What is this mystery game?
January 16, 2005 1:42 AM   Subscribe

In the back of a booklet of Cheapass Games, they talk about how Monopoly can be envisioned as a game with land mines. Every time you damage someone, the life points they lose are added to yours. Building a minefield hurts you, but once you've built it, it will damage other players whenever they land on the space, etc, etc. Then they proceed to describe a pirate game, which is actually another game that they do not name. I'm going crazy trying to identify this mystery game. [come inside, won't you?]

Here is the description of the game that they give:

In this game, players are trying to capture ships. Arrr. Shiver me timbers. Good so far.

Here's how you capture a ship: you have a handful of commodities like wheat, beans, rum and so on. Each ship has a specific list of these things: two rum and three wheat, for example. Each player in turn plays cards next to a ship, until one of them ha played the exact list of commodities required to take that ship. At that point, he can roll dice to try to capture it. (There are also actual pirate cards: you can play them beside your commodities but the number of pirates you can play is limited by the number of commodities you've already played.)

When one player tries to capture the ship, everyone else can play commodities out of turn to also try to take the same ship at the same time, as long as they've already placed at least one commodity beside that ship.

Sound good? There's more. You can discard commodities from your hand to try to dislodge the commodities that other players have placed on their sides of ships to keep them from horning in on your boarding actions. This requires a die roll, so sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't....My interpretations of these rules is that during the Golden Age of Piracy, the most dangerous scalawags of the Spanish Main were two kegs of rum and a bag of rice. Wild rice.

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So, brave denizens of askmefi, what game are they talking about?
posted by hindmost to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Seafarers of Catan? I've not played it, but the mechanic sounds like the land based Settlers of Catan, so I'm guessing the sea-based one is much like that.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:48 AM on January 16, 2005


Seafarers is pretty much like regular Catan as mechanics go, but this could still be about Catan. Roads, villages and towns are ships. I can't place all the other stuff though, so perhaps it isn't.
posted by fvw at 7:16 AM on January 16, 2005


Catan is what I thought of as well due to the references to the commodities, dice rolls and so on, but I'm not sure whether it fits exactly. Considering that it's one of the better known games I wouldn't be surprised if they used it as an example.
posted by adrianhon at 7:39 AM on January 16, 2005


Right, but hindmost says they're actually describing another, non-pirate game (the way they described Monopoly as a game with mines). So based on that, I would assume it's not Seafarers of anything.
posted by kenko at 8:21 AM on January 16, 2005


The game in question is Corsairs. I'm sure of it.
posted by C.Batt at 8:46 AM on January 16, 2005


Way to miss the point, everybody!
posted by jjg at 2:10 PM on January 16, 2005


Hey, what are you talking about jjg?

I believe I've identified the game. In fact, I've played Corsairs and I'm sure that it's the mystery game because the description matches the rules to a tee.
posted by C.Batt at 2:32 PM on January 16, 2005


I am assuming they are referring to a popular game like monopoly. The closest I can get is Scrabble, with "commodities" = letters, and "ships" = words. Or Clue, with "commodities" = clues, and "ships" = answer. I don' think either of these works.

So it is some sort of game with wildcards and dice rolling (or some other element of luck). I’d really like to know the answer.

C.Batt, you are missing the point! The game described is an analogy to another popular game.
posted by phatboy at 5:58 PM on January 16, 2005


Phatboy, jjg:
I understand your point(s). It comes from the following sentence: "Then they proceed to describe a pirate game, which is actually another game that they do not name."

However, I believe that the sentence is poorly formed. So in order to provide an answer, I interpreted it thusly: "They proceed to describe another, un-named game based on Pirates."

Why?

Because, there isn't another popular game with that exact combination of mechanics, regardless of the theme. The game described is EXACTLY to a T, Corsairs.

Corsairs may have mechanics similar to other games, specifically auction type games. I would be very surprised if it's simply an older game that has simply been renamed and rethemed. If it were the page on the site I linked to in my first post would've stated something to that effect.

(There is an alternate name "Störtebeker", but that's just the original German name, and it has the same theme and rules.)

The other reason I interpreted it the way I did was because the preceding lines describing Monopoly as being analogous to a minefield game, doesn't refer to a specific existing game. Rather, it speaks about the ability to retheme Monopoly in a way that would be consistent with the gameplay.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Sorry about the confusion.
posted by C.Batt at 8:57 PM on January 16, 2005


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