Shipwrecked is an intense, challenging bidding game with enough strategic ramifications to occupy every corner of your so-called mind. You bid for cards. The cards have funny pictures on them. They also have three different values. Each card is worth a certain amount of points (the accumulation of which is the point of the game), pays a certain amount of “gemstones” every turn (which you need if you win the bid), and has a certain value (in case you run out of gemstones and have to sell the card back to the bank).

The bidding process is really what the game is all about. Each of the 2-4 players has three different types of bid cards. You get three Pass cards (which mean just that), two Stop cards (which you can use to stop the bidding and force a showdown), and one Strike card which wins the bid only if it is the only one used during that round. There are a total of 6 bidding rounds per card, each round costing the winner one gemstone less.

Sound complex? Well, it did take us a while to figure out the rules. And it took us a much longer while to figure out what the rules really mean (you’ll probably need to play it at least twice, at at least 20 minutes a game, before you have any sense of what it all means). But the learning process is fun, the game intriguing, and, despite the competitive pressure, the surprise of discovering who bid what leads more often to laughter than it does to despair.

The game play of Shipwrecked is similar to a classic card game known as “G.O.P.S.” – the Game of Pure Strategy – with just enough humor, luck and variables thrown in to keep you engaged and laughing until you discover that someone has actually won. Most Major FUN Award-worthy.

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