Sea Shanties: Arrrgh you up for Playing a Game?

The Kanvas Seas are fierce. As the wind blows us onto our new heading, I fear what lies ahead. My crew is tough and ready to pillage and plunder at a moment’s notice, but there be pirates seeking to take my fortune away from me.
We seek Gold, Iron, Grog and Food, but most important, we seek glory and to be remembered among the great pirates before us…

Gameplay

In Sea Shanties, you are a pirate seeking glory in verse and ballad, hoping to have the most renown (Victory Points) by the end of the game. On your turn you follow the ABCs: Actions, Burying and Collecting.

You can take five actions and each player has five to choose from:

When moving one must be aware of the wind direction. Moving along the wind will give the player additional movement at no cost. Moving against the wind will cause additional an additional movement.

Plundering is key to the game. Treat it like area control. The more you control, the more resources you will receive. Also, each island controlled at the end of the game will add to the player’s renown. A player may steal an island for control by having more crew than the previous player.

If a player’s ship is away from their island, they may abandon their crew off the island and back to the tavern. At the tavern the player may recruit a crew member back onto their ship.

When two ships are adjacent to one another a Sea Battle may occur. Each player will bid their crew members against each other. The player with the higher number wins. Then the winning player takes the difference between the two numbers and pillages that amount from the deck of their opponents ship. So if player 1 bid 10 and player 2 bid 5, then 10-5= 5 resources pillaged from the losing player. There is a cost for the winning player. Since the battle was tough and arduous, that same difference will be applied to the crew and that amount will be returned to the tavern.

After doing five actions, the player then buries any loot that they would like by moving their goods to the treasure map side on their player mat.

After this the player then may collect one good from each island they control. Some islands may have multiple goods.

As different actions are completed players may have a chance of being rewarded with achievement cards called Lore and their special abilities granted to the player called melodies. Together they form a verse. The lore will be set to the side of the player as renown at the end of the game while the melody will go into one of two slots on the player board.

There can only be two. Any additional melodies must replace one of the others. Choose wisely.

“Because the Hook brings you back…”

Another card that can bring good fortune are Ballads, these cards go the players who have buried 5 or more of certain resources.

The end is triggered when all lore/melody cards have been revealed or when all Ballads have been claimed. All players have one final turn including the one who triggered the end. All players then total their Lore Cards, Islands under control and their Ballads. Whoever has the most Renown wins the game and shall be forever remembered in pirate history.

Components

One thing the publisher wanted to accomplish was no plastics used in the making of the game. The tokens are cardboard, the dials for battle have a small screw, the map is a canvas style bag, the bags holding the wooden pieces are a nice cloth. A lot of consideration was put into this and you can tell that they took pride in each piece of the game.

The only thing to mention is that the canvas tiles do fray a little and will leave a little cleanup on your game mat, but it is worth it for the effect and feel of the game they have made. The Kanvas Sea is Canvas.

Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail- it is a creative game. The Shanties added a fun aspect. The board is a neat idea and makes it more like pirates. I don’t like that there aren’t many resource tokens and it makes the game a bit harder. it was fun to play though. Recommendation: Try it.

Beth- this game tries to immerse you in the pirate sea life from the canvas map to the pillaging and island stealing with a few songs along the way. It was a fun concept and easy play once we got the hang of it. Some friendly rivalry was good. With 5 people playing, we struggled to get enough resources buried to claim the ballads. By the time we would get close to 5 of one, the resources ran out. Then we also couldn’t steal much from each other because no one was earning more. Maybe we need to be more willing to battle each other earlier in the game instead of hoarding! It was fun and I can see us becoming more confident and ruthless as we understand it more, but since the individual resources don’t count for anything at the end of the game, it’s discouraging when they run out and your islands can’t help you steal the ballads. I say try it as it is, but the game is such a good concept that I would say buy it if we could purchase an inexpensive additional resources pack for 5 players. Recommendation: Try it/Buy it.

Chris- This has been an enjoyable game. The only real complaint is the amount of tokens vs the 5 player count. At lower counts the tokens are more than enough and easier to obtain, but at 4-5 players, it can be an uphill battle to get the resources to win those achievements. A great game can turn sour in those situations especially when playing with our kids. I think more tokens for resources could easily put this into a “Buy it.” I feel that I am like my wife and am in the middle of the road as well. Recommendation: Try it/Buy it.

Daniel- I like how it’s a pirate based game and how it seems to be based on Port Royale. I like the Lore and Melody parts and the songs on it. The map is unique and the battles are fun. I always steal islands but I always lose. I wish there were more resources. Recommendation: Try it.

Elijah- when you go on a wind space you get to blow to the next space and I like that. I like the songs. Some of them are funny because they say “booty”. Recommendation: Try it.

Verdict

Our Family puts this at a 3.4/5 Young Buccaneers. This would be closer to a 4.6/5 if that higher player count had just a few more tokens to make reaching achievements that much easier.

The Whatnot Cabinet: A Kickstarter Preview

Game: The Whatnot Cabinet

  • Publisher: Pencil First Games
  • Designed by: Eduardo Baraf and Steve Finn
  • Illustrated by: Beth Sobel
  • Ages 8+
  • 2-4 players
  • 30 minutes

Remember when you were younger and would go outside? The fresh air was like a stirring to the soul, encouraging us to explore. Along the many paths we’d take there would be little trinkets. A smooth stone here, a little toy left behind, maybe a leaf that had turned a beautiful red shade would come across you as you went along. Some things you would take home to put on a shelf, and that collection of trinkets and knickknacks would pass into memory…

The Whatnot Cabinet brings back that feeling of being a kid again, and sharing those feelings with our own children has been a great reminder of our youth.

Gameplay

In The Whatnot Cabinet, you are collecting objects and scoring points for having the best Whatnot Cabinet.

Each player receives a Cabinet and a pawn of their matching color. (In a two player game, the player will use two pawns.) Then each player will place their pawn on the action board according to their position. Over the course of six rounds (three for two player), players will be collecting curio tiles, items of value such as gems, bottles, small animals and leaves, in hopes to fill their cabinet with the best collection. These items may be found in the curio tile bag or the outdoors, an area where adventure awaits.

In order to collect tiles, the player must pick one out of the five possible actions. These actions could be adding to your collection from the bag, adding to the outdoors and then to your collection or even resetting the great outdoors and collecting two tiles from the newly available pieces.

Scoring on your cabinet depends on colors and objects. A row of similar objects (ie all gems) will result in 3 curio tokens (points). A row with different objects will result in 1 curio token.

Columns are based on colors. Different colors equals 2 curio tokens while the same colors equal 4 curio tokens. How you place your tiles makes for an interesting strategy that will succeed or fail miserably depending on how you play.

Once players have all played on an action spaces not taken by another player, they will clear the outdoors and reset. Then they will move their pawns to the turn order space matching the action spaces.

Throughout the game there are Wonder Cards and Curiosity Cards which could help a player find a strategy to win. Curiosity Cards are cards that can be claimed by a player who has met a condition. For example there is a card with conditions of playing each color on the cabinet. Once someone has done so, they can take the card as their own and score for it at the end of the game. Wonder Cards are cards that give an edge to all players as it pertains to having certain objects. These objects will gain extra points for each one you have.

Having a large amount of objects related to the Wonder Card will pay off greatly in the game.

Lastly there are tiles with crowns and point/clearing tiles that you will encounter. Curio tiles with crowns get you more points. Point Tiles will have you do certain conditions and then place outside of your cabinet. The clearing tiles will have you resetting the outdoors and claiming tiles from there.

Each crown is worth an additional point.

Once all rounds are complete, players will score their cabinet, wonder cards, crowns, curiosity cards and where they are on the turn order spaces at the end of the game. The player with the most points is declared the winner!

Elijah collecting his Curio Tiles
Components

This artwork is beautiful. Each tile has just the right amount of detail and the cabinet looks like a Kallax shelf, perfect for a board game enthusiast. The pawns are a nice wooden design and the overall production is well worth having at the table.

Each piece has its own little detail down to the carpet under the cabinets.

One note, we were able to play with the Fascination Expansion and it adds a challenge to collect specific colored objects. This is a nice addition to change up strategies.

Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail (not a hoarder or particularly fond of animals, but appreciates quality time together): it was a good game, easy to learn and easy to play and fun. It is fun with the family or just 2 players. Recommendation: Try it.

Beth: I feel like this game had a little bit for everyone. I was focused on strategizing placement while my kids had fun with their collections and we still had fairly similar scores. It was important to remember the cards that give you extra points for accomplishments, those gave the extra edge to the game. We enjoyed it and it went quick enough that everyone stayed focused (big plus for a family game). Recommendation: Buy It!

Chris: I love this game. It’s quick to play, easy to teach and fun for the whole family. There is something great when you get that feeling of your younger days. This game brought back memories of collecting sticks and leaves and seeing as my kids have done the same on walks. The artwork and gameplay fit well with our family and I would recommend this be a game your family backs. Recommendation: Buy It!

An example of a two player game where Abigail defeated me. Those leaves are what got her the win!

Daniel (11 year old hoarder of anything collectible): I like how the game is about collecting things because I like collecting rocks and gems and finding things that are unique. I liked the design of the tiles and the cabinet looked cool with the pieces in it. Recommendation: Buy It!

Elijah (9 year old with a cat obsession): I liked how there were kitties in it. I collected gems and animals because the gems looked cool and I like kitties. Recommendation: Buy It!

The Whatnot Cabinet deserves to be on your table. It’s a quick filler full of fun and we give it a 4.6 Goodlets out of 5.

The Whatnot Cabinet hits Kickstarter June 9th, 2020.