|Sword & Skull|
Designer: Mike Elliott
Publisher: Avalon Hill
So at our friend's house last night we played Sword & Skull by Avalon Hill Games. This is a Monopoly-esque game where you travel around the board and perform the actions stated by the spaces you land on. There are 'settlements' where you can add crew to your ships, and if opponents land on those settlements they may have to pay you gold. But that's where the similarities with Monopoly end. In Sword & Skull you control two characters, a Pirate and a Naval Officer as they travel around the board. Some spaces behave differently for the different characters (although they are all balanced between the two characters). Also there is a center path between the two sides of the board where there are some great rewards, but also some great risks. As your pawns travel around the board players collect gold, crew, and items that will help strengthen the combat skills of the Pirate or Officer. Players also battle each other or 'enemies' in the game, like a cyclops or giant octopus. Once a player feels they are strong enough (or rich enough) to take on the Pirate King they can travel through the center path and attempt to defeat the First Mate and then the Pirate King. The first player to do so wins the game.
As Monopoly type games go, Sword & Skull was definitely a fun game. Players were up and down throughout the game, although I did have quite the run of luck (or maybe skill) and stayed very strong throughout the entire game and ended up winning easily. Having two pieces to move really added to the decision making in the game and gave you some sense of control, rather than being a slave to the dice. That said, I'm not really particular to Monopoly type games (although I do have fond memories of SolarQuest and can't wait to play that again soon). But we did all have fun even if the game seemed to go on a bit longer than we'd have liked. I'd definitely be willing to play it again, but not to start a game at 10pm...
Preliminary Rating: 7/10
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GJJG Game Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with his family and friends. Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some are print and play versions of games. Where applicable I will indicate if games have been played with kids or adults or a mix (Family Play). I won't go into extensive detail about how to play the game (there are plenty of other sources for that information and I'll occasionally link to those other sources), but I will give my impressions of the game and how my friends and family reacted to the game. First Play Impression reviews will only get a single rating of 1-10 (low-high) based on my first impressions of the game during my first time playing. Hopefully I'll get more chances to play the game and will be able to give it a full review soon.