On Monday, i played a game of Shipyard with my regular boardgame group, with ME and SI. For myself and SI it was our second time while for ME it was his first.
The game puts you as the owner of a shipyard and through the selection of different actions you get to build ships. And you do actually build them by purchasing the ship parts, equipment, hiring crew and placing them in front of you, on your shipyard board. The ships you build give you points during the test cruise or as it is called the “shakedown cruise”. In addition, you get points at the end of the game according to the secret government contracts you have in your hand. The player with the most points wins the game.
Initial impressions can be intimidating as the number of components in this game is quite big for a euro game and it takes quite a bit of space on the table.
However, because the game is so thematic once you start playing it every action you take makes sense. You can be overwhelmed by the number of options you have available but that’s something that will change with more plays. It feels more like you are building ships than playing a game. As a reviewer i follow said of this game it’s as if the designer of Shipyard thought of the theme first and then made a boardgame of it.
Our game took around 2hrs which i find ideal. There is almost no direct interaction between the players although you can block other players’ actions. Usually that’s just a bonus of doing the action you want to do and not a reason to do that action. I can see me trying it with 2 players (although the rules are different) as well but not with 4 because I think it will drag.
In our Monday game ME won as he scored more points both from the test cruises and also from the government contracts. I came last even though i had some good government contracts. I started off badly and went downhill from there as i never made a plan of how to prioritise my ship building.
It’s one of the most satisfying games I’ve played in a while and although i am not rating it as high as Dominant Species or Caylus i can see it becoming a favourite in our group.