Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Dead Men Tell no Tales

Get out with the treasure or die!

In this 2-5 player cooperative game, you all take roles of various pirates who are boarding a ship that is both on fire AND crawling with skeletal undead with the pure goal of finding treasure chests (more if you have more players) and getting them off the vessel (unless you do hard mode in which case you must ensure the skeleton captain is not on the board too). Dice rolling combat to claim these treasures is mandatory, as is pulling out the treasure/guard token from the bag in the first place which means there's a fair amount of luck involved here. There are steps to mitigate the rolling somewhat, but if you don't dice well or the treasures just don't appear till the end then it's almost impossible to win.

Leaving 5's and 4's will probably end the game pretty quick.

On top of that, each turn a new tile is explored and attached to the current map (starts with four and first turn opens 2 tiles) which "builds" the interior of the ship and each of them is on FIRE (you didn't forget about the fire did you)! These are all tracked via yellow and red D6s, and should the bad guy "revenge" card pulled at the end of each players turn dictate it, all matching dice shown on that card go up by one. If a dice gets to six the room explodes causing a chain reaction and forcing all nearby rooms to go up by one as well. This fire mechanic really reminds me of Flashpoint: Fire Rescue and is quite cool.

Other than the fire you might also be getting swarms of skeleton crew coming out. These little fellas are easy to beat (simply use and action to remove one) but if you run out of them when you need to put more the game ends in defeat! On top of juggling all that, you need to keep an eye on your stamina which takes damage if you run, move into a room with higher fire (or any room with fire if you are carrying treasure), or lose combats. You can rest to recover some of that, but do you really have the time to?

Luckily it's pretty fast to set up and take down so it's a challenging game that you can call upon rather quickly if your group is into that sort of thing. To be crystal clear this game is tough and you will lose a lot. Only recommended for crews that can take the punishment!

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