Tsuro of the Seas: Veterans of the Seas Game Expansion Review

tsurooftheseasvet_top

The Basics:

  • For ages 6 and up (publisher suggests 8+)
  • For 2 to 8 players
  • Approximately 30 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Visuospatial Skills
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Introduce more dangers at sea!

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek mixed!
  • Parent Geek mixed!
  • Child Geek mixed!

Overview

Mankind knows that certain acts are dangerous, but does them anyway. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, for example, with only a bit of cord and cloth stopping you from hitting the ground hard enough to go “splat”. That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. I go through life doing all I can to AVOID being hurt or putting anyone around me in danger. And yet, I am a huge risk taker when it comes to games. One could easily say I do this because I really don’t have anything to lose. Which is true, but I wonder if my giddy little thrill of “pushing the envelope” is the same as a skydiver’s when they jump from a plane? Nah. Mine is a much bigger rush. This expansion adds more danger and risk at sea to an already risky game.

Tsuro of the Seas: Veterans of the Seas, designed by Tom McMurchie, Jordan Weisman, and published by Calliope Games, is comprised of 1 Mystic Portal tile, 2 Tsunami tiles, 1 Uzushio tile, and 5 Taihou tiles. The level of quality presented in the expansion is the same as the core game, Tsuro of the Seas, which is required to play.

Adding More or Introducing Less

This game expansion will allow the players to do two different things: add more randomness and improve the odds of ship survival. Veterans of the Seas is a bundle of small expansions. Each of which can be introduced separately or can all be used in a single game. This allows players to tailor their game playing experience, leaving out the expansion components they don’t want to use and adding in the ones they do. Each of the game expansion components are summarized here.

Mystical Portal

This tile, once played, allows players to teleport their ship to random locations on the game board using the 2 six-sided dice to determine the ship’s new location. Daikaiju are also teleported if they touch the Mystical Portal, meaning the Mystical Portal, once in play, remains in play. The Mystical Portal can also be “stacked on”, meaning other cards can go on top of it. Regardless of how many cards are on top if it, the Mystic Portal continues to function. This allows players an opportunity to escape troubled waters and hungry dragons, but where they end up is always random. And, sometimes, their new location is worse than their original location.

tsurooftheseasvet_portal

Tsunami

The Tsunami tiles introduce a new threat to the ocean: GIANT WAVES! The Tsunami tile with the gold arrows is added to the Daikaiju stack and randomly comes into play. When it does, it’s placed like a Daikaiju and the blue Tsunami tile is placed so that it’s adjacent to and off the game board. The “2” arrows for both Tsunami tiles are set so they are pointing at each other. The row between the two Tsunami tiles is now a “danger zone” for a player’s ship. If they pass through the row, they must roll a number equal to or higher than the Tsunami’s strength (the number that both Tsunami tiles show and are pointing at each other).  If they fail to do so, their ship sinks! As the Tsunami moves across the game board, it gains speed and strength, but the size of the row it occupies becomes smaller. Eventually, the Tsunami will roll off the game board. When it does, it’s out for the duration of the game.

tsurooftheseasvet_tsunami

Uzushio

The Uzushio (or whirlpool) tile is another ocean threat. It’s shuffled into the Daikaiju tile stack and comes out into play at random. The Uzushio tile only moves when the Daikaijus do not move during a player’s turn and uses the same movement rules as the Daikaiju. The Uzushio is best thought of as the ocean’s “giant mouth” and it’s hungry. It will “eat” (and remove) any Wake tile, ship, or Daikaiju it encounters when it moves. Eventually (hopefully) the Uzushio will go off the game board. When it does, it’s removed for the duration of the game.

tsurooftheseasvet_whirlpool

Taihou

The Taihou (or cannon) tiles provide the players with a much-needed defense against the Daikaiju. The Taihou can be used to remove a Daikaiju from the game board if it becomes a real threat or is in close proximity to the player’s ship. While the Taihou is lethal, it’s also short-lived. They can only be used once and when fired they are removed from the game.

tsurooftheseasvet_cannon

To learn more about Tsuro of the Seas: Veterans of the Seas, visit the game expansion’s web page.

Final Word

This is an entertaining expansion, but it met with mixed results from our gaming groups. Turns out that Tsuro of the Seas is pretty much liked as it is today and a number of our players didn’t think it was lacking anything that needed to be addressed. The overall level of acceptance for each of the game components was fairly positive, but the level of enthusiasm for them quickly dwindled. According to one Parent Geek, “These new tiles are just adding more randomness and difficulty into a game that is already random and difficult. I don’t think it’s necessary.” A Gamer Geek said, “I really like some of these new tiles and would use them from time to time.” A Child Geek said, “I LOVE THE CANNONS!”

The expansion received a mixed bag of love and indifference. The endorsements from our groups accurately show that the expansion was neither rejected or approved, but simply passed over most of the time. All the players liked what the expansion was about, but didn’t feel the need to use it. And when they did, the bits they used reflected what the players thought were the most important aspects of the game the should be enhanced. For example, the Child Geeks were the only group to use the cannons, finding the Daikaiju to be a real bother. The Gamer Geeks enjoyed Uzushio and occasionally introduced the Tsunami. The Parent Geeks were big fans of the Mystic Portal.

What we have here is a game expansion that provides something for everyone, but not necessarily something that will be used by everyone. If you enjoy Tsuro of the Seas, the expansion should be a welcomed addition. Just don’t expect to use it often. When you do, you’ll be happy you have it around, but most of the time I think it’ll just live in the game box…unloved…and unused.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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