Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Santy Anno

The Game

The background story of the game is that drunken pirates, after a jolly night out, are trying to find the right pirate ships to return to. However you actually need a clear and focused mind to do well. Perhaps a good way to play is to get everyone half drunk first. That would ensure more chaos, mistakes and hilarity.

This is how the game is played. 8 ships and 8 seats are placed around the table. Each player randomly picks a starting seat and marks it with his starting marker. In each round of the game, a certain number of cards are displayed face-up at the centre of the table. These are instruction cards and each tell you whether and where you need to move to. E.g. Move to the other ship with the same coloured hull, move to the other ship with a name starting with the same letter unless your current ship starts with R, look at the green part of your ship (which can be hull, sail, crow's nest or signboard) at go to the other ship with that part in green too. When you have a series of instructions like this, it does take some time to figure out your final destination, and in the mad rush to work it out faster than your opponents you can easily make mistakes.

Another pirate, and another ship. The features of a ship are crow's nest, sails, hull, number, first alphabet of name, and (colour of) name-board.

Once you work out your destination, you must go to the seat corresponding to that ship, and sit down. Once everyone is done, you check whether everyone is seated at the correct places, and only those who are score points. First place gets 5pts, second place 4pts, and so on. No points for 6th or later, even if you are seated correctly.

Some of the components of the game. Left: one of the 8 pirate ships. All 8 pirate ships are always in play and they don't belong to anyone in particular. On the top right are two of the instruction cards. The yellow paint bucket means "look at what's yellow on the current ship that you're at, then go to the other ship which has this part in yellow too". The +3 -5 card means go to the ship numbered either +3 or -5 compared to the current ship you're at. The round token and the rectangle both belong to a specific player. The round token is for determining order of arrival. Once you sit down at your destination, you must quickly put this token at the centre of the table. Whoever comes after you puts his on top of yours. The rectangle token represents you. When checking correctness of your final destination, this token is moved from ship to ship until all instructions have been executed.

The small board at the centre of the table. The coins on top are the rewards.

The Play

We had a 7-player game. The game accommodates 8, and I think it's best with 8, the more the better. More chaos, and more risk of getting shut out.

There were quite a few instances when people fought over the same seats. That was funny. Only one of them could be right. Once we even had three fighting over the same seat.

There were lots of mistakes made. There is a lot of time pressure. It's quite tough balancing speed and being careful. You want to be fast so that you can score higher, but if you make a mistake, you won't get any points.

The moment the game started Wan was already at a big disadvantage, because he's slightly colour-blind. This game involves a lot of checking colours of specific parts of ships across the table. Not colour-blind-friendly at all. Colours used are red, green, blue and yellow.

One of the later rounds, when we had 9 instruction cards. Before a round starts, they are flipped over in reverse order, so you really can't start working out the puzzle until the first card is revealed.

The Thoughts

This is a simple party game suitable for big groups. It's a speed puzzle-solving game. You need a sharp mind to do well, but I think it's most fun when your sharpness of mind is heavily impaired, e.g. when drunk. Even better if you can't walk straight. Then it becomes a dexterity game too. :-)

No comments: