Cyan Worlds, developers of the timeless adventure game Myst, recently released Stoneship, a casual board game that seems a little out of the company’s comfort zone. Intended for quick play sessions, Stoneship offers a level-based single player experience that can be jumped in and out of easily. However, what isn’t included is any form of multiplayer, which is generally the foundation for every board game. Is the single player enough to make up for this omission?
Each game of Stoneship is composed of three phases: exploration, managing your troops, and fending off a pirate raid. In the exploration phase, you have a set number of moves to uncover tiled pieces of the map adjacent to any open tiles. The main goal is to locate port towns, recruit troops stranded at sea, uncover temples for stronger firepower, and link together port town radii.
The scourge of the seas.
One this ends, you’ll enter the troop management stage. Here you see the path the pirate ship will take and must distribute troops between linked port towns accordingly. The general idea is to put as many troops as possible in the first port town the pirates will come across. After around fifteen seconds this phase concludes.
Then the pirates attack. In this final stage, one or more pirate ships will begin to trace their path and attempt to raid the port towns. Each battle opens up a battle screen, where you tap three different icons when they pop up to shoot cannons. The faster you tap the symbols the quicker the enemy will fall. Also, if you didn’t find and kill the menacing sea monster in the exploration phase, you’ll need to kill it here.
Score one for the good guys.
Stoneship’s campaign is comprised of sixty levels across three chapters, as well as a three-level tutorial. A challenge mode offers an additional 20 (difficult) levels to conquer. Both modes promise more content in future updates, but even for the time being it will take you a while to complete every level.
One major downside is Stoneship’s lack of multiplayer. It would be tons of fun to have one player be the pirate and place down ships and paths while the other fends them off. The battle sequences could also be a ton of fun with two players. We expect multiplayer in a board game and hope it’s added sometime down the road.
Another small gripe we have is that you can’t zoom out on the map. Having the option to view the entire grid at once would make it easier to strategically plan where to search next.
Negatives aside, Stoneship still manages to offer a lot of bang for your buck and proves that Cyan Worlds knows its stuff beyond point and click adventures. It has some downsides, but the single player is compelling enough to make up for them.