'Ships' is a board game that brings to life the history of shipping, from the age of the ancient Phoenicians to modern times.
During the course of the game you will be engaged in building ships, placing merchants and taking control of cities. The development of new types of ships is represented by the track around the central map. Your merchants are represented by cubes, which you will place on the board to gain goods. Goods can then be sold to gain money. Taking control of cities will increase your warehouse and banking capacity.
The central map shows Europe, with other locations around the world placed around it. At the beginning of the game you will be placing pieces in the Eastern Mediterranean. Later, as new territories are discovered, you will gradually spread around the world.
Each player has their own display, on which they will keep goods, gold and merchant cubes. The display shows you the various actions available to you. The number of actions you have depends on the era.
Your merchant cubes are your lifeblood, and will cycle during the game. If you run low on these cubes then your options will be restricted.
The game is divided into three eras, the Galley era, the Sailing Ship era and the Steamship era. Certain cards will be available depending on which era it is. When a new era starts more cards will be made available. These cards offer additional actions and benefits.
Your objective is to score more victory points than your competitors. Timing is important as the rewards for having merchants on the board increase as the game progresses.
'Ships' is not a simple game and will take a few plays to master. It is very important that you understand the rules governing the placement of ships on the outer track and how that relates to the placement of merchant cubes and city discs.
The game is for two to four players and will play in around two hours.
If you enjoy the more complex, economic type of game, you will find much to like here.