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Subject: Are You Man Enough To Want To Be a Mermaid? rss

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David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
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Mermaid Rain



A Game of Wave Predicting & Surfing for 3-6 Mermaid Princesses
Designed by Keiji Kariya & Hitoshi Yasuda
Published by Z-Man Games (2011)



It has always been my dream to be a Mermaid, to cover myself with jewels, coral, pearl and other stuff so that I could win the heart of the handsome prince. I’m sure that you have had the same dream and the same feelings.



Mermaid Rain is the game that turns these dreams into reality.


Mermaid Rain was originally published in 2003 by Gentosha Education. The game was originally well received. I am surprised that it has garnered so few reviews and that it has taken eight years for a US publisher to have the guts to publish an English-language version.


The premise behind the game is that the players are mermaids. All the mermaids share the same dream – lose our fish-tails, dress beautifully in the ‘fruits de mer’, have our beauty win the heart of the handsome prince and live happily ever after. In Mermaid Rain the way to achieve this goal is to predict waves, surf waves, pick up treasure from the ocean, pay off the wicked witch and then bedeck ourselves with the remainder of the treasures – the best bedecked ex-mermaid is the winner.



The game is quite good, lots of fun, easy to play and has interesting decisions to be made. I have played it with my grand-daughters and girl-friend – I would be willing to play it with my regular gaming group but suspect that they may have some trouble coping with the theme. The theme is, by the way, pasted-on – there is no similarity between the game and the way that mermaids behave in real-life, nor go about their day-to-day routines.



Playing the Game

At the start of the game each player picks a mermaid of their choice – in my games we have suggested that players choose a colour that most reflects our personality – I have usually taken the white piece as it best reflects my purity of spirit.

The board then has treasures placed upon it – the number of treasures will vary depending upon the number of people playing. There are five different types of treasure – abalone is common, dragon scale is rare and the coral, crystal and pearl are in-between. Some of the treasures are placed face-up while others are placed face-down. The face-down treasures add uncertainty to the scoring at the end of the game.

Players are each dealt seven cards and a number of wave tiles equal to the number of players is revealed.

At this stage we are in the Wave Predicting phase of the game. Players are going to bid cards for the right to have first choice of wave tiles. The dilemma is that the more cards you use to bid with, the fewer cards you will have left to use in the Wave Riding phase of the game.

There are three different suits in the cards – turtles, dolphins and seagulls. Each player will place two cards face-down in front of them – players reveal cards simultaneously. Next players will put out a third card – these will also be simultaneously revealed. The third card could be a pass card or you could increase your bid. All bids will be between 2 and 5 cards – as cards are revealed simultaneously there is some element of tension during this part of the game.



As well as bidding for the right to take the first wave tile there are rewards for each bid.
Five of a kind gives you a free move and a treasure token.
Four of a kind gives you 7 points.
Some of the other combinations give you smaller numbers of points, an extra wave tile or a free treasure of your choice.

Once the bidding is complete you move into the Wave Riding phase of the game.

Each player, in turn, takes a wave tile and places it on the board. The wave tiles come in four different shapes and each have a single icon on the tile – turtle, dolphin, seagull or mermaid. These icons indicate the card that you need to play to ride the wave. Some wave tiles are for shallow water (they will remain for the rest of the game) and others are for deep water (they will be removed at the end of the turn). Because of these differences, it can be fairly crucial regarding which wave tile you actually get. Because of this the bidding phase is quite important and watching other players’ bids develop is an integral part of the game and a requirement for good tactical play.

Players then play cards to jump onto a wave and then play another card to move into a ship-wreck space, under-water cavern space or an atoll space – the three different spaces hold treasures and require a particular card to be played to allow entry – if you don’t have the right type of card you can play any two cards as a ‘wild’ card. Each turn you can take on treasure from each space your enter.

At the end of the game each player must give one of each of the five treasure types to the witch so she will cast a spell that allows us to lose our tail – for each treasure we don’t have we lose five points. Players then score points for majorities of each treasure. If you have a monopoly you score 15 points, if you have the most but not a monopoly you score 12 points, the second most of a treasure will score you 6 points, and so on.

At the end of each turn you may take two unplayed cards into the next round, giving you 9 cards at the start of the Wave Predicting phase.

The game only goes for five rounds at the points you score at the end are added to points that you score during the game to determine a winner.



Components

The Z-Man components are first class. They are actually larger than the original Japanese components. The components all look and feel great. The art-work is beautiful. The whole package just makes you wish you had been born a mermaid.



Thoughts About the Game

It is easy to play but there is plenty of strategy. Working out which cards you can use to bid with and yet retain the cards necessary to move about during the wave riding phase is sophisticated. Weighing up the pros and cons of the immediate reward of a large bid as opposed to the potential benefits of having extra cards as you go into the wave riding phase is also quite interesting.

I am happy to play this with my grand-daughters anywhere, anytime.

Am I willing to play it with my friends at the Western Warriors boardgame club – perhaps not?

I’m not sure that they are man enough to want to be mermaids.



And the Prince?

The Japanese rule-book has this to say about the Prince,

A sinful guy who has charmed Mermaid princesses only because he was drowning. Yes, he is a handsome man in appearance, at least. He is, however, so indecisive in this game, swung around here and there by positive Mermaid princesses. It's as if he were a hero of a soap opera, isn't it? Let us pray for his happiness.






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James Lowry
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da pyrate wrote:
It has always been by dream to be a Mermaid, to cover myself with jewels, coral, pearl and other stuff so that I could win the heart of the handsome prince. I’m sure that you have had the same dream and the same feelings.
I can assure you that all of my dreams have involved having legs.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Rindis wrote:
da pyrate wrote:
It has always been by dream to be a Mermaid, to cover myself with jewels, coral, pearl and other stuff so that I could win the heart of the handsome prince. I’m sure that you have had the same dream and the same feelings.
I can assure you that all of my dreams have involved having legs.
When I dream of legs, they are seldom my own.
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EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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da pyrate wrote:
The theme is, by the way, pasted-on – there is no similarity between the game and the way that mermaids behave in real-life, nor go about their day-to-day routines.

Absolutely loved this line- it cracked me up.
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Regina Harris
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Maylene
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I actually bought this because it was one of the very few female themed games out there (that don't have disney princesses on it and aimed at 4-year -olds). I hope it will be one I can enjoy with my girly-girl daughter when she's bigger.
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ShepparCon was a Blast!
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Mmm...Mermaids.

Nice review.
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Ryan Full
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Thanks for the review. It convinced me to give the game a chance. We bought it as an early Easter gift for our daughter and spent Spring Break playing it a couple times with her. It was surprisingly strategic and she loved having a mermaid figure (pink of course) and the very pretty cards.

So, thanks for the encouragement and bringing to my attention this great family game!
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Gherkin Picklesmith
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I am totally man enough to want to be a Mermaid. I'm buyin' that shit ASAP!
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Excellent review!
 
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Craig Hebert
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A sinful guy who has charmed Mermaid princesses only because he was drowning. Yes, he is a handsome man in appearance, at least. He is, however, so indecisive in this game, swung around here and there by positive Mermaid princesses. It's as if he were a hero of a soap opera, isn't it? Let us pray for his happiness.


Hilarious
 
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