Thursday, 20 October 2011

Montego Bay

The Box
Montego Bay is a game for 2-4 players aged 8 and over, designed by Michael Feldkötter  and produced by Queen Games. It plays in about an hour. The contents include 15 wooden coins, 16 cardboard boats, 16 barrels in each of the four player colours, a big and small playing piece, a score marker for each player and 2 neutral pieces the Tallyman and Lazy Jack. Each player will also receive a set of cards numbered 1 to 5 for each of his pieces.
The Playing Pieces
The board is quite big and depicts several warehouses each split into 2 store rooms, 4 loading piers, 2 pubs and a circular path.  The rules are quite clearly written and contain examples for clarification.
The Playing Board
The background is that you are in charge of a couple of dock-labourers whose job it is to load barrels from the warehouses into the waiting ships, whoever has loaded the most barrels onto a ship when it sails gains points. The winner is the player with the most points at the games end.
Stickers for the wooden playing pieces
Your 2 workers are placed in the pubs at either end of the building, movement round the board is in a clockwise direction only, and once moving only one piece can end on any one spot. Should a piece be moved so that it ends its move on another piece, that piece is pushed through to the other side of the warehouse it is next to; however if that space is occupied then your piece moves to the last free space it can reach. In some cases this may mean it will not move at all. Pieces move in a set order which is determined at the start of the game, this is shown by a line of tiles at the end of each turn last tile is moved to the front to begin the next round. Movement is chosen from the set of cards for each of your pieces, all cards are available each turn.
Cards for the Yellow Players Pieces
After all pieces have moved the tallyman walks round the board anti-clockwise and each docker in turns loads a number of their barrels equal to the side of the warehouse it is next to into any of the ships that the player wants in whatever breakdown. If at any point a ship fills all its hold spaces the ship leaves immediately and scores up, all ships move up one space and a new ship added to the end. The ship at Pier 1 also moves off at the end of the round, scoring as it leaves play. The stern of each ship gives points for first and second in 2 and 3 player games and third position in 4 player games. Position in a ship is based on a majority basis. Players also score a point if they put the last barrel in a boat.
Boats 2/3 player on left 4 player on right
Play continues until only 3 or fewer boats are at the piers. Some of the warehouses give coins, most of these are at store spaces where you have to take barrels off of ships. Three coins can be used to hire Lazy Jack, he then goes on a space with another of your dockers and moves first using one of that docker’s cards. It is expensive, but other than that the coins are only used at the end for a tie break.
Three of th warehouses each with 2 store rooms
Wendy Alan and I played it three player and it worked very well, playing in about 45 minutes and that was with Wendy leaping in and out of the kitchen cooking a crumble and home made custard. It is a light game with enough second guessing of other players movement choices to add an air of excitement.

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