You know those reality TV shows where people buy the contents of locked storage units without really knowing what’s inside? Ever wonder what it would look like if we basically had that, except the people doing the buying were pirates and the contents were cannons, gold, and rats? If so, good news! ShipShape is definitely the game for you!
We got a copy of ShipShape for our consideration and possible review.
In ShipShape, you’ll be looking to score as many points as possible, and you’ll do so by snagging as much gold, cannons, and contraband as you can manage to stuff into your ship’s hold. Over the course of 3 rounds, you and your fellow pirates will bid on crates to add to your hold. Adding crates strategically is the key to winning, because you only score symbols that are visible once you’re done adding crates for the round.
The neat thing about these Crate tiles is that they have sections cut out so that, when stacked, you can see some items from the tiles that lie underneath. You’ll be bidding on tiles in the stack, so having some clues as to what items are on which tiles is important.
During a round, players can peer into the crate, but cannot move any of the tiles. As I said before, you want gold, cannons, and contraband, but you will only ever be able to take 3 tiles per round, so the shape of the tiles is also key as you want to cover as much of your hold as you can with these valuable objects.
Adding to the strategy is that each item scores a little differently. Gold gets added up, but you’ll have to subtract any rats from its value, because who wants rat-covered gold? You’ll get points equal to the value of your cannons minus the lowest cannon value at the table, which keeps the arms race going between players. You’ll get points equal to your contraband value…unless you have the highest amount of contraband. If you’ve got the most contraband the Royal Navy confiscates it and you get no points for it.
The bidding is simple. Each player has a hand of Crew cards numbered 1-10. Everyone will simultaneously pick 1 card and reveal it as their bid. In order from highest to lowest value, players will then take a Crate tile. Depending on what’s on the crate tile, you may not want to have to take the top one and so you don’t always want to play your highest card.