The Kanvas Seas are fierce. As the wind blows us onto our new heading, I fear what lies ahead. My crew is tough and ready to pillage and plunder at a moment’s notice, but there be pirates seeking to take my fortune away from me.
We seek Gold, Iron, Grog and Food, but most important, we seek glory and to be remembered among the great pirates before us…
In Sea Shanties, you are a pirate seeking glory in verse and ballad, hoping to have the most renown (Victory Points) by the end of the game. On your turn you follow the ABCs: Actions, Burying and Collecting.
You can take five actions and each player has five to choose from:
When moving one must be aware of the wind direction. Moving along the wind will give the player additional movement at no cost. Moving against the wind will cause additional an additional movement.
Plundering is key to the game. Treat it like area control. The more you control, the more resources you will receive. Also, each island controlled at the end of the game will add to the player’s renown. A player may steal an island for control by having more crew than the previous player.
If a player’s ship is away from their island, they may abandon their crew off the island and back to the tavern. At the tavern the player may recruit a crew member back onto their ship.
When two ships are adjacent to one another a Sea Battle may occur. Each player will bid their crew members against each other. The player with the higher number wins. Then the winning player takes the difference between the two numbers and pillages that amount from the deck of their opponents ship. So if player 1 bid 10 and player 2 bid 5, then 10-5= 5 resources pillaged from the losing player. There is a cost for the winning player. Since the battle was tough and arduous, that same difference will be applied to the crew and that amount will be returned to the tavern.
After doing five actions, the player then buries any loot that they would like by moving their goods to the treasure map side on their player mat.
After this the player then may collect one good from each island they control. Some islands may have multiple goods.
As different actions are completed players may have a chance of being rewarded with achievement cards called Lore and their special abilities granted to the player called melodies. Together they form a verse. The lore will be set to the side of the player as renown at the end of the game while the melody will go into one of two slots on the player board.
There can only be two. Any additional melodies must replace one of the others. Choose wisely.
Another card that can bring good fortune are Ballads, these cards go the players who have buried 5 or more of certain resources.
The end is triggered when all lore/melody cards have been revealed or when all Ballads have been claimed. All players have one final turn including the one who triggered the end. All players then total their Lore Cards, Islands under control and their Ballads. Whoever has the most Renown wins the game and shall be forever remembered in pirate history.
One thing the publisher wanted to accomplish was no plastics used in the making of the game. The tokens are cardboard, the dials for battle have a small screw, the map is a canvas style bag, the bags holding the wooden pieces are a nice cloth. A lot of consideration was put into this and you can tell that they took pride in each piece of the game.
The only thing to mention is that the canvas tiles do fray a little and will leave a little cleanup on your game mat, but it is worth it for the effect and feel of the game they have made. The Kanvas Sea is Canvas.
Our Family’s Thoughts
Abigail- it is a creative game. The Shanties added a fun aspect. The board is a neat idea and makes it more like pirates. I don’t like that there aren’t many resource tokens and it makes the game a bit harder. it was fun to play though. Recommendation: Try it.
Beth- this game tries to immerse you in the pirate sea life from the canvas map to the pillaging and island stealing with a few songs along the way. It was a fun concept and easy play once we got the hang of it. Some friendly rivalry was good. With 5 people playing, we struggled to get enough resources buried to claim the ballads. By the time we would get close to 5 of one, the resources ran out. Then we also couldn’t steal much from each other because no one was earning more. Maybe we need to be more willing to battle each other earlier in the game instead of hoarding! It was fun and I can see us becoming more confident and ruthless as we understand it more, but since the individual resources don’t count for anything at the end of the game, it’s discouraging when they run out and your islands can’t help you steal the ballads. I say try it as it is, but the game is such a good concept that I would say buy it if we could purchase an inexpensive additional resources pack for 5 players. Recommendation: Try it/Buy it.
Chris- This has been an enjoyable game. The only real complaint is the amount of tokens vs the 5 player count. At lower counts the tokens are more than enough and easier to obtain, but at 4-5 players, it can be an uphill battle to get the resources to win those achievements. A great game can turn sour in those situations especially when playing with our kids. I think more tokens for resources could easily put this into a “Buy it.” I feel that I am like my wife and am in the middle of the road as well. Recommendation: Try it/Buy it.
Daniel- I like how it’s a pirate based game and how it seems to be based on Port Royale. I like the Lore and Melody parts and the songs on it. The map is unique and the battles are fun. I always steal islands but I always lose. I wish there were more resources. Recommendation: Try it.
Elijah- when you go on a wind space you get to blow to the next space and I like that. I like the songs. Some of them are funny because they say “booty”. Recommendation: Try it.
Our Family puts this at a 3.4/5 Young Buccaneers. This would be closer to a 4.6/5 if that higher player count had just a few more tokens to make reaching achievements that much easier.