The Titanic Is Unsinkable
Deckchairs on the Titanic is an abstract game for 2 to 4 players aged 10+. Players take on the coveted role of a deckchair attendant on the First Class promenade of the Titanic. The aim of the game is to gain tips by strategically pushing little deckchair meeples around aiming to finish the round with your customers deckchairs positioned on the perfect spot. The central position is most coveted of all, after all those first class passengers really do want to be the centre of attention whilst travelling on this iconic ships maiden voyage to New York.
In an attempt to stop other players scoring points and optimise your own movement you can call on the help of the deadly iceberg. This can be used to push deckchairs out of the way so you can swoop in and steal the space.
At first glance the game looks like it could be quite complex but in reality when you begin playing you’ll see how perfectly simplistic it is. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this game but I was going to an event enacting the final meal on that fateful night when the Titanic sunk and I thought it would be a good game to play afterwards to fit the theme. I was really pleasantly surprised. My husband is addicted to Chess and after reading some other reviews which compared it to the game I thought I was in for immediate losses, however, I’m pleased to report this was not the case and we were pretty evenly matched.
Setting up the game was fairly easy, although there have been misprints on the boards so be sure to stick your provided stickers on these first to fix the errors. These relate to the amount of turns you get to play depending on players. And turns are really important because this determines how many times you can make 1 action per round. Actions are moving a deck chair, moving the iceberg or placing an attendant. There are different boards depending on the number of players participating in the game and you have more than 1 option so you unlike Chess you can’t just ‘learn’ the best strategy quite as easily because you can mix it up a bit.
The game board area consists of 3 separate parts with the main play part being the promenade itself. To be honest I think the other two parts look nice because they finish of the deck of the ship but are unnecessary to game play. 1 whole board is dedicated to tracking how many tips you have. Whilst it’s nicely styled the extra space in my opinion was unnecessary.
The other board is predominantly to house the compasses. Now, whilst again I think the space is unnecessarily used I did really like the compass component of the game. Essentially you take your turns, 4 for a 2 player game, and then at the end of the round your deckchairs get swept away by the wind. All deckchairs move in the location the compass is facing by 1 space. This means you have to carefully plan where to finish with the knowledge you can get swept away from your prized spot.
Of course you can put some mitigations in place to try to prevent the pesky wind moving your deckchair… for example, get an attendant to stand in the way. Afterall if they can’t keep a grip on your deckchair what good are they to you anyway! If the deckchairs are lined up in such a way that they can’t be moved because there is
nowhere for the final chair to move to, for example because it’s at the edge of the promenade, then your chair won’t get moved. I mean it’s a bit windy but it’s not gale force enough to blow your chair up and over the balcony after all.
The Calm Before The Storm
The game ends when there are no more compasses left to move the deckchairs at the end of your round. At this point you see who has earned the most tips and declare that person the winner.
“She’s made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can sink. And she will. It is a mathematical certainty.”
My final thoughts on the game are mostly positive. I really enjoyed playing the game and I think it’s a game that I will keep coming back to due to the ease of learning the rules, strategy involved and quick play time. However, I would say the theme is a bit gimmicky. It doesn’t need to be the Titanic and in fact given how many people died when the Titanic hit the iceberg and sunk I think some people might see that in slightly poor taste. The game could have just as easily been Deckchairs on the Titanic or ‘insert any cruise liner name’. That said the name sells and I do have to admit as previously mentioned I bought it for the Titanic theme, would I have bought it if it was called Deckchairs on another boat? Possibly, probably not. Would I have regretted that decision having now played the game? Certainly! The abstract strategy is well considered and this game plays well.