a Preview of Fish 'n' Ships By Goodfellow Games
‘This is a game of fast battles, unexpected combos and treacherous backstabs.
You are a pirate who has found a map to a treasure that will grant you arcane magical dominion over the seas.
But, instead of gold, the scrolls lead you to... magic fish? The more fish you collect, the more you feel that magic-y goodness course through your veins. Yar!
Race against your opponents, be the first to find all your treasure and rule the seven seas.’
3 words to describe this game: skulduggery, cannonball and pirate hilarity
Piracy runs through these cards in the form of cute cartoons which are whimsical in nature. The theme of ‘Fish and ships’ runs through the cards and although in the game, you probably aren’t paying that much attention to the pictures on the cards, if you look closely, I hope you will enjoy them as much as us.
Gameplay: Essentially in this game, you are seeking to find your treasure following a treasure map unique to you. To obtain the treasure, you have to fight your opponents using cannonballs, steal treasure from underneath their noses and use the power of the seas for your own ends.
Each turn, you can either draw 2 cards, attack, play a skullduggery card (stealing others locked treasures) and lock down a single treasure card.
Drawing cards allows you to access the play deck, which will allow you to get cannonball, different power cards and the treasure cards you will need to win the game.
When you attack, you play your cannonball cards. You play these cards until someone runs out of cannonballs. One at a time, you aim and fire! You need to match or overtake your opponent in order to win and the difference between the amount of cannonballs is the amount of cards you can take from the loser.
Lockdown treasures are yours to keep and allow you to access stack abilities the more of these you have. However playing a skullduggery card let’s you take one of these locked down treasures from your opponents.
Locking down treasure cards means placing them in front of you and these are then considered locked. All the time that they are in your hand, they are available to be stolen in a cannonball fight!
The winner is the pirate who manages to get their treasures first - these can be made up of locked down cards and cards in your hand.
Instruction manual - I have to say this was the only part of the game that I found disappointing. For some reason, I just couldn’t get to grips with what the game was about until I took it to the table, set it up and then I was like ‘oh gosh, that is so simple!’ I think there is a lot of information contained in the manual that wasn’t maybe necessary. Whilst it is clearly marked by headings, unless you’ve set the game up, you might make the mistake of thinking you need to know what all the cards do and how to use them. You don’t! Everything you need is printed on the cards particularly the tide turner cards and so as long as you set up and read about the key actions, you can be away and playing before you know it. I have to say, I don’t have a great track record of reading instruction manuals and I’m more of a visual learner when it comes to picking up the rules opting to watch a play through, or how to play in a visual format so for others might not be a big deal
Secret goal cards
Stack ability cards
Play deck (containing cannonballs, skullduggery cards, tide turner cards etc)
Love the artwork on these cards - super cute and cartoony and great consistency of theme - nautical, pirates, treasure - awesome!
Moral of the story:
Don’t put off playing this game because you think you don’t understand the rules. It’s super simple and easy but something about the manual makes it seem more complicated than it is. Not sure if that’s because of the font or the fact that they detail the specifics of each card in the latter pages. We’ve picked this instruction manual up a few times and tried to work out how to play but nothing clicked until you set up and just gave it a go.
Once we started playing, we were hooked. With so many twists and turns it’s super fun! Loved blowing my opponent out of the water with cannonballs and harpooning a whole load of locked treasures and the back and forth element of the game makes it exciting. It’s easy to play, a great filler game between heavier games on a games night. It’s fun, vibrant and exciting and had us smiling in our first game.
Expansion: There is an expansion pack to the original game that we haven’t played with yet so we will update this review then but to be honest, our first few games games played with the basic pack were so fun we didn’t really feel like we needed to explore this at the time. The game is so innocently fun and exciting in and of itself that I’m unsure what the extras will add but I will try them out and update this review when I do.
Thank you so much to Goodfellow Games for sending me this copy for preview.