We have done a lot of promotional work on our website and on our facebook page, but we really have not revealed a lot of information on how our game actually works, until now.
Cargo: Dead in the Water can be played with anywhere from 2-5 players. Each player controls a fleet of ships. In a 2 or 3 player game, each player controls 3 ships. In a 4 or 5 player game, each player controls 2 ships. The objective of the game is to be the first person to score 25 victory points. Victory points are scored by picking up cargo in port and then delivering it with your ship to the matching port across the Atlantic.
The starting player is determined by a dice roll, and each player is dealt 5 cards. Then the game begins with each player placing their ships in one of the 8 ports, 4 along the west end of the Atlantic Ocean in North America and in the Caribbean, and 4 along the east end of the Atlantic in Europe.
The first player begins their turn by drawing 2 cards from the deck. They can then do the following actions: move each of their ships a maximum of 5 spaces and play any number of cards. Cards are used to load your ship with cargo and also to boost the movement of your ships. Each player takes their turn moving clockwise around the board and this continues until the end of the game.
Sounds really simple, but it isn’t quite so straight forward. First of all, different types of cargo are valued at a different number of points. The values of the different cargo are set out at the beginning of the game, but if someone plays the “Adjust the Market” card then it is reset. A ship holding 3 victory points worth of cargo can quickly become worth 9 points, or vice versa. Also, when navigating your way across the Atlantic you need to be wary of the other ships. If another ship finishes its turn in an adjacent space to you, then the two ships must engage in naval warfare. Cards can be played to retreat, or parley, but there are also cards that can boost your ship’s strength in battle. Then there is the dreaded “Pirate Card” which can be used to very quickly thwart your plans. If you lose a battle to either the Pirates or an opponent then it renders your ship “Dead in the Water” for your next turn.
Although the rules and game play are rather simple, the strategy that players develop as they play the game becomes more and more intricate. The game really heats up near the end when one of the players loads their ship with enough points to win the game. Mayhem ensues, but whether you come out on top or not, all players are guaranteed a good time.