Tsuro of the Seas Review
The ocean is dangerous enough as is. In Tsuro of the Seas, they’re even deadlier thanks to a gang of sea monsters that happen to be traveling through the area. Not sure why you and up to seven other seafarers would choose to set sail here, but it’s too late for that now. Do you have what it takes to make it home alive?
The ocean is represented by a game board that’s divided into squares. Before the start of the game, a blue die and yellow die are rolled to determine the coordinates of each sea monster. Each monster is slightly different based on its colour and number distribution, though they all operate in the same general manner.
At the start of each turn, players roll the blue and yellow dice to see if they roll a six, seven or eight. If so, each dragon is moved or rotated based on the number of pips on the corresponding die. During this process, if they end up blocking your path or moving right into your ship, the monster destroys your ship and you’re eliminated from the game.
After the dice phase, players place one of their three wake tiles on the board. These titles represent the path that your ship will travel through the ocean. Once a tile is placed directly in front of where your path ended last turn, your ship continues down its path until it reaches its new endpoint. You’ll wrap things up by randomly drawing a new wake tile. Play continues like this until there’s only one ship sailing.
Movement is key in Tsuro of the Seas, as you’ll need to do everything in your power to stay afloat. Besides the looming threat of the daikaiju, you can’t sail off the board and you can’t create a path that causes you to crash into another player. Your hands will be tied a bit, as you won’t always have all of the movement options available to you within the three wake tiles in your possession, though it’s critical to think at least one step ahead of your current turn to minimize your chances of doom. With some careful thought, you can set up your paths in a way that allow you to sail to drastically different places on the board, giving you a much better shot at survival.
The game supports 2-8 players, though I find that player elimination because increasingly problematic as you add more people to the mix. If you get knocked out early, you could be waiting for upwards of 20-30 minutes before you’re able to get back into the action. Feel free to push the limits of the suggested player count, though I recommend going with a mix between 2-4 players for the most optimal experience.
Component quality isn’t something I spend much time talking about in general, though the bits in this game are worth noting. The board features some really nice daikaiju art. Also, the cardboard tiles are of a good thickness and feature a glossy finish on top. Even the plastic ship pieces are well done, as they’re molded to look like large sailboats.
Tsuro of the Seas executes on its few core concepts very well to become a solid board game. Ramp-up time is very short and there’s some clever things you can do as a boat to maneuver around the sea monsters. Though the game gives you the option of playing with up to eight players, you’re probably best with between two and four. Should you dare to sail through this treacherous patch of ocean, you’re probably going to have a good time doing so.