Jan 25, 2017

[Games] Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot

My partner and I are rather big fans of Ignacy Trzewiczek and the crazy, creative games that he comes up with. He has a whole philosophy about creating board games that tell stories and craft particular experiences and in this regard I think he's quite successful in this area. And there does not seem to be any real limit to where his creativity will take him.

Thus we come to this game, Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot, which is a pirate-themed games that has players engaging daring adventures on the high seas and some silly games as well. Dice rolling games don't typically seem like the sort of games we'd get into, but this one is too fun to ignore.

And it was nice to see a relatively lighter game compared to some of Ignacy's other creations including Prêt-à-Porter and Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island. It all just goes to show how clever this man is.

Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot is pirate-themed dice-rolling game that has players portraying rival pirates hoping to end up with the most loot. The game supports 2-5 players games last about an hour per session.

In the game, players each have a pirate ship (complete with cardboard pieces) and their fleet of supporting ships as represented by dice. Players leave port and go through a number of adventures hoping to defeat as many enemies as possible while earning as much loot as they can. The core game mechanic is captured by the title of the game.

Each scenario card illustrates how many opposing dice will be rolled. Each player determines how many of their own ships they'll risk in the encounter and all dice together with the scenario dice are "rattled" together and dropped into the game box. This determines ship positions and the players then resolve the scenario actions and take turns trying to move their ships, fight other ships and generally try to come out on top. Players return to port at the end of the round to hire crew, add ship upgrades and generally prepare for another round of adventure.

What I Liked: The game is brilliant and fun and the whole dice mechanic makes for some crazy play. Plus the scenarios are all quite different like some where you are fighting the forces of the queen while others have you risking the wrath of Neptune. But there are special brown scenarios that come into play during later rounds that are all mostly silly games that have the pirates finding different ways to determine who wins the contest of skill.

Upgrading your ship is a lot of fun as well as there are no strict rules on placement given this is a family game. So you can have a ship whose mast trails behind like a tail or cannons that rest underwater. It's a little added quirk of the game but one that really adds to the play experience. Then throw in the metal coins and the colorful card art and you have a nicely creative game set indeed.

What Could Have Been Better: The core game lasts for 5 rounds and admittedly this can feel a little long given a large enough group of players. A game with a maximum of 5 players can last quite a while as you resolve each scenario one after the other. We've had more than one game that had the last two rounds feeling a little rushed / mechanical as you just want to get to the end if things run for too long.

Some of the scenarios don't see all that distinct from others as you just end up rolling dice and fighting your way through. Once you understand the rules, you'll probably find yourself teaching others the full game right away as opposed to spending too much time on tutorial sessions to get folks used to the system.

TL;DR: Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot is a fun game with strong flavor and great replay value for players of all ages. It certainly has you imaging some crazy pirate stories and that's probably the sort of play that Ignacy had in mind. Thus the game gets a good 4.5 crazy challenges for the pirates to face at sea out of a possible 5.

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