Designed by Rory Muldoon
Art by Rory Muldoon
Published by Alley Cat Games
2-3 Players | 5-15 Minutes
(In a bad British accent.)
“Would you like to go for a walk down on the pier, lovely?”
“Absolutely, my dear!”
It was the finest day of the season as we strolled past fishermen and flower shops, poets pondering and lovers lost in each others gazes. It reminded us of simpler times when we had the luxury of sitting upon the boardwalk ourselves, enjoying the sea breeze, the bustling sounds of businesses and beaches, and taking salty air into our very bones.
PIER 18 is a pocket card drafting game for 2 to 3 players where you’re building and developing a pier to attract the fine patrons of…wherever you are. You earn points by catering to lovers, fishermen, poets, and flower shop owners, each of whom has their own special conditions that lead them to give you points. It really is just a quick stroll down the pier, as each game only took us about 10 minutes.
Each player draws three cards, and chooses two: one that serves as the foundation—or beginning—of the pier you’ll be building while the other serves to give you a goal for bonus points at the end of the game. The third card is shuffled back into the deck.
Each round reveal one more card than players (3 cards in a 2-player game, 4 cards in a 3-player), and the player who most recently saw the sea goes first (or the lake, if you’re a luckless land-locked land-lubber). Then each player takes a turn choosing one of the available cards and adds it to their pier. It can only be added on the end you are building, but can overlap the previously played card as long as it doesn’t cover it completely. How you choose to place each card will depend on the patterns you’re trying to set up to get points from the lovers, fishermen, poets, and flower shop symbols, as well as catering to your goal that you chose at the beginning of the game.
Each card has a symbol in the upper left, so it will have you look at your score just for lovers or just for fishermen or adding both together if both symbols are present. If there is a tie, each card also has a date on it. (“What is your perfect date?” “That’s a tough one…I’d have to say April 25. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket!”)
There will always be a card left over after each round that one player will claim as a patron, turning it over and setting it aside for 1 point at the end of the game. The patron will go to the player who has the highest score of the required type or the earliest date printed on the card in the case of a tie.
On the piers there will be symbols along the pier representing different types of people: lovers, fishermen, poets, and flower shop owners. The symbols are very clear.
Lovers only get scored if there are two spaces on each side of them. They need their privacy, after all. And for respecting their romantic rendezvous you get 2 points per symbol at the end of the game.
Fishermen score one point for each symbol on the side of the pier with the most fishermen. The other side does not score.
Poets score one point for every pair of poets on your pier, rounded down. They need each other for inspiration, but they are long-winded.
Flower shops earn one point for every symbol next to them, because they’re desperate for customers.
END OF GAME
The game ends when there’s not enough cards to set up for another round. At that point you actually place your goal card at the end of your pier like you placed any other card and start scoring, adding up points for patrons, lovers, fishermen, poets, flower shops, and if you accomplished your goal, those bonus points, too.
The cards are good quality and the art is cute, though plain symbology on a pretty generic board walk background. Still cute though and easy to differentiate what is what.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?
“Well, that was nice, wasn’t it dear?”
And then we went into town to do something else.
This is not going to be our favorite game any time soon. But it’s a nice, quick little game to kill a minute with someone who isn’t really a gamer but wants to try something new. Getting the symbols and remembering the points you get for the different patterns can be a bit difficult until you get a patron. The points for symbols is on the back of the cards, so once you get a patron, you have it in front of you, but even still, I found myself constantly going back to try and remember what the little pattern was and having a hard time thinking through what card I wanted to pick to try and get points.
I feel like I have to say: I love Alley Cat games. They respond on Facebook (which is fun). Dice Hospital is a fantastic game that I should write a glowing review for, and we are stoked about Dice Theme Park! Their other games look good, too, though I haven’t played any of them yet (but would really REALLY like to!) But this game falls pretty flat. We’ll add it to the wallet games collection, because this is probably the shortest, but I don’t see us pulling this out except when we know we’re going somewhere and might have 10 minutes to kill (quick game for date night while eating out, anyone?). The game could use more cards, although the 10 minute game time will be a draw for some people and adding cards would negate that. For other gamers, the ability to add or subtract expansion decks might help the game have more longevity.
As a really quick wallet game—6.9/10