Mayday Games is well known for its high production value games, and Get Bit! is one of the best. Few other games come with customizable figures. Fewer of those have ripping apart those figures as part of the game.
In Get Bit!, players take on the roles of failed mutineers who have been kicked off the pirate ship in shark-infested waters. A survivor will make it to shore, but only if the sharks’ bellies are filled by his or her compatriots. The fun motif is complemented by articulated plastic figures that feature not only detachable arms and legs but also feet, hands, and heads. Two pages of stickers turn the colored plastic into pirates with their own clear personalities. There is the undead skeleton pirate, the aboriginal pirate, tough guys, big goofy guys, and saucy pirate-wenches. Simply as toys, the figures are a great deal of fun. Leftover stickers may be used in whatever creative ways players wish, such as binder or extra action figures.
Once the pirates are assembled, players line them up in random order on the well illustrated mini-poster showing the ship, shore, and sharks. Players each have a hand of cards from one to seven, each number illustrated with their color of pirate in various swimming positions from struggling to stay afloat to a quick-moving butterfly stroke. The images of cartoony pirates fighting their way through stormy waters add an excellent layer of art to play.
Gameplay in Get Bit! is straightforward. Players all pick cards and then reveal to determine a new order. Players with the move to the front of the pack or drop back depending on their cards. Tied players are doomed to not move at all, possibly slipping behind where they could have taken the lead. The player whose figure winds up at the end of the line “gets bit,” and has to remove an arm or leg. Once a player has lost all four arms and legs, he or she is eliminated.
The strategy in Get Bit! is all about reading and manipulating the opposing players. Everyone may develop their own plans of playing low numbers initially and then having higher numbers when everyone else has run out, taking a quick nibble to ensure keeping limbs later on. Other players may charge through their powerful cards and then voluntarily get bit, allowing them to pick up their previously played cards to return as a powerhouse. Still others may play medium cards to skillfully outmaneuver their friends and stay just ahead of the slowest swimmer.
Get Bit! is a card game for three to six players aged seven and up. Games are usually fairly quick, lasting about only twenty minutes. It is largely luck and social-based, making it a good, easy-going game for which players will not have to spend long times calculating. Joking around and speaking in pirate accents are, of course, encouraged, as everyone has a good time being picked apart by shark.
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