Mayday Games continues its comedic nautical theme from Get Bit! with something of a “prequel” in Walk the Plank! Get Bit! had pirates desperately fighting their way toward shore, but how did they get in the water in the first place? Turns out it was not so easy. The captain was sick of the worst of his crew and decided to give them one last fighting chance not to end up in the shark-and-worse-infested water below.
Keeping up with Mayday’s excellent reputation for production quality, Walk the Plank! is a great looking game. The cards and tile pieces feature art from Mike Groves (aka Poopbird) that perfectly fits the aesthetic of cartoony ultraviolence. An eyeless kraken marks the end of the plank for the unlucky pirates, its spotted tentacles curling from an unearthly light… yet, it has an adorable bib with a fishbone around its neck. The parrots that back each of the cards look stupefied with horror. Pirates are menacing in each of their moves, though they might wear a pink flamingo floatie to make sure they avoid the water as much as they can.
Games begin with the plank pieces being laid out and each player receiving three meeple pirates pieces and a deck of action cards. The first player is denoted with a “Captain’s Favor” token, since he is a sporting fellow after all, which changes to the right each round. Players choose three cards and lay them facedown on the table in order that they wish to play them. Once the cards are set out, they cannot be changed, and so a single miscalculation will turn all those well-laid plans into pure chaos. The mechanic is reminiscent of the classic RoboRally, although Walk the Plank! is much, much faster paced.
Each card has a different action, moving meeples back and forth as well as extending or retracting the plank. Meeples shove each other, run in different directions, and even drag others with them into the gaping maw of the kraken. The powerful cards marked with a skull have a one-round cool down, meaning they must be set aside before being used again. Players will have to think creatively to use every angle to their advantage. Sacrificing one meeple by sawing off the edge of the plank can even be a useful move to eliminate multiple opponent meeples.
Walk the Plank! has a unique set of winning conditions as the game plays to the last two meeples standing. This may be one player or two players with different colored meeples. Or, all of the pirates could result in the deaths of everyone, and no one would win the game. This bizarre set of conditions works very well with the logical, yet wildly insane, theme of the game.
Walk the Plank! is a card game for three to five players aged eight and up. At only twenty minutes, it is a great quick game to play to kill some time or as a warm up to longer matches on game night. Players who thrive on planning will love the logical aspect of planning their round, and other players who like chaos and pressing their luck will love seeing those plans be thrown to the wind.
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