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Filip Milunski’s game of fishing in the Baltic Sea is a prime example of how to make a great game with just a very simple mechanic.

The map depicts the Baltic Sea with two depths, shown as light blue and dark blue (I think you can figure out which is which) and within these areas are determined movement spaces, you can see them clearly on the map below.

The fish are shown on round cardboard counters which are randomly distributed onto the board, 1 in each light blue sea section and 2 on each dark blue sea. There are also counters showing Amber - this can be scored as 1 VP per counter but has more use when the Commercial Contract option is in force.

The players each have a number of (wooden) ships, one of which they place in any of the harbours, Kobenhavn, Stockholm, Gdansk, Riga and Sankt Peterburg - two or more players can begin from the same harbour. Each harbour has a randomly determined fish requirement - warehouse where the type of fish or fishes shown can be delivered to. To deliver fish the player must have a ship in the necessary harbour and that ship has to be in contact with the other ships in the fishing fleet.

Players can perform 3 actions per turn. Sailing one ship - this means placing or moving one of their ships adjacent to another of their ships, Fishing - removing one Fish token from any one space they have a ship in, and Unloading - with a ship in harbour you can unload caught fish to your warehouse.

Every time an area has no ship and no fish in it a new fish token (or tokens) is (are) placed there randomly from the supply. In the supply there are six Clock counters. Each time one of these is drawn the players have to position one of their Company counters onto their board - this is a sort of bet on which fish they will catch - they have the chance to multiply the value of the fish.

One of these counters is a tax of sorts - the players have to discard two fish. They have to do this at some time during the game but they have five Clock counter draws to do so.

There are two optional rules - demand management, which is about controlling what fish are required at the ports (this is okay but doesn't add much to the game really) and Commercial Contract which gives the players more meaning to the Fish they are aiming to catch, as the contracts offer an opportunity to score VPs.

This is a super game for all players.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015