Abandon Ship board game

by The Beast!

(Boardgame Beast HQ)

Click to buy Abandon Ship board game from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!Abandon Ship board game
Board game manufacturer:
AEG/Reiner Knizia
Number of players:

Quick Verdict

Abandon Ship is a cute and funny board game that is a good 10-15 minute filler between longer games, or a warm-up for a new session. It’s colorful and fun to play for kids of all ages.

The game and gameplay

As we all know, rats are the first to desert a sinking ship, and this game creates a unique ‘rat race’ — get your rodent up to the top deck and escape to glory before the ocean liner goes down.

The board is a two-piece affair, with a sliding ship in the center marked out with 36 deck spaces. The rats begin on space 10. All seven rats have their own color-matched die, plus there’s a white die which can affect any of the rats.

Each player takes a life saver, which secretly reveals three rat colors. The aim of the game is to get your three rats to the top of the deck in second, third and fourth place if possible (first to reach the top scores no points).

Click to buy Abandon Ship board game from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!Movement is done by throwing all the dice and choosing one rat to use one die on. You can either use the die colored like each rat; or a die which affects your choice of rat. For example, select the purple six and move the purple rat six spaces forward.

You remove the die once it’s used, except for dice rolls with an x beside them; these stay in the game for another player’s throw. Die rolls with a circle around them may be used on any color rat.

Anchors move that color rat backwards until they reach the nearest rat behind them. The white die also has an arrow symbol, which lets your chosen rat move ahead to catch up with the next rat.

Click to buy Abandon Ship board game from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!Once all but one dice have been removed, the next player to act draws a sink token. This makes the ship sink from three to eight decks. A rat that hits the water during the sinking phase drowns and is removed from the board, and the same color die is removed from the game.

If two rats are together when the water reaches them, they tread water until one of them moves ahead; the other one then drowns.

Landing on cheese spaces allows the first rat there to win a cheese (and one or two victory points) for that player. The first rat “home” scores no points, while second, third and fourth score 5, 3 and 2 VPs. The winner of the game is the player who collects the most VPs.

Pros and cons

Click to buy Abandon Ship board game from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!Abandon Ship is a simple board game that almost any age kids would enjoy, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t get a lot out of it either. It’s a colorful and fun distraction that is soon finished, allowing for multiple games, or to fill a little time.

The board is simple but well-executed. It does require quite a large table, as the sinking ship expands into the play area.

The 11x die seems imbalanced and can spoil an otherwise close game; we play this as a plain 11, so it’s removed if it’s used.

While much of the game relies on the luck of the dice rolls, there is a fair bit of strategy.

The verdict

Abandon Ship board game is well worth a try. If you have a mixed-age family gathering, this will be very popular. A good addition to a family Christmas celebration or a country cabin’s board game collection!

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