Trade Fleet, developed by Icepack Games and sold on The Game Crafter, is a 2-5 player resource selling game about collecting and selling goods at various ports. The player with the most gold at the end of the game is the winner.
In Trade Fleet, a player may take one of the following actions on their turn:
Play A Card: A player can play a Port or a Happenings card from their hand.
Redeem Goods: If a player has a Port in play, they may sell as many goods as they have in hand at that Port for the listed price on the card.
Discard: A player may choose to discard 2 or 3 cards as their action.
End of Turn: A player draws back up to 5 cards at the end of their turn.
End Game: The game ends when the deck runs out. Each player, including the player that took the last card from the deck, will get one more turn. The winner is the player with the most gold.
This is a self-contained game in a deck of cards. The cards represent Ports, Happenings, Goods, and the Gold you will collect as the game is played. Even the included rule set is on cards. This makes this a very portable game to take to any gaming event.
The card quality is very good, comparable to a standard poker deck. The artwork is nice and represents the Goods and Happenings cards well.
This really is the meat of the game. You collect Goods and Ports to attempt to sell your Goods at the proper Ports to make the most gold. Any Good of a single type (Hemp, Silk, etc…) has a diminished selling point of -1 Gold after you’ve sold the first Good of that type at a Port. So if you sell Silk at a Port that’s willing to pay 2 Gold; only the first Silk will be worth 2 Gold. Any other Silk sold at this Port during that turn will only sell for 1 Gold.
There are Happenings cards that let you make an opponent: Lose a turn, sell at a reduced price, discard, etc… With a short game like Trade Fleet these cards can be brutal.
The rule set comes on a double sided poker sized card. And it’s that easy to teach as well. There is no in-depth rule explanation here and very little need to question how things work. You show the 3 types of cards, explain them real quick, and you’re pretty much up and running once you shuffle the deck.
This is a quick, filler game. So the theme can be a little light and still work. Do you get any great sense of sailing ships and trading port to port? No. Do you necessarily need to for this light game? Definitely not.
Fun Factor (7.5)
I have a lot of fun with this quick card game. It’s not a brain burner, it allows me to stay social at the table, and it finishes quickly. It’s got some slight “take that” to it, which can be fun with a social group.
This game is not going to be the reason you gather around the table. But it fills a nice niche for a “between” or “waiting” game. You can play multiple games of Trade Fleet while waiting for other players to show up, as an end of the night game with little time left, or between other games. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it is a solid game to have at the table.
I definitely recommend grabbing this game for your collection.