Sea Salt and Paper: Ang Board Game na Pantropiko

April 16, 2024
Sea Salt and Paper: Ang Board Game na Pantropiko - Gaming Library
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Sea Salt & Paper - Gaming Library

I have been listening to Bini's Pantropiko on repeat, and I imagine myself on the beach. What better way to channel that tropical feel with a board game that is also born in the islands and raised by the sea. I'm absolutely smitten with this game! 🌊🧡 Origami art? Count me in! They have referenced designs by Tomoko Fuse, and I am a big fan! Sea Salt & Paper is like the perfect blend of pushing your luck and collecting sets. It's straightforward, yet there's a sea of strategy beneath the surface. No wonder it got the Spiel des Jahres recommendation in 2023!



Sea Salt & Paper - Gaming Library

Ikaw ay nasilayan, sa di inakalang panahonLumapit ng biglaan, para bang di nagkataon 

Sea Salt & Paper offers a delightful dive into hand management and set collection! 🌊 The deck boasts an array of maritime-themed icons, from fish and squids, to sailors and mermaids, each adorned in one of eleven vibrant hues. 🐟🦑⛵️🦈

The game revolves around three core ways to score points: pairing unique cards for bonus actions, amassing sets, and leveraging multipliers to boost card values. 📈 Plus, keep an eye out for the four mighty Mermaid cards, capable of netting you points based on your most abundant color!

Each round kicks off with empty hands, the deck in the center, and two discard piles. Players can draw two cards, keep one, and toss the other into the discard, or snag a face-up card from a pile. Then, it's all about strategically playing matched pairs into your tableau for points and special abilities. 🃏 And once you've hit seven points or more, it's time to plot your move to end the round in style! 🌟



Sea Salt & Paper - Gaming Library

From following your footprints in the sandTo walking with you on this island

Before we dive into the actual game play, let's quickly touch on the other cards. Players can aim to collect four distinct sets: shells, octopi, penguins, and sailors. And don't forget about those handy multipliers, boosting the value of fish, boats, penguins, and sailors. Oh, and let's not overlook the elusive mermaids! If you manage to snag four mermaids in your hand simultaneously, congratulations, you've won the game. Not just the round, mind you, but the entire shebang. (Though, let's be real, that's not exactly a viable strategy.)

Onward we go to the real meat of the game: ending the round, because that's where the real excitement lies.

Once a player hits seven points or more at the end of their turn, they have two options for wrapping up the round. The first is a straightforward "STOP," immediately halting the action and allowing everyone to tally up their points from their tableaus (one point per pair) and hands (sets, multipliers, mermaids, and all). Alternatively, they can opt for the far more tantalizing and risky "LAST CHANCE." This grants each opponent one final turn, after which scores are compared. If the player who called "LAST CHANCE" boasts the highest score, they not only tally up their card points but also receive a color bonus akin to an extra mermaid, scoring an additional point for each card of their most abundant color. Meanwhile, opponents only score the color bonus, missing out on points for their pairs, sets, mermaids, and the like. If the player who called "LAST CHANCE" falls short in the points department, they only receive their color bonus, while all other players score their usual card points. The game continues until a player or players reach 40/35/30 points (for 2/3/4 players, respectively), at which point the player with the highest score emerges victorious. 🏆


 Sea Salt & Paper - Gaming Library


Feels like summer when i'm with youParang islang pantropiko

I've always been a huge fan of Bruno Cathala's work, whether it's his elegantly simple designs or his more intricate creations. With hits like Kingdomino, and 7 Wonders Duel under his belt, as well as groundbreaking titles like Shadows Over Camelot and Mr. Jack, his influence on the hobby over the past two decades is undeniable. 

So naturally, I was eager to dive into this compact card game. The art, the compact size, and Cathala's track record were all factors that practically guaranteed a purchase for me. And I wasn't disappointed; this game turned out to be a real gem.

While many aspects of the game feel familiar, like the set collection, it's the push-your-luck element of the end-of-round scoring that really grabbed my attention. Deciding when to risk it all with a LAST CHANCE bid versus playing it safe with a STOP declaration adds a thrilling dimension to what initially seems like a straightforward hand management game. And let's not forget the nail-biting anticipation of trying to predict your opponent's moves.

Sure, the odds of collecting all four mermaids are slim, but I've witnessed it happen, adding another layer of excitement to the gameplay. And speaking of excitement, let's talk about the art. Sea Salt & Paper boasts some of the most breathtaking and charming artwork I've ever seen in a game. I love origami. The incredible origami designs captured through stunning photography are simply jaw-dropping. Lucien Derainne & Pierre-Yves Gallard deserve all the flowers for their phenomenal work.


 Sea Salt & Paper - Gaming Library

Nakita kang papalapit, puso ko'y bigla nang di mapakali
Ano nga ba ang sinapit, kakapit ba hanggang huli

There are a couple of gripes that cropped up during my plays of the game, both voiced by fellow gamers and myself. One issue is that, the box is too small. I usually sleeve my card games so that it would be protected from wear and tear, but with Sea Salt and Paper - it is a tight fit in the box when sleeved. I would need a perfect fit sleeve like Sultan Onyx Lite.

The other concern revolves around the potential for a runaway winner. It's possible for a player to surge ahead early on, capitalizing on the LAST CHANCE scoring to amass a significant lead, then coasting to victory by calling STOP each subsequent round to stifle their opponents' chances of catching up. While not insurmountable, it can pose quite a challenge, especially in a game of this lightness and duration. It's disheartening to feel like you're out of the running just 10 minutes into the game. 



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