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SHIPWRECKED

Reviewed by Herb Levy

SHIPWRECKED (Out of the Box Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 to adult, 20-40 minutes; $19.99)

 

[Several years ago, we came across a charming little game called Shipwrecked from Out of the Box Games. Now, Out of the Box has redone this little gem. Subtitled “The Wild Game of Bidding, Bluffing and Survival”, Shipwrecked is one of the those games that is easy to play and can get even non-gamers into the action. This new edition of the game comes in a substantial square box with a mounted board to heighten the enjoyment.

We liked the game back then. With the game play, particularly the bidding process that encourages you to keep the bidding going but at the risk of losing the auction, intact, we still do. So, as our take on the game is still valid, we’re re-running the salient parts of the original review from the Fall 2000 GA REPORT. And here it is:]

Being marooned on an island has taken a certain cachet the likes of which has not been seen since Daniel Defoe committed “Robinson Crusoe” to paper. Credit this interest to the hit show “Survivor” which captivated television audiences with the same fascination as staring at a car wreck. Although not tied in to Survivor, Shipwrecked comes along at jus the right time to take advantage of the interest in this theme.

In Shipwrecked, original concept by Matthew Kirby with game design by Mark Alan Osterhaus, players are stranded on an island and, to survive, must compete to obtain the needed food, shelter, water and friends…

Everyone receives a set of bid cards in the color of his choice as well as some gemstones (the currency of the game), 11 to 15 depending on the number of players. When the resource and hidden resource cards are shuffled together and stacked next to the starting player, you are ready to being play.shipwrecked

The top resource card is exposed and players may now bid to acquire it. Each resource card belongs to one of four groups (Food, Shelter, Water or Friends). Each card is worth a certain number of points (from 10 to 50), is able to generate income (paid in gemstones at the beginning of a turn), and has a value (which can convert go gemstones when sold to the bank). What separates this game from the pack is the unique bidding system.

Players bid with their color-coded bid cards. Each identical set consists of 3 Pass, 2 Stop and 1 Strike. In the first round, each player chooses one of this cards and places it face down, forming the first row of cards. (Ed. Note: The newly included mounted board creates the card play area.) If someone has played a Stop card, he may stop the bidding at that point. Otherwise, the first row remains face down and another row of cards, one from each player is placed above the first row. This continues for up to six rounds until someone announces that he has played a Stop in the current round. Then, all bid cards are exposed to determine who has won the auction.

Only a player who played a Stop card can stop the auction. However, a single Strike card played in the last round of bidding always wins! So the bluff/timing element is critical. Otherwise, a single Stop card in a round wins. If there is more than one Stop card played in the round, the tie is broken with the player who played the most Pass cards up to that point wining the bid. If a tie still remains, a “Bidlock” is declared and the tied players (and only the tied players) rebid from scratch. (As a penalty, however, they must pay the value of the bid as if they had won it!) The cost of winning bids for resource cards decreases as the rounds increase, costing 5 gemstones if won on the first round down to 0 gems if won on the sixth and final round.

The first player to earn 100 points from one group of 150 or more from any combination of groups wins!

Shipwrecked is the kind of game that serves to admirably fill the slot at the beginning of an evening of gaming when you’re “warming up”. It can also serve as an “evening ender” when winding down from a long gaming session. The basics are simple but the second guessing/predicting/strategizing of the bidding process elevates play to a higher level. And let’s not forget the John Kovalic box and card artwork that is consistently charming and lends atmosphere to the proceedings. Shipwrecked is most definitely a game that can rescue you from a dull evening. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — Herb Levy

Copyright 2000, all rights reserved.


 

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