Looking at the compact box and the simple stack of cards it contains,
you may be easily fooled--but beware: this is no ordinary card
game. Pick up the thorough instruction booklet and you may be tempted
to throw in the towel quickly, thinking this is a daunting, confusing
game. But when you take the time to process the instructions, learn
the rules, and play a practice hand or two, you will see that this
is a game worthy of digging up and polishing into a family treasure.
With 61 playing cards that are thick and sturdy and the handy
sand timer, you are armed for the task. There is built-in versatility
in the game, in that while it is a bidding game, there is an option
for a non-bidding, novice version of play. This would be especially
great for incorporating slightly younger or less-experienced players.
The suggested age of 13 and up is very reasonable, although there
may be occasions where a mature, strategic, logical 11-year-old
would fall in love with Rowboat as well. There is certainly
no upper age limit, as teens and adults of all ages would find
this game a fun challenge--even verging on addicting. The game
is meant to be played with two to four players, but according to
the Moosetache Games website, it can be adapted for more players
for even further versatility. This is not something we have personally
tried, but we may in the future. I confess that I prefer the two
or three-person versions over the four-person version, as I like
to be in control of my own cards; if you play with four people,
you play in teams. Personally, I need to grow in my own skills
of strategy with bidding and adapting my game plan when another
player throws me a curve, so I am eager for more opportunities
to practice and grow these skills.
The card designs and artwork are fun, unique, and beautifully
artistic. Different cards, game steps, and rules even have fun
seaworthy names like Tide, Knob, Lighthouse, Sandbags, Capsize,
and--obviously--Rowboat. Even the card suits are nautical: Maps,
Waves, Shells, and Oars. With some veins very similar to common
card games like Bridge, Hearts, or Spades as well as features that
are completely unique to Rowboat itself, this game proves that
there is a trick around every bend and that calm waters can quickly
become rough. You must be vigilant at all times and ready to amend
the strategic course you have charted, depending on the tides and
storms brewing around you.
On the Moosetache Games website, you can access truly helpful
links to a ten-minute-long video tutorial as well as a list of
frequently asked questions. The company also openly accepts questions
via e-mail if you cannot find an answer to a question in the instruction
booklet or the FAQs online. And should you tragically lose your
instruction booklet, they are even happy to replace it for you!
They truly seem like a great company that wants to encourage fun
and creativity in new and unique ways.
For $15 (this is a great price for this entertaining and sure-to-be-loved
card game) family game nights can up the ante in enjoyment, laughter,
strategy, and surprise. In our home, we don't just enjoy the challenge
of Rowboat, we also enjoy the fun and imagination it brings to
our family game nights when we are spending time together.