The Shipwreck Arcana Review

The Shipwreck Arcana is a card game of deduction and teamwork, from Meromorph Games. I picked up the print and play version of it while doing some research for next semester's game course, and sat on it for a while. I was initially taken by the artwork – a cool Mike Mignola-style take on pseudo-tarot cards – but the instructions weren't great.

It was only a week or so later that I read through the rules a couple of times, and got it. I know, I'm not the smartest.

It's a cooperative game, in which each individual player is trying to get the other players to guess the number of the chit in the their hand. Wrapped up in a pretty cool aesthetic.

I'm normally not a fan of cooperative games. I find they tend towards the one armchair leader – perhaps it's the particular coop games I've played, that just don't have the strategic options to actually have valid differing opinions on strategy. I'm also not saying that I'm the type of person who takes over a coop game – I tend towards not doing so. Sometimes to the detriment of my enjoyment of the game. Oh, and I also play clerics in D&D.

Anyways! The cool thing about the Shipwreck Arcana is that it's coop, but rotates ownership, so no one person can dominate. Each player takes a turn being the active player, in which they decide between two numbered chits to place onto one of four cards, each of which reveals some information about the placed chit. The other players then need to guess what the other chit's number is.

It's a bit like the bidding round of Bridge, in which the group are trying to use logic and knowledge of the active player to win the game. The active player tries to be as logical and informative as possible with one move, and the other players then try to deduce their move.

I have yet to try the game in a group – I ordered the physical version, and it'll take some time to arrive here in NZ. I'm eager to see how it plays!

Key Mechanics: Logic, cooperation, deduction, personality

Standout Mechanic: how one card has multiple uses through the Doom and Fade mechanics.

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