Walk the Plank!
“Walk the Plank!”, a game that blew its Kickstarter goal out of the water earlier this year (2013), features both dumb pirates and Davy Jones’ locker…you can see where this is headed. In this quick card game for three to five players, players will be trying to push and shove other pirate crews off of the plank and to their doom while trying to safeguard their own. Before we take a quick look at the components and how the game is played, I’d like to quickly thank the folks at Mayday Games for providing me with a press copy. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because I covered their recent Kickstarter success, “Click Clack Lumberjack”.
Ship & Plank Tiles – The game includes one large, square-shaped ship tile and three smaller, square-shaped plank tiles.
Davy Jones’ Locker & Captain’s Favor Tiles – The Davy Jones’ Locker tile represents the sea monster that will eat pirates unfortunate enough to fall off of the plank. The Captain’s Favor tile reminds players as to who goes first during a particular round.
Pawns & Cards – There are five sets of pawns and cards, each represented by a particular color. Players will be claiming one of these sets before the game begins.
Setup & Gameplay
The large, square-shaped ship tile and the Davy Jones’ locker tile are placed somewhat apart from one another, with the three smaller square-shaped plank tiles placed in between them. Each player will get pawns and cards of a particular color, with the pawns initially starting on the ship tile. The first player is chosen randomly, who then receives the Captain’s Favor tile.
The game is played over a series of rounds. Each player chooses three cards from their hands and places them face down in the order that they’d like them played. Once this is done, the person with the Captain’s Favor tile flips over their first card and performs the action listed. The other players follow suit in a clockwise fashion around the table. This process continues for the second and third cards as well. Once the round is complete, players take back all of the cards they’ve played back into their hands, with the exception of those with skulls listed on them. Cards with skulls must be placed off to the side and can’t be used in the next round. The Captain’s Favor tile is then given to the person on their right and travels counter-clockwise around the table over the course of several rounds. This ensures that the person to play their card last in the previous round, goes first in the next.
The cards themselves list actions that involve shoving other pirates to their doom, retracting or extending the plank, and etc. Essentially, players will be trying to keep their crew alive by keeping them on the plank and away from Davy Jones’ Locker. If a pirate pawn is pushed off of the plank or if a plank tile is retracted with pawns on it, they are eliminated from the game. Play continues until there are only two pirates left, or until there is only one color left standing. Once either occurs, the round plays out as the final round and the game ends. Whoever has pirates remaining on the board, wins the game!
The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played. For more information, please check out the links at the end of this article.
The box itself is on the smaller side, making it ideal for travel. You won’t be able to place the game in your pocket, but it fits in a backpack or gym bag without a problem. The components were pretty solid and functioned well. The card art was colorful, but more importantly, I appreciated the fact that visual representations of the action were shown on the bottom of the cards. This made play a whole lot easier and kept the guesswork of card actions down to a minimum. The manual was clear and concise…it didn’t take long for us to dive into this game.
Like MayDay Games’ previous release (Get Bit!), this game not only involves a little bit of strategy, but requires players to pay attention to what others might do on their turn. It’s a bit easier when you’re the first player up on any given round, but it can be a challenge to get your cards to work for you when you’re the last one to go. You never know how the board will change by the time your turn rolls around and the card you’ve chosen may end up setting you back rather than keep you competitive. The game can be a bit random because of this, but when I began treating “Walk the Plank!” as a light family game, I didn’t seem to mind as much. When you’re playing the game with folks who don’t care for strategic gameplay or reading tells, it can be hard to predict what they might do…which in turn affects the cards you might end up playing.
After a few games, the kids and I determined that we did indeed enjoy our experience. Vinnie (12), being no stranger to strategic play, made a real effort in trying to predict where his pirates would be when it came time to reveal one of the cards he chose. If Vinnie and I both had a pirate on the same plank for example, he would assume I’d push him forward and possibly play a “I Don’t Want To Die!” card right after my action to ensure his safety. “Walk the Plank!”, as a result, served as a great family-friendly game…at least in our household. It plays pretty quickly too, which works out great for nights were you and your family just don’t have a lot of time to spare on games or what have you. I think it would also serve as a good filler for longer play sessions, just as its predecessor “Get Bit!” did. The twenty dollar price tag (as of 9/2/13) is on par with other games of it size (“Jambo”, “Lost Cities Card Game”, etc.), so no complaints there. All in all, it’s worth checking out.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Walk the Plank!” by visiting the following websites: