The publisher gifted me a copy of this game for this preview.
Game at a Glance
You’re a pirate with a map that leads you to magical fish that grant you dominion over the seas. There are other pirates racing you for similar fishy booty. You must be quick and treacherous to achieve your goal first.
In Fish N Ships each player gets a secret goal card that acts as their treasure map. It will list the 5 treasure cards that must be collected to win. The treasures can either be “locked down” in front of you, in your hand, or a combination of both. As soon as a player completes their goal, they win! But there’s more than just treasures in the deck. There are cannonballs for offense & defense, Skullduggery cards for thieving, and powerful Tide Turner cards that grant special one-time actions.
The cards are bright and the illustrations are fun. The rules are pretty simple to grasp, although we did run into a few snags with the battle rules here and there and needed to check the book. Other than that gameplay was smooth and extremely fast.
The game is lightweight, but heavy on interaction. It has a mean-streak tempered by a lighthearted theme. Battling is the meat of this game and Take That takes center stage. In Fish N Ships, you will be plundered. You might even get ganged-up on (especially if you are in the lead with visible goal cards locked down).
You can play this game with two players but I don’t recommend it at that count. Tim and I tried several rounds but firing cannonballs back and forth at eachother got a bit dull and predictable. Many take that games lose their magic when played with only 2 people, in my opinion. suffers from the same issue may take-that games have at 2 players. Once we introduced it to our 9 year old it was a much more enjoyable experience. I would imagine it shines brightest at a player count between 4 and 6 people.
I do think this is a good game to play with kids if they have the sportsmanship to handle some unfairness. There can be quite a bit of randomness with the card draws which can level the playing field, which actually works in its favor for a family game.
Fish N Ships is a very fast-paced card game that is meant to be silly good fun. Just don’t overthink the magical fish thing, ok?
Avoid this one if…
…you do not enjoy randomness, or any sort of take-that in your games. If your gaming group prefers mid- to heavy-weight strategy this may not be a good fit.
This game might be for you if…
…you’re a fan of light games and don’t mind a bit of take-that. I can see it working really well for family game night – especially when kids want the chance to blast their parents out of the water!
For more information about Fisn N Ships, check out the Kickstarter Pre-Launch Page.