Ahoy folks! Today, we’re plundering islands, taking resources, setting sail, and hiring pirates. Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me. We’re playing Sail Away by Marc Andre. He’s the designer that brought us Splendor and Majesty for the Realm. This is a 2-4 player game that involves set collection and pick up and delivery. The game plays in about 30-45 minutes depending on player count. Oh, did I mention this is produced by Mattel? The same Mattel that makes Barbie and Hot Wheels. I found this game at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet for $7. Let’s get into the game and see how it plays.
The game comes with 36 Ship Cards, 13 island cards, 30 small silver coins, 16 large gold coins, 28 crates, 12 pirate crates, 12 island claim posts, 6 pirate actions cards, 6 public objective cards, 4 player boards, and 1 common board.
To set up, shuffle the island cards, ship cards, pirate action cards, and public objective cards. Each player gets a player board, picks a color for their crates and claim posts. Place 6 crates, 2 pirate crates, and 2 claim posts on your board. But wait, you’ve got an extra crate and pirate crate. These go to the right of the board and can be unlocked in the game when you claim a ship and land it there. Each player gets 4 small coins and 1 secrete objective. Deal 6 ship cards to each player, they keep 3 and shuffle the others into the deck.
The common area is set up now. Draw 3 pirate action cards and dock them into the common board. Then draw 3 ship cards and dock them into the other side of the common board. Now, draw islands equal to the number of players plus one. So 3 islands for a two player game, or 5 for a 4 player game. They go face up in the center of the table. Now, we’re ready to play.
On your turn, you place two crates. These can either be regular crates or pirate crates. They have to go to different islands, unless you pay 2 coins to bribe your way through the port. Pirate crates can go on a pirate action card to claim that ability. Your crate stays there until someone pays 4 coins to remove all crates from pirate action cards. Pirate crates can also go on top of other players regular crates. You’re a pirate after all, might as well plunder from other pirates. Regular crates can only go on islands to claim resources.
Once an island has all the resource spots covered, the active player lays claim to it. That is the player to finish off the island puts their island clam post in the center. They usually get coins for this. Starting with the current player, you’ll move the resources from the island to your ships. If you miscounted and don’t need a resource, you can sell if immediately for 1 coin. When all resources are moved from the island, discard that island and replace it with a new one from the deck.
Why do you want resources? To finish ship orders. Look at your ship cards, those symbols all need to be filled to sail the ship and collect the points. Once a ship has all the resources filled, it sails. The player gains all crates from it, puts them on their player board, and it docks into one of the spots on the player board. Now, you pick one of the face up ships from the common board, put that in front of your player board, and draw a new ship card for the common board.
Let’s look at a couple of rules a little closely. When you place a pirate crate on top of another player’s crate, when the island is claimed you get that resource unless the other player pays you 2 coins as a bribe to move on.
Next are the pirate action cards. These don’t have any symbols or text on them. They just have spaces where pirate crates can go. If there’s not a square open to place one, you can’t go there. The rules book has a list of what the cards do, but they range from the following. Pay 1 coin to “buy” a crate from another players ship card. Smuggle a crate from an island before it is claimed. Force a player to discard a ship card, any crates on that nets that player 2 coins each. My favorite is the one that lets you swap one of your ship cards with another player. Those crates stay on it.
Lastly, the abilities that launching ships get you. Each ability can only be used once. At the left, that ability lets you place 1 additional crate your turn. The next one lets you place a crate immediately on a ship resource. The next one let’s you place your claim post on any island immediately. You claim that island when it’s ready to be claimed. Next is returning one regular and one pirate crate to an owners supply. Lastly, the one that unlocks a extra regular and pirate crate.
Once a player has launched 5 ships, the game is over. Count up points. Each ship will have a points value. All coins will net you 1 point per small or 5 points per large coin. The player with the most resources that match the public objective wins it. They get a bonus of 10 points. If there is a tie for it, no one gets the bonus. Next, you get 1 point per resource on your ship card that matches your secrete objective. The player with the highest points wins.
I have to be honest, I haven’t played Splendor, and I didn’t recognize Marc Andre’s name when I bought this game. I just saw the price tag and thought it would be worth a shot. I thought this was a good game for a Mattel game. I instantly thought of the mass produced kids games like Mouse Trap, Yeti in my Spaghetti, and those likes. Boy, was I surprised. The game came out in 2016. Component wise, they work. The cards and player boards are decent, and the player crate markers are a plastic. They are all distinct colors, so you can easily tell them apart. I wonder if painting them would really make this game pop, as all the other components look nice, then you have a bright colored piece that is hard to tell the detail. The islands are nice and chunky card board. For a mass market company, Mattel has made a decent game with components. The box insert is even textured to look like wood on a ship. The game is easy to play and easy to teach. It has some take that with the pirate action. It’s a little thinky where you’re trying to plan out future moves. I was able to play this one with my kids, as it’s very simple moves. The pirate action cards are an interesting. You get a random three each game, so it adds to the replay-ability. Overall, I’m keeping this in my collection for the moment. It’s an easy one to teach, fast one to play, and is almost like a trophy for the price I got it at. I’d recommend this to anyone that’s looking for an intro to pick up and delivery game that’s fast and easy enough to play with kids.