You guys will have seen my collection in the background of loads of SU&SD videos, but I don't think you've seen the work that goes into it. Come with me today as I perform... a CULL.
All the games that follow are good games. We don't want you think we've lost our love for them because they weren't featured last week. These are our Honourable Mentions.
Heralding the game's release in a few months, Ludonaute has published an exhaustive official site. The site contains a manual, and the manual contains good news! This game's going to be an absolute cluster****. But in a good way!
"One piece of trivia orbits modern board gaming like a dark, sexy star. Someone who doesn't really play them will always have heard from their friend, who heard it from another friend, that something like Game of Thrones or Battlestar Galactica is mean it ruins friendships.
"But Game of Thrones? Battlestar Galactica? These are games where the backstabbing and twists of the knife are expected. If you really want to test your friendships, these are the games you should be playing."
...and rapidly moves on to the five games I think should be handled with care. I'd recommend you all go and peruse my warnings, before it's too late.
In Merchants and Marauders, players take on the role of a captain of a small vessel in the Caribbean. The goal is to be the first to achieve 10 "glory" points through performing daring deeds (through the completion of missions or rumors), crushing your enemies (through defeating opponents and NPCs in combat), amassing gold, performing an epic plunder or pulling off the trade of a lifetime, and buying a grand ship. While some points earned from performing various tasks are permanent, players earn points for amassing gold, which can be stolen or lost (or at least diminished) if their captain is killed. Points due to gold are hidden so there's some uncertainty about when the game will end.
A big component of the game is whether (or when) to turn "pirate" or remain as a trader or neutral party. Both careers are fraught with danger: pirates are hunted by NPCs (and other players) for their bounty and blocked to certain ports while traders are hunted by non-player pirates as well as their opponents and generally have to sacrifice combat capability for cargo capacity. Although players can kill each other, there is no player elimination as players may draw a new captain (with a penalty) so it's possible to come back from defeat.
Ain’t no backdrop like the 18th century Caribbean. If only there was a board game set amongst all this.
In our last episode we said we thought Fortune & Glory was a poor example of Ameritrash, Ameritrash being board games that, generally, focus on conflict, cheap thrills and on smothering your table with components rather than being a fair and nuanced game. We’re covering Merchants & Marauders, then, to show you a beautiful example of Ameritrash. This game is a parade of unexpected happenings, satisfying rewards and crushing defeats that all mix together in a foul voodoo potion which brings the Caribbean, shuddering, to life.