This interview with Sword & Skull designer Mike Elliott leads off with a note on one of those missing Wizards CCGs – a Xiaolin Showdown license – and goes on to explain some of the numerous ways in which S&S is like Monopoly but less sucky. I mean, how many times have you glided your top hat past Park Place and thought, “this is okay, but I wish I got to fight pirates”? Your wish was not in vain, sir.
I won’t repeat Elliott’s specific claims – my 3-player test on Friday night basically confirmed them all. We did have one player who seemed to want the game to be over sooner than it was, although she ended up winning (maybe because she was the only one goal-oriented enough to want the game to end). S&S can suffer from a bit of Talisman Syndrome – wander around the board trying to build some stat up, have random things happen to you that knock you down, lather, rinse, repeat. But you do get some ways to ameliorate the grip of luck, and frankly, just staggering around trying to get your friend back for stealing your gold last time is pretty fun. Our game ran a little under two hours.
So: light and frothy by contemporary AH standards, not the grind Monopoly can be, all the “advanced” stuff that Elliott goes on about doesn’t drag it down (but doesn’t end up being all that salient either), and we liked it. We recommend that you rechristen your Pirate and Officer figures as Giant Dwarf and Nancy-Boy, respectively.