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:
Nice review and good pics, thank you.

I did not like this game, in fact I sold it just recently for $6 and I felt like I got the better deal. The board seems to have no real purpose in the game. The mechanic of playing your cards is unique and different than any other game I have played, but still, it just didn't click with me.


Yes, the board was pointless. A random harbor token would have done the same thing.
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:
Nice review and good pics, thank you.

I did not like this game, in fact I sold it just recently for $6 and I felt like I got the better deal. The board seems to have no real purpose in the game. The mechanic of playing your cards is unique and different than any other game I have played, but still, it just didn't click with me.

Why do you think the board doesn't matter? It matters a lot. The special powers are important. If you start in a bad spot then you better sail away into more profitable positions. Collecting the tokens just for point value is important which is hugely related to your position on the board. Actually big part of the whole game is trying optimaze your hand with your position on the board and tokens you are going to get in future turns. For example if you have a lot cards with pirate symbol then you really need an anti-pirate token or if you have big hand size numbers in the cards you might want to get one token that gives you money at the start of your turn. If you have a empty hand then you might want to get the cheap card purchase token.

Quote:
This is the main idea of the game is to play as many cards of the same type of good in a row to max your points. This will drive most of your decisions in the game.

People tend to overvalue the set collection. It's one way to optimize your play but people seem to even ruin their own game for sake of set collecting. The most important thing that new players should realize is that the game is not about collecting the most or having the most points with sets. The game is about having the most money at the end of the game, and that is all that matters, yet people seem to ignore this fact.

In my opinion totally underrated game, especially compared to the price. I'm not the biggest fan of trading games but everything works smoothly here. I didn't have high hopes for the game when I got it from a sale but I have already had more fun out of it with seven plays than I never expected. Something to pull out a couple times a year but so far it has always been very enjoyable. Definitely not for people who don't like trading games but I think it's worth the shot for everyone else.

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Jayson Myers
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Why do you think the board doesn't matter? It matters a lot. The special powers are important. If you start in a bad spot then you better sail away into more profitable positions. Collecting the tokens just for point value is important which is hugely related to your position on the board. Actually big part of the whole game is trying optimaze your hand with your position on the board and tokens you are going to get in future turns. For example if you have a lot cards with pirate symbol then you really need an anti-pirate token or if you have big hand size numbers in the cards you might want to get one token that gives you money at the start of your turn. If you have a empty hand then you might want to get the cheap card purchase token.


The board is important for that, but it seems that mechanic could have been brought about with something different than a board. I'm not saying that in a general way, but it just seemed over kill in this game.

Quote:
This is the main idea of the game is to play as many cards of the same type of good in a row to max your points. This will drive most of your decisions in the game.

People tend to overvalue the set collection. It's one way to optimize your play but people seem to even ruin their own game for sake of set collecting. The most important thing that new players should realize is that the game is not about collecting the most or having the most points with sets. The game is about having the most money at the end of the game, and that is all that matters, yet people seem to ignore this fact.

In my opinion totally underrated game, especially compared to the price. I'm not the biggest fan of trading games but everything works smoothly here. I didn't have high hopes for the game when I got it from a sale but I have already had more fun out of it with seven plays than I never expected. Something to pull out a couple times a year but so far it has always been very enjoyable. Definitely not for people who don't like trading games but I think it's worth the shot for everyone else.

[/q]
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Roger Howell
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It's been a while since I have played the game, but if I remember correctly the bonus token you owned was replaced by a new token, depending on where you landed on the board. You couldn't hang on to a particular token very long because you were forced to constantly move, so your bonus abilities were constantly changing. Maybe I didn't play the game enough for it to click - it all just seemed silly and random.
 
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:
It's been a while since I have played the game, but if I remember correctly the bonus token you owned was replaced by a new token, depending on where you landed on the board. You couldn't hang on to a particular token very long because you were forced to constantly move, so your bonus abilities were constantly changing. Maybe I didn't play the game enough for it to click - it all just seemed silly and random.



Yes, that is the case. So moving around the board you can have some say in which token you get (but still near you). You also get bonus points for having the most tokens.
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I own the original version that came in a small box. The graphics are so much better than the newer, blander version, which I ended up trading away. I kept the original version because the gameplay is actually better.

In the newer version they actually changed the values on the cards which changed the gameplay into a bland experience. It's a fun, unique game as long as you play the original version, if you can still find it.
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Jim Marshall
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Gotta say I like this game. Sure it's not the deepest, but it does work on a number of levels beyond just the basic set collection:

~ Trading is good (and gets your bonus points for the 'most traded' chits), and yu need to thnk about how much money (which equates to victory points) you might want to thrown in (or accept) to sweeten a deal

~ The board (which drives the bonus chits) does matter - most bonus chits earn you points, plus the chits themselves can really help (and indeed, steer) your play

~ Hand management is VERY important. You need to acquire and then play cards into your trade pile (for VPs) in the right order without leaving yourself facing a VP hole in the following turn

I think there's a lot to think about to play this well. For me it combines Euro-efficiency-optimisation (and please, never again do I want to play a pure efficiency engine game, that's what I get paid for at work) with meaningful (and rewarded) player negotiation/interaction.
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Ian Allen
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sigh - I feared as much - throwing this one on the trade stack now - this doesn't sound like my kind of game ...
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Jayson Myers
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dbmite wrote:
I own the original version that came in a small box. The graphics are so much better than the newer, blander version, which I ended up trading away. I kept the original version because the gameplay is actually better.

In the newer version they actually changed the values on the cards which changed the gameplay into a bland experience. It's a fun, unique game as long as you play the original version, if you can still find it.


Didnt know there were two versions. Sad for me.
 
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Jim Marshall wrote:
Gotta say I like this game. Sure it's not the deepest, but it does work on a number of levels beyond just the basic set collection:

~ Trading is good (and gets your bonus points for the 'most traded' chits), and yu need to thnk about how much money (which equates to victory points) you might want to thrown in (or accept) to sweeten a deal

~ The board (which drives the bonus chits) does matter - most bonus chits earn you points, plus the chits themselves can really help (and indeed, steer) your play

~ Hand management is VERY important. You need to acquire and then play cards into your trade pile (for VPs) in the right order without leaving yourself facing a VP hole in the following turn

I think there's a lot to think about to play this well. For me it combines Euro-efficiency-optimisation (and please, never again do I want to play a pure efficiency engine game, that's what I get paid for at work) with meaningful (and rewarded) player negotiation/interaction.


Agreed, it is a decent light game. There just might be better out there. The game is cheap, so that is helpful.

 
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