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Subject: Multiple Player Review: Meuterer rss

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Choubi Gogs
France
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My avatar is from the chilren's game Monster Mash
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(photo by BaSL)

Check out my other Multiple Player Reviews

Disclaimer

Ok, just so you know where I come from and how the review will go. I'll start by an introduction so you know how I came to know the game and what my expectations of it were, then a little summary of how the game plays and what it looks like, you can skip that part if you're already familiar with it and the rules as I won't go much into detail here. I'll finish by my own opinion and my rating of the game. After that, I'll summarize what my playing group feels about the game.

About me, I started playing and fell in love with heavy games (Serenissima and Caylus). I began to play lighter games later like Odin's Ravens and Kahuna. I like mostly all types of games though I like when these are tense. I also usually don't like heavily luck-dependent games.
My favourites are Through The Ages, Race For The Galaxy, Imperial, Caylus, Dungeon Twister, Monster Mash.
Games I didn't like: Pillars of the Earth, Mykerinos, Caylus Magna Carta, Aton.


Introduction

When I first came accross this game, it was on sale on my Online provider at the ridiculous price of 3 euros. As I always do when encountering such a bargain is go check the game quickly on BGG. Here, I decided that 3 euros was definitely not a big risk. I didn't have many short fillers for 3+ players and the size of the game definitely helped too as I figured I could easily bring it along anywhere I liked. As for gameplay, I wasn't really expecting much. I figured a nice filler, nothing THAT exciting. By the way, look at the size of this thing:


A very very small box...
(photo by da pyrate)


What is the game about

In Meuterer, players are in a ship traveling around the world to buy exotic merchandises (such as wine...) and sell them later on. Beware though as this is not a trading game. Players just happen to ship resources and win points. The center of the game though are the ship's politics. One of the players is the captain of the ship while the rest are his crew. While the captain decides the destinations of the ship, he must try to keep his crew happy or these might make a mutiny.


Resources and combat cards On each card is written the number of this type present in the game.
(photo by netes)

One of the key concepts of Meuterer is the action selection. At the end of a round, players (among the crew) decide which role they want to take. They can either be the lademeister (you control the hoarding of resources on the boat and therefore take more resources for the next turn), the merchant (you are the one bargaining and therefore have an advantage when selling the merchandizes).

The other roles are a lot more fun. If you disagree with the captain, you might take the mutineer. Basically, you will fight it out with the captain to take over the ship. In this task, you will be helped by the deckhand (translation not even correct ebough to be called approximative!), of course, only if another player decides to help you out. Finally, the vice-captain (again, no idea how to translate that!), might get in to the rescue of his beloved captain.


The different roles
(photo by netes)

That's for the politics. Now for the game. The ship starts each turn on a given island. Every players have a five card hand. The captain starts the turn by trying to bribe a potential vice-captain by giving him between 0 and 3 points (to his discretion). Then, all players start by playing in front of them resources from their hand. Once a crew-member passes, he picks a role. Once the captain passes, he has chosen the next destination. Basically the boat will advance by the number of cards he has left. Once everyone has passed, crew-members reveal their roles. If there is a mutineer, that guy chooses another destination (same way as the captain, the ship should advance by the number of cards he has left in hand). Then the skirmish begins. Players, starting with the mutineer start playing combat cards from their hand. The team that wins the fight (mutineer + deckhand vs. captain + vice-captain) gets to go to its destination.


A succesful mutiny
(photo by BakeliteTM)

Moreover, on each island there is a number of points given out. Let's say the captain wins, the ship arrives at Affeninsel (see picture below). The captain gets 2 points (in the ship figure on the bottom right) minus what he had promised his vice-captain. The vice-captain gets those points given out by the captain plus one point. Obviously, if the captain's team has lost, the mutineer gets the points on his destination while the deckhand wins a fixed 2 points. Moreover, the mutineer will start the next round as captain. The losing team wins nothing. Nada. Niet. Rien.


An island
(photo by Seemo)

After this terrible battle, there are points awarded for the resources players played. Basically, on any turn, there will be 2 active islands where the players can trade. On Affeninsel, they can only sell wheat. The player that has sold the biggest amount of the resource gets some points (on Affeninsel, that's 2 points). If there was a tie, both players would win a lesser amount of points (1 point for Affeninsel). The other players win nothing. The merchant wins ties (so he never shares).

Once everything is done and points are awarded, the ship moves to its new location (this island is turned over to show it is active, while an older active island gets passive).

Everyone draws up to 5 cards except the lademeister who draws up to 8 and then discards 3.

The game ends after 9 or 10 turns for 3 or 4 players.

Overall, the game plays in about 30 to 45 minutes.


Random Musings

Now this is a very enjoyable game. It packs a lot in such a small box. There are a lot of difficult decisions to make through out the game, starting with the captain that decides how many points he wants to give away. There is a small component of bluff here as obviously, if the captain declares he will give 0 points away, it might be either because he has a strong combat hand or because he wants others to think that.

The trading is pretty simple and is very fun. You always try to anticipate where the boat is going to land next to keep the good ressources in hand. Also, since every island is active two turns in a row, you have to try and figure out when you can get the most resources sold. Should I sell every ruby I have now, or is 1 enough this turn and I dump the rest next turn to win the trade twice in a row. Can someone beat me this turn? Should I keep it for a sure victory next turn?

The captain must also try to take into account where he'll land, obviously he wants to go the high paying islands, but he shouldn't get rid of too many cards to do so (imagine he is left with one card in hand, that's a pretty big signal to the crew members that the captain can't defend against a mutiny). And when you choose your role late and you see someone is going for the mutiny, should you help him or stick with your captain? Obviously this will depend on how many points the captain is giving out. But it also depends on your cards and which is the next destination. Let's say you have 3 wine in hand, you'd better help the mutineer get to the wine island instead of the captain whose destination sells only sugar!

Of course, luck of the draw has a huge impact on the game. Specially since you only have 5 cards in hand and you are playing almost your entire hand each turn. The game is mostly tactical in this regard. But there is a lot of room left for good play. I remember once I managed to get 12 points in just one turn (the second player of that game finished with 23 after 9 turns so yes, 12p in one turn is a huge deal!). Also, when you DO have a crappy hand, you can always take the lademeister to prepare a next big turn. Obviously this is the only role that doesn't allow you to get points right away but sometimes it is very worth it.

Obviously this is not a big brainburner. It's not even near as challenging as Race For The Galaxy. But it IS a very deeply enjoyable game that you can bring with you wherever you want to. My first game was in a bar in London with two friend sof mine I had come to visit for the weekend.

It might not be the best game ever but I would consider this a good filler and a very good introductory game that gamers will enjoy. To be certain, I only rate this a 7.5 but I can't find any real faults to the game. I guess luck is sometimes too big and plays a big role but most games this is not the case as the role selection allows you to have a very good control over the luck of the draw.

Some of my friends think the game is not very balanced. Some think you cannot win as the captain, others that being captain is too strong. Way I see it, they are all wrong. If you only try to get the most destination points while awarding half of them for the vice-captain each turn, you are not going to win as a captain. What you have to do as captain is basically try to play a bit like everyone else and maximize your trading points. Those destination points should be seen as bonus points only. If you play it like this, yes the captain might seem overpowered. But then again, it's the other players who should NEVER let a captain keep that role for too long. Being captain should be seen as having a rent. Once played this way, you have a very big potential. Never leave a player a rent for long.

Anyway, at 10 euros (at the very worst), what can you risk trying this out?

What my game group thinks

Laurène
Laurène is my girlfriend and was initiated to gaming by me, her first hit was Race For The Galaxy, she loves card games like Dominion, Lost Cities, Court of The Medici, as well as real brain burners like Caylus, Dungeon Twister, Through The Ages and Imperial. She also likes Galaxy Trucker, Princes of Florence and Agricola.
Since Laurène is very busy this year this has become one of our go to games when her brother is around and we are too tired to play something meatier. She enjoys the game for what it is and we often see ourselves playing 2 or 3 times in a row. Definitely not her favourite game, but one she won't turn down often either.

Matthieu
Matthieu likes mostly any kind of game, except the really heavy ones. His favourites are Settlers, Puerto Rico, Lost Cities, Serenissima, Agricola and Princes of Florence but isn't keen on games like Caylus or Imperial.
First time I played in London, that was with Matthieu. Next time he came ot visit in Paris, guess what he requested? Yep that's the thing, the game is short and playable mostly anywhere. That gives it a lot of play time.

Pierre-Henri
PH is Laurène’s brother, Imperial was the first game he played with us. He then played several other games like Hamburgum, Container, Dominion and Race For The Galaxy. He has enjoyed most of these games but he would want more conflictual games
As I said, meuterer is a game we play very often when PH comes by. Its quick play time is a huge asset. Also, after having played meuterer, we are usually all pretty satisfied with our gaming night.

Hadrien
Hadrien, although less compettive than Bassem or me, usually plays well and plays to win. His favourite games are Puerto Rico (the first modern boardgame he tried out with us) or Imperial.
Watched us play one game this summer, then wanted to play it the evening. Immediately requested to play another round after that. I'd say he liked it...

One-Timers
One-timers are all those guys that have shown up occasionnally but haven't played many games. Of course, that might mean they have played more than once this particular game. In the same way, one of the usual gamers might have played this once and still not be referred to as a one-timer. Basically, one-timers are the non-gamers that happen to have played this game.
Two one-timers have played this. Jérôme who was the other Londoner. Jérôme doesn't play often but he does enjoy Imperial a lot. However, this is the game he requests as it is very short.
The other one-timer is David. He started playing with us with Cash n' guns. Once we broke this out, he tried it and loved it. We played 3 times in a row. Just sayin'.
As I said, meuterer has had a huge success with non-gamers. It os not difficult enough to scare them away, nor is it too simple to make it uninteresting. A very good gateway game.

Thanks to BaSL, da pyrate, netes and BakeliteTM for the photos

If you have any comments on how to make these reviews better, don't hesitate to tell me, I'm always happy to hear good criticism. Also, if you see a game in my collection you'd like me to review, go ahead and ask!
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Lucas Dramowicz
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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Nice!
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Martin G
United Kingdom
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Nice review! Meuterer is my favourite of the Adlung-Spiele games I've tried. It could easily be a boardgame if they'd gone with some extra components, but it's great to have so much game in such a samll package.

I think the best English translations of the roles are Maat = Mate and Schiffsjung = Cabin Boy. Not sure about Lademeister.

Couple of minor rules points. You say the Lademeister lets you draw to 8 and then discard 3, but I think the 3 you discard have to be from the new cards you drew, not from your whole hand. And we've always played that it's 8 rounds with 4 players rather than 10.
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Choubi Gogs
France
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qwertymartin wrote:
Nice review! Meuterer is my favourite of the Adlung-Spiele games I've tried. It could easily be a boardgame if they'd gone with some extra components, but it's great to have so much game in such a samll package.

I think the best English translations of the roles are Maat = Mate and Schiffsjung = Cabin Boy. Not sure about Lademeister.

Couple of minor rules points. You say the Lademeister lets you draw to 8 and then discard 3, but I think the 3 you discard have to be from the new cards you drew, not from your whole hand. And we've always played that it's 8 rounds with 4 players rather than 10.


Thanks for the comment, didn't know for the lademeister, thanks, I think we were playing it wrong.

About the number of turns. Yeah, I guess you're right, I always get mixed up and always finish looking back to the rulebook. I don't play it wrong as I always end up checking but I'm pretty sure I have reported wrongly here.
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tom moughan
United States
Rochester
New York
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great review of a great game, IMHO. I stalked this game on trades (CASSOLA MERKLE FANBOY ALERT!) until I finally struck a quick deal for $7 from a local gaming buddy. I am glad I own this and I appreciate its portability, role mechanic, variety on how to gain VP, and theme. I look forward to it getting played quite a bit in the future.

The files here on BGG have nice player aids and it was easy enough to play in german with experienced gamers.
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