Blog Gaming Kickstarter Reviews Tabletop Games

Reaping the Rewards: ‘Tricky Tides’

Studying Time: 9 minutes

Tough Tides is a recreation that was efficiently funded on Kickstarter in 2018 and is now out there. In Reaping the Rewards, we return and take a look at completed versions of video games we reviewed once they have been on Kickstarter.

What Is Tough Tides?

Tough Tides is a fun new recreation set in the Age of Sail.

In the recreation, you take on the position of the captain of a ship. Your aim is to select up and ship as many products as you possibly can. However be careful–these tides are certainly tough, and sometimes you’ll be able to’t go in the path you need. Oh, and there be monsters here.

Tough Tides is for 2-Four players. Video games last round 30-45 minutes (which is wonderfully brief for a pick-up-and-deliver recreation). There are some small items (the items you’re delivering are 1/4″ picket cubes), so it’s not going to work for actually young youngsters, however the recreation could possibly be performed and loved by youth a lot youthful than the beneficial 12+.

The sport is accessible for $30 from Amazon, or it is best to be capable of order it out of your friendly native recreation retailer.

Tough Tides Elements

All the things in the box (besides the rulebook.) Picture by Rob Huddleston

Included in the recreation are:

  • 12 island cards
  • Four ship pawns
  • 32 navigation playing cards
  • 36 order cards
  • 78 goods cubes
  • 4 ship boards
  • 4 monster standees
  • Four anchor tokens
  • 4 monster sightings cards
  • 1 first player token
  • 1 material drawbag
  • 12 event playing cards

The Islands cards. Image by Rob Huddleston

The island playing cards, which are 2.75″ squares, are nicely designed. Each card has a directional arrow pointing north, an indicator of the number of goods cubes the island can have, and an area for an order card. Eight of the playing cards also have an indicator displaying which ship can start the recreation on that island, while the remaining four show which monster begins there. That’s lots for that amount of area, and but it’s all very clear and straightforward to know. So kudos to the designers for that.

A number of Orders cards. Picture by Rob Huddleston

The order playing cards are likewise nice. Additionally they need to cram a whole lot of information in: the kinds of goods to be delivered, the number of points gained for the supply, and the monster symbol. Additionally they have to suit visually onto the islands, and again, the design is such that they effortlessly accomplish all of those.

One full go well with of Navigation playing cards. Picture by Rob Huddleston

The subsequent design problem the recreation’s creators needed to unravel was the navigation playing cards. These are a essential element of the recreation, as they’re the basis for the trick-taking part of the recreation. Each card consists of a compass, with a number of points highlighted, displaying the course of journey allowed if the card is performed. Additionally they have a number from 1-Eight, displaying the relative power of the card, and a go well with, expressed as each a colour and a monster symbol. The go well with’s shade is proven each in the colour used to spotlight the compass and with a small arrow in each corner, which additionally helps let the participant know at a look which path north is.

All of the cards are very top quality with a linen end.

A totally loaded ship. Image by Rob Huddleston

The ship boards are thick two-ply cardboard with cutout areas to put the cubes in the ship’s retailer. This marks an enchancment over the prototype (and it’s one among the few elements that’s materially totally different from that earlier version), as the cubes keep placed on the new boards. There’s additionally a picture of the ship, with the participant colour represented by the shade of the ship’s sails, and the one little bit of fast reference the recreation wants–the conversion charges for the numerous goods.

The Monster standees. Image by Rob Huddleston

The monster standees are good thick cardboard. They come with a set of matching plastic stands.

The Monster Sighting cards. Image by Rob Huddleston

The monster sighting playing cards are very straight-forward, merely displaying the 4 monsters and the factors gained for amassing orders with that monster. The opposite elements are likewise primary but completely useful: the items are normal wooden cubes, and the ships are custom-cut picket items. The first player token is a small picket barrel, which is a pleasant touch. The drawbag is top quality that may probably last for many play periods to return.

Find out how to Play Tough Tides

Tough Tides combines trick-taking with pick-up-and-deliver mechanics.

The Aim

The objective of the recreation is to be the participant with the most gold at the finish of three rounds of play.


Setup for the recreation is pretty straightforward. Choose a starting participant (the rules say “the player who was most recently on a boat” goes first) and give them the barrel token. This participant is now the chief for the first round. Each player then picks a colour and takes the ship and the ship board for that colour. All of the items tokens are positioned in the draw bag, after which each player aside from the leader then draws a goods token at random from the bag and places it on their ship card. Also deal the four monster sightings playing cards to the gamers, which they will take a look at however should hold face-down.

The islands set up for a Four participant recreation. Picture by Rob Huddleston

Shuffle the twelve island cards and lay them out in a 3×Four grid. As wanted, rotate the playing cards so that each one of the islands are correctly oriented to face north. (For someone like me who is usually a bit OCD in recreation setup, it’s good to see a recreation that requires it.) In a three-player recreation, flip the two islands which might be start spaces for the unused shade over to make open sea areas. In a two-player recreation, flip over the 4 tiles for the two unused colours. Then, every participant chooses one among the two starting islands for his or her shade and locations their ship on it.

Next, shuffle the order playing cards and place one face-up on every island in the designated spot. Then, draw goods randomly from the bag and place them on every island based on the number printed on the card.

A beginning hand. Image by Rob Huddleston

Shuffle the navigation playing cards and deal 8 to each player. In a four-person recreation, this will probably be all of the playing cards. In two- and three-person games, set the additional cards to the aspect with out taking a look at them.

Each player seems to be at their hand. It’s extremely really helpful that they rotate the cards so that they all face north when taking a look at them. Orienting my cards to all face the similar method is one thing I do obsessively in video games anyway, so again it’s good to see a recreation where it’s required.

Recreation Play

The chief barrel. Picture by Rob Huddleston

To begin play, the chief performs a card face up from their hand. The other players, clockwise, also play a card. However, their card must, if potential, be the similar go well with as that played by the beginning player. As all the time in games like this, in case you can’t comply with go well with, you’ll be able to play no matter you need. Nevertheless, in contrast to most other trick-taking video games, there isn’t any trump in this recreation.

Once everyone has played a card, the one that performed the highest card in the go well with that was initially led will take the trick and develop into the leader for the subsequent round. They take the rum barrel and will each sail first and lead the next hand.

Orange can only move right down to the island under, since the card performed solely allows movement in that path. Image by Rob Huddleston

Now, everybody will get to maneuver their ship. The flip order is decided by the cards: whoever performed the highest-numbered card in the go well with that was led performs first, followed by the subsequent highest number, and so forth. Anyone who played off-suit goes after everybody who performs on-suit, from highest to lowest card. In case of a tie, they play clockwise.

The new chief begins by shifting their ship one area on the board. Nevertheless, they will solely transfer in one among the highlighted instructions from their card. In the event that they played an eight, they will move in any course, but if they played a one, they will only go a method. You can’t sail off the map, so it’s attainable you gained’t have the ability to transfer at all, but you have to transfer should you can.

This provides a cool new layer of strategy to the conventional trick-taking recreation. You need to determine if you want to play high and attempt to take the lead, or low to duck it, but with an understanding that the larger the quantity, the more motion choices you’ve.

It’s also value noting that in a four-player recreation, all of the out there playing cards are in play, so card counters can achieve a bonus. Nevertheless, in two- and three- participant games, a few of the cards aren’t in play, and no one knows which of them.

A player arriving on this island might decide up two blue, two purple, or two black. Image by Rob Huddleston

If you move, you go to one in every of the other islands and may decide up all of the items of a specific colour. You place these in your ship, assuming you might have room. All ships have room for 7 items in their maintain. In the event you don’t have free spaces, you’ll be able to “dump” any cargo you at present have by putting it back on the island. Items aren’t replenished on islands right now.

Orange can make this supply, since they’ve the right items wanted for this island. Image by Rob Huddleston

As an alternative of choosing up goods, you have got the choice of fulfilling orders on islands if in case you have the proper items. To do this, place the required goods back in the bag and take the order card from the island, putting it face up in front of you. Then, draw a new order card and place it on the island. Orders have given level values, making the harder-to-fill ones extra invaluable, but additionally they every have an image of considered one of the monsters on them. At the start of the recreation, every player is given a monster sightings card that bestows further points for gathering up orders with specific monsters. So, one other little bit of strategy: it may be extra invaluable to select up a smaller level order that has the proper monster as an alternative of a much bigger point one that doesn’t.

The change fee, proven on the ship board. Image by Rob Huddleston

It’s also possible to trade items. Three sugar (white), three tobacco (green), two silk (purple), two spice (orange), or one gold (yellow) might be swapped for one in every of any of excellent when fulfilling an order. These values are printed on the ship playing cards for reference.

As soon as all four gamers have moved, the new leader begins a brand new hand by enjoying a card from their hand, and play continues till everybody has two playing cards left of their hand, at which point a new spherical begins.

Arrange the new round by replenishing the items on every island to deliver their complete as much as the quantity printed on the card. All of the navigation cards, together with any that weren’t performed that round or that weren’t in play (in two- and three-player games) are shuffled and eight extra are dealt. Play continues for a total of three rounds.

At the finish of the recreation, everyone adds up their factors. You get the complete of the points on the order cards you accomplished. Then, take a look at your monster sightings card and add your bonus: you get three, two, or one point for every order you accomplished with the matching monster. Lastly, utilizing the conversions listed above and printed on the ship card, you get some extent for each group of products left on your ship. The winner is the one with the most factors. In case of a tie, the winner is the one with the most completed orders. If there’s still a tie, then the one with the most remaining items wins.


Two further methods to play are included with the recreation. The primary is a deck of occasion cards. During setup, these are shuffled and placed facedown close to the board. After everyone locations their ships, the first event card is drawn and skim aloud. All gamers are affected by the event for this spherical. At the starting of every further spherical, a new occasion card is drawn.

It’s potential that occasions may end in more items being on an island than regular. If that is the case at the finish of the spherical, the additional goods stay there, but further items won’t be placed on the island to replenish those taken in the round.


Another optionally available method to play is to make use of the monster standees. At setup, each monster is positioned on its island (the four islands that aren’t coded for beginning ships.) After each hand, the player who played the lowest on-suit card activates the monster that matches the go well with that was performed. Monsters activate earlier than anybody strikes a ship. Monsters might move one area in any path, besides that two monsters is probably not on the similar island. Each monster has a particular means. Each time a monster is activated, it have to be moved (if it could possibly) and it should use its potential, however the participant activating it chooses by which order to do those.

The shark eats items off islands. The activating player takes one goods cube from the island and places it on their ship. The octopus moves goods: the player can transfer one dice from the island with the octopus and move it to an adjoining island, or vice-versa. The ocean dragon modifications goods into other goods (with its magic hearth breath). The participant chooses one sort of excellent on the island and replaces the cubes with an equal variety of items of a unique sort from the bag. Lastly, the whale allows the participant to draw three random items from the bag. One is placed on the island with the whale. A second is placed on an adjacent island in one path (participant’s selection) from the island, and the third is positioned on the next island in line in the similar course.

The participant activating the monster can transfer the monster after which use its power, or use its power and then transfer.

Why You Ought to Play Tough Tides

My family and I really enjoyed enjoying Tough Tides. It’s surprisingly deep, with multiple layers of strategy involved. There’s the card recreation aspect that forces you to consider tips on how to play your hand and whether or not or not you need to take tips, but at the similar time it’s a must to think about how the card you play will influence your movement. There are times if you may use a less-than-optimal card play as a result of that you must transfer in a specific path, but at the similar time, doing so may imply you move after another participant, who might swoop onto the island you bear in mind and take the items you have been aiming for. Conversely, you may select to make the “good” play with the playing cards, simply to realize the turn order advantage.

Along with educating them Hearts at a young age, we’ve several other trick-taking video games, so my youngsters are used to that mechanic and have develop into fairly good at it. Nevertheless, the mechanic isn’t essential widespread in board video games nowadays, so you may need to elucidate it to your youngsters.

However we even have a number of other pick-up-and-deliver video games, and whereas I’m an enormous fan of Firefly and Retailers and Marauders, I’ve a hard time getting the youngsters to take a seat down and play them as a result of many different titles in that genre are lengthy games. And that again is a superb factor about Tough Tides: it’s brief, with every recreation lasting a few half hour. So it’ll maintain the curiosity of even those that don’t like long games, whereas at the similar time providing levels of technique for the extra critical players in your group.

All in all, I feel Tough Tides is a very nice recreation. I’m glad that it succeeded in its Kickstarter campaign, and it’s good to see it extensively out there. Should you like trick-taking and pick-up-and-deliver video games, this title nicely scratches each itches, and is one so as to add to your cabinets.

Click here to see all our tabletop recreation critiques.

Should you’d like to remain up-to-date with all of our tabletop gaming coverage, please copy this hyperlink and add it to your RSS reader.

Disclosure: GeekDad acquired a replica of this recreation for evaluation functions.

<img data-attachment-id="259121" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="1000,290" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"zero","credit":"","digital camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"zero","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"zero","shutter_speed":"zero","title":"","orientation":"0"" data-image-title="NoMoney_" data-image-description="

No money changed arms for this evaluate.

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ class=”wp-image-259121 size-large alignnone” src=”″ alt=”” peak=”auto” data-recalc-dims=”1″/>

Appreciated it? Take a second to help the GeekFamily Network on Patreon!

Get the Official GeekDad Books!