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Board Game Review – Walk the Plank!

2014 November 22
by Michael Schroeder

If you love pirates and/or chaotic gameplay, I encourage you to read my review of, Walk the Plank! by Mayday Games.

Walk the Plank! - Mayday Games

Walk the Plank! – Mayday Games

Designer: Shane Steely & Jared Tinney

Number of players: 3-5

Age: 8+

Time: 20 minutes

What’s the game about?

A description from the publisher…

In Walk the Plank!, players represent the worst pirates in a captain’s crew. The captain has rounded you all up because you’re all lazy and stupid and simply not worth the rum and loot you get paid. That said, the captain has decided he’s willing to keep two of you in his crew. To prove you’re worthy, you will fight amongst yourselves, trying to shove other players’ pirates off the end of the plank while keeping yours alive!

Basic idea in my own words…

Walk the Plank! is a chaotic, filler that’s simply meant to be fun. If you’re looking for deep and complex strategies, I’m telling you right now, look elsewhere. But if you love randomness and unpredictability, you’ll love, Walk the Plank! by Mayday Games.

In Walk the Plank! you are a set of lazy and stupid pirates that is simply trying to keep yourselves from being victim to Davey Jones’ Locker. Sitting in front of you will be board that represents your ship and attached to that ship is 3 smaller pieces that represent the plank. At the end of the final piece of the plank is Davey Jones’ Locker, which you are trying to avoid. If one of your 3 wood pirate pieces falls in, you lose that piece, and hope not to lose the others. You have have essentially 2 more lives to be one of the final pirates standing.

Setup (express setup):

  • Setup the game board pieces in the center of the playing area and in reach of all players
  • Give each player cards in one color and that players respective color pirate pieces (3) go on the ship along with the others
  • Randomly select a starting a player and give them the starting player marker.  You’re ready to begin!
Walk the Plank! in action, courtesy of BoardGameGeek.com

Walk the Plank! in action, courtesy of BoardGameGeek.com

The Game:

The turns in Walk the Plank! are really simply. You must secretly select 3 cards from your hand and lay them down, one at a time, from left to right. On your extreme left is the first card that will be played. The card positions are 1,2 and 3. Each player is making their card decisions simultaneously, then when all players are ready, the starting player turns over their first card and shows everyone. The first action on the flipped over card is performed, then the next player flips their first card and that card is resolved, this continues till all player’s cards have been revealed.

The decisions you are making has to do with the current set up of the pirates on the plank as well as how many plank pieces are left out of the available 3. In order to win the game, you have to have at least one of your pirates left alive, along with another player’s pirate. The last 2 pirates left in the game, win! There are other alternate ways of winning if you are the only pirate left and I believe, no pirates can end up winning, too.

You probably want some details on what the available cards to play are:

  • Shove Left or Shove Right – with Shove left and shove right, you choose a player thats physically sitting to your right or left and if they have a pirate on the same space as you, you can shove their pirate towards the end of the Plank
  • Shove Anyone – this card is similar to shove left or shove right except you can shove anyone, but if only your pirates are on the same tile as you, you must shove one of your own tiles
  • Extend the plank & retract the plank – these cards allow you to either remove a plank tile or add it back to the playing area. If there are pirates currently standing on the retracted plank, they all fall in!
  • Drag to sea & pull to ship – these cards allow you to bring another pirate along with you one space towards doom, or back towards the ship
  • Run around – this card enables you to move one of your own pirates either 1 space  towards doom, or 1 space towards the ship. If all of your pirates are on the ship however, one of them must go towards Davey Jones’ Locker!
  • I don’t want to die! – this card enables you to move one of your pirates back towards the ship either 1 or two spaces
  • Charge! – Charge enables you to move one of your pirates 1 space towards Davey Jones Locker and on the tile you end up on, another pirate pawn is knocked one tile towards doom, or to their death, including your own. Charge! has no effect if it is the first card played on your turn.

Some cards have limits as to when they can be played. Some cards have a skull symbol on them. You can play these cards like normal but at the end of the current turn, you must set them aside as you cannot play cards with skulls two turns in a row. At the end of the next turn, you can move those set aside cards back into your hand to play.

Breakdown

Components: 3/5

The cardboard stock quality of this game is pretty good. There’s honestly not a lot in the box, but there is just what’s needed.

Theme: 2/5

I enjoy Pirates. But a game like this has an extremely goofy angle and Walk the Plank! is a filler game! So for those reasons the degree of pirate theme is not my favorite but it certainly should be edible for most players.

Luck Factor: 5/5

There’s an extreme amount of randomness, chaos and luck in this game. It’s the nature of the game. I wouldn’t try to have any long term strategy in this game. Having short sighted tactics is more appropriate. There is so much luck based on what others play and due to the nature of this game, I doubt anyone will commit themselves to a moment of AP (Analysis Paralysis) and study other players possible moves at any great length.

Strategy: 1/5

As I mentioned before, Walk the Plank! is more about instant gratification through short sighted tactics, rather than long term strategy. There’s so much chaos going on that the strategy rating I give is a 1/5.

Overall Feelings: 3/5

I came into Walk the Plank! with not many high expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fun that could be had. This is absolutely a filler game, and if your playing partners can only deal with serious economic games, don’t bring this out with them. Play this game with people that like to play games more for games, and not a simulation. The game is so chaotic that there were multiple times when other players and myself accidentally killed off our own pirates but that’s all part of the fun!

Review copy kindly provided by Mayday Games.

Thank you to the kind members of Board Game Geek for providing images of gameplay.

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