Obviously you need all the bits to construct the ship itself, like the hull, cabins, sails, propellers, smokestacks, lifeboats etc. you know, all the bits that make a ship... shippy. But then you need a bunch of other stuff too, like a crew. You can't launch a ship without a Captain, and if you're putting cranes on your ship then you need a Businessman, and if you're going to arm your ships with cannons then a soldier is necessary too.
So you need to buy ship parts and hire crew, and you can employ specialists that will make this easier. However, you also need to test your ship when it's ready, so you need to rent canal space and make sure you have enough space to test your ship when it's up to full speed...
Shipyard is about building ships, and getting VPs from the 'value' of each ship (based on its speed, number of crew, and how well equipped it is) and how well it does in its 'shakedown cruise' test. You also have secret government contracts which will give you extra VPs at game end.
All the familiar Euro mechanisms are here, with worker placement, action selection, resource management, plus rondels (multiple!) and tile laying. It all works really well, and every component makes sense and is easy to understand. The tricky bit is the timing - your ship WILL be tested on the canals as soon as it's built, BUT you won't get any points if it doesn't have a Captain or if your canal isn't long enough. So you're trying to make sure everything is in place (equipment, crew, canals) to score maximum points when the ship hits the water.
I really like this game. I like how the rondels all work together nicely, I love customising the ships, and there's a real sense of achievement when you launch your ship and grab a ton of points from its test. I made a few mistakes in this first game, and will probably choose my ship parts more carefully next time (note to self: get a propeller!) and consequently was thoroughly schooled by young Daniel - but it's a great game and I hope we can play it again sometime.