Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Abandon Ship (Ye Land Lubbers)

One of the latest games that I've been exposed to at my gaming group is Reiner Knizia's Abandon Ship, published by AEG. Its a light family game for  3-7 players and plays for approximately 30 minutes.

Object: At the beginning of the game, each player is given a cardboard token with three colors on it. These colors correspond to different mice. The player is trying to get advance the mice of these colors while hindering the others.

Components: The game comes with 7 wooden mice of various colors along with 7 corresponding 6 sided dice and an additional white die. All of these pieces are nice and solid and seem to be able to handle handling quite well. There's a bunch of cardboard pieces for secret objectives bonus points and showing how fast the boat sinks. These are also very nice thickness and feel nice. The final and coolest piece of the game is the ship board. This comes in two pieces, the background/waves as well as the ship itself. The ship is separated into 30 levels with spots at the top to distinguish the order that the mice escape the sinking ship.

Gameplay: The starting player takes the pool of dice and rolls them once and then selects on of the dice to use. Each face of the die has either a number, an arrow or an anchor. If the chosen die has a number showing, the corresponding mouse moves up that many spaces. An arrow moves it up to the next mouse in front of it, and the anchor moves it back to the mouse behind it. After performing the action, the die is removes from the pool and those remaining get passed to the next player. This continues until there are no no more dice available to roll.

When this happens, one of sinking tokens gets flipped over and a number is revealed. The ship then sinks that number of levels. If sinking would cause a mouse to go below the waves, then the sinking stops and that mouse and its die are removed from the game.

While all this goes on, players are trying to get their mice to the top of the ship. The catch though is that the first mouse scores no points. Only the second, third and fourth place do. This means that while you want your mice to be fast, you don't want them to be too fast.

Appeal: The day after playing this, my wife and I started talking about buying it. We both thought this would be great to play with the family and that fact that it goes up to 7 players is a big appeal. It may not have the deepest strategy, but its a fun, fast game that should appeal to a wide variety of players.

I highly recommend this game for anyone whose group or family may have a couple non hardcore gamers. Its different enough to cause others to take notice and the board is a fun to play with.

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