Saturday, December 5, 2015

Toys For Wargaming - Don't Rock The Boat

Ignore the childish art, this game has quality components, and demands a steady hand and nerves of steel.
Okay, before everyone just assumes I've gone off the deep end, just hear me out. Recently, I went on kind of a quest to find a decent, cheap, easy to use pirate ship to do some small scale skirmish gaming. Pirate ships represent an excuse for episodic game play sessions. There's not much need for in depth story building. The next set of enemies is a ship encounter away. Why bother with complex excuses for battles when "you are pirates" is a perfectly valid motivation? Casualties and new party members are likewise easily explained away. You simply stopped at a port and picked up a few new hands.

This is what a draw looks like, with all 16 penguins still aboard.
That said, I had a very difficult time finding a pirate ship for my preferred LEGO scale that met my criteria. I wanted something easy. I wanted something the right size. I wanted something cheap. I wanted something that was easily recognizable as a pirate ship. I also wanted something that would stand up to wargaming, and storage between gaming sessions. I had two working solutions, neither of which made me completely satisfied. I had the wooden birdhouse ships (one of which has since been given away), and the off Brand LEGO Scooby Doo Ghost Ship. Both fulfilled some of the above criteria, but not all.

Then my wife got this game for my son and I to play. We got it at Wal-Mart for $11. It, astonishingly, meets all the criteria I have outlined above. When not on the rocking game base, it sits evenly, and could simply be the ideal boarding action game board.

Not to completely jump the shark, I did, in fact, actually play the intended game with my son. It is really very fun as designed. The Pirate Penguins are pretty cool too. We had a few ties, where we actually ran out of Penguins without anyone "Rocking the Boat." This might be because one of the players is a middle age man with excellent hand eye coordination who works on miniatures in his spare time.

The game is for Age 5+. If you have kids who are into this sort of thing, it's a good purchase on its own merits. If you are like me, and wanted a pirate ship for solo or casual wargaming play, I think it's an even better deal. I'm probably going to buy two more sets while they are still on the cheap for Christmas. The modular and easy set up and clean up is a big selling point for me. Also, they are made of decent quality plastic, which makes it more pleasant to work with than some of the alternatives.

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