Sail Away Review (Mattel)

Sail Away
What It Is

Think you've got what it takes to be a pirate? Test your piracy skills in the board game Sail Away. The object of this game is to earn points by being an unscrupulous merchant, hiring ruthless pirates, hoarding coins, and launching ships. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

There are five pages of instructions, so this is not going to be a game that you can simply open up and start playing right away. We highly recommend that you read through the instructions carefully before you play.

To set up, each player gets one player board, four small gold coins, and all of the game pieces in their chosen color. That includes seven standard crates, three pirate crates, and two claim posts. One objective token will be face up as the public objective, while the other tokens get handed out to each player to serve as their secret objectives. And each player gets three ship cards.

The remaining small gold coins and large gold coins get placed in the center of the table to form the loot pile. There will also be island cards in the center of the playing space equal to the number of players plus one. So if you have four players, you'll use five island cards. Three ship cards get placed in the front of the common board to form the incoming ships area, and three pirate action cards get placed in the pirate action card area. 

Players then take turns completing a series of actions. First, you must place at least one of your crates per turn on the island resource spaces to claim those resources. If you don't have any crates, you have to remove one from a ship and use it.

You can also place a crate on a pirate action card to get help from that pirate. Some of the cards will instantly activate a one-time ability, such as moving a crate from an island to a ship, while others have continuous abilities, such as collecting one coin each time a player launches a ship. Refer to the last page of instructions to find out what each card's ability is.

When you place a crate on the last available resource space on an island card, you claim the island and put one of your claim posts in the center. Each player with a crate on the island moves them to matching resource spaces on their ship cards.

And if you fill all the spaces on a ship card, then you can launch a ship. When a player has launched five or more ships and completed his turn, the other players take one last turn and the game ends.

You score points for ship cards, large and small gold coins, and the number of matching resource spaces on your launched ships that match your secret objective token. One player will win the public objective token for having the most instances of the matching resource on his launched ships. The player with the most points wins.

Is It Fun?

This game takes a little while to learn, and even though it didn't seem like it, we sort of breezed through how to play in our What It Is section above. We highly recommend that you read through all of the instructions before you play so that you are familiar with what each card does and how to move on your turn.

But if you're a game player who likes these types of strategic games, then you'll really enjoy taking the time to learn how to play Sail Away. You've got to decide what resources you want to claim in an attempt to match what's on your ship cards and then kind of go from there with the rest of the actions. And just like real pirates, you can double-cross the other players to get more of your ships launched before anyone else and take the highest booty.

Who It’s For
Sail Away is for two to four players ages 10 and up. It will take some time to learn, but kids and adults who enjoy these types of strategic games will have fun learning how to play and then pretending to be a pirate as they play.
What To Be Aware Of
The game comes with a common board, four player boards, 13 island cards, 28 standard crate markers, 12 pirate crate markers, eight island claim posts, 16 large gold coins, 30 small silver coins, six public objective tokens, 36 ship cards, and eight pirate action cards.
  • Fun

  • Repeat Play

  • Assembly & Instructions