- My friend Joe, a historian, is always amused by people's
romantic fascination with pirates, like my own. I love pirate
movies, pirate games (except Blackbeard), etc. but in reality the
life of a pirate was not nearly as glamorous. I don't really care
about the historical inaccuracies of games and movies, however,
because realism rarely makes for a fun game. Thus, when I heard
that Fantasy Flight games was releasing a new game in their recently
christened Silver Line about pirates, I was interested in it.
And what is the verdict on Mutiny! (Fantasy Flight Games,
2003 Kevin Wilson) The theme of the game is great (something
Wilson seems adept at), but you are only going to like this game if
you like blind bidding games, and even then you may not enjoy it
that much. Now, I enjoyed the game, but most of the other playing
did not and it takes a game to be a real stinker for me to
actively dislike it. I'm a big fan of blind bidding games, but
often, during the course of the game, I kept thinking how Fist of
Dragonstones did it so much better. But then again, perhaps pirates
are your theme, rather than fantasy, so keep reading!
The theme of the game is that the captain of the ship is
apparently an idiotic cretin, and needs to be mutinied against. The
question is, who will lead the mutiny? Each player (up to five)
takes eight doubloons of their chosen color and three rum tokens.
The remainder of the rum tokens, doubloons, and cutlass tokens are
placed in piles at the side of the table. In the middle of the
table are placed five large hexagon markers representing the key
crew members needed to complete the mutiny. Finally, sixteen chart
markers are shuffled and placed in a pile underneath the pilot
(fourth crew member). One player is given the large spyglass token,
and the game starts.
First, the top chart marker is flipped over and placed next
to the pilot. Then, the player with the spyglass calls out each
crew member in numeric order (it's the same, every turn). When a
crew member's number is called, all players secretly bid any amount
of coins and/or rum tokens that they wish. Each player places
their bid tokens next to the crew marker, near the side of the
marker with their matching color. The player who has bid the most
tokens on a crew member may use that crew member's primary ability,
and the player who has bid the second most tokens uses the secondary
ability. All ties are broken by the player holding the spyglass.
The abilities of the five crewmembers are as follows
- #1, Deck Hand: The winner can move any one token bid on any
crew member to any other crew member, with the second place winner
able to move any of THEIR tokens bid on a crew member to any other
- #2, Gunner: The winner gets two cutlass tokens, second place
- #3, Cook: The winner gains two rum tokens, second place gets
- #4, Pilot: The winner picks which way the ship will sail on
the chart marker (this will determine if certain players will gain
and/or lose tokens (doubloons, rum, or swords), and second place
gets one cutlass token.
- #5, First Mate: The winner gets the spyglass token, and
second place gets one rum token.
After bidding, all tokens remain on that crew member. When all five
crew members have been bid on, all the rum tokens are removed from
the board back to the general pile of rum, and each player, starting
with the player with the cutlass, can take back up to three of their
coins from the board. Another round starts, and rounds continue to
be played until one player gets eight cutlass tokens (or 10 in a
three-player game). That player is immediately the winner!
Some comments on the game
1.) Components: First of all, the artwork for the game, done by
Brian Schomburg and Anders Finer, is absolutely fantastic, and
certainly revives those "romantic" notions of the pirates! The
tokens are all of good sizes and quality, as is typical for FFG
(Fantasy Flight Games). I was a little disappointed with the
plastic inset to the box, as there were many small tokens, but
really nowhere to store them, I had to add plastic bags to keep
everything straight in the box. The box itself, besides being
beautiful, is typical good quality from FFG and I really
appreciate how all their Silver Line boxes easily stack on my
2.) Rules: The game rules are very clearly written, in seven
languages with illustrations and examples. Every question we had,
especially an important one on whether the person with the spyglass
broke ties regarding the chart tokens, was answered, and I was able
to teach the game in about five minutes. All the game components
are language independent, and each of the crew markers has pictures
on it, explaining what their primary and secondary abilities are.
3.) Blind Bidding: As I said in the introduction, if you don't
like blind bidding, you won't like the game, because that's all
that's ever going on in this game. If you like blind bidding, but
need variety, you also won't be a big fan of this game, because you
are bidding on the same five things, every round.
4.) Theme: However, at least the game really does have
a "pirate" feel, (even if it's not historically accurate). The rum,
the swords, the artwork, the doubloons, etc. it all works together
to give this game some flavor that many games sorely lack. If you
are a big pirate fan, I'd have to say this is a must-add to your
5.) Strategy and Fun Factor: I enjoyed the game, but found that
I was in a minority on that aspect. Some complained that the game
felt a little stale. Others got tired of bidding for the same thing
over and over. Still others thought that the strategy was lacking,
or that there were only a couple viable strategies, bringing down
the "fun factor" of the game. Teenagers, on the other hand, are
enamored by the game, and because of the theme, can look past the
mechanics (this is almost always the case), so for them, the Fun
Factor is huge.
Sadly, this means I can't recommend the game to anyone, unless you
LOVE pirates or you LOVE blind-bidding games, and must own them
all. The only exception to this is that families might like the
game if they have teenagers who can handle blind bidding strategy.
Personally, though, there are better games out there, and I would
recommend that you pick up one of them instead. Love the theme,
wish the mechanics were as interesting as it!