13 February 2022
Pocket friendly but no less charming
This article originally appeared in issue 63 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here.
I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel that the romanticism usually associated with piers has dwindled over the years. Perhaps it’s their proclivity for falling into a state of disrepair, or maybe it’s just Piers Morgan. Nevertheless, Pier 18 is reigniting this romanticism admirably and all within the limiting confines of just eighteen cards.
Designed and illustrated by Rory Muldoon (Skora and the upcoming print at home roll and write Voyages), Pier 18 is a leisurely card drafting set collection game tasking players with constructing the greatest Victorian seaside pier. From game to game players will be attempting to attract various visitors and workers to their piers such as Poets and Fisherman, and scoring points for arranging them in particular ways. Flower Sellers for example will score points for each other character in a group next to them whilst Lovers will only score when distanced from others.
This array of characters appear on each card as symbols, dotted about the cute, aerial-view pier sections. As a game fitting within that tactile tabletop trope of players physically ‘building a thing’, each of these cards can be layered on top of each other, gradually extending players’ piers. This is satisfying in and of itself, but exactly how players choose to layer them will largely depend on which character they’re hoping to capitalize upon – a choice which isn’t always as immediate as it first seems. More often than not, playing a card will disrupt previous formations making each turn nicely tactical.
What’s astounding about Pier 18 is the replay-ability afforded by the unique personal goals. Each game begins with players choosing a ‘Plan’ card to end their pier, and with every card featuring a different end goal at the top, players will likely be constructing notably different piers each time. Ultimately, the pocket-friendly Pier 18 surpasses similar micro-games thanks largely to this longevity, alongside its simple charm.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Rory Muldoon
Publisher: Alley Cat Games
Time: 10-20 minutes
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