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Montego Bay -- in the small port, activity prevails in this bay in Jamaica. For the dock workers it is time to leave the taverns in order to start working.
Even Lazy Jack is willing to leave his favorite chair in the port tavern to go to work to earn a few coins from time to time and then return to less work-like activities to enjoy the day.
The other dock workers, however, move from place to place around the dock to load and unload barrels on the ships. Because in the end, they want to have most wages in the bay.
The real Montego Bay is one of those exotic Caribbean locations that you see on postcards and in travel magazines. It's the second largest city in Jamaica, and is a tourist destination known for several things, not the least of which is the sheltered Doctor's Cave beach with clear turquoise waters and near white sand, one of the most famous beaches on the island. It's the travel agent's equivalent of an overproduced board game: nice bits, great components, immediate visual appeal. When we see a picture of an exotic looking location like Montego Bay, most of us wouldn't mind getting a piece of that!
With Montego Bay the board game, Queen Games gives us the gaming equivalent: a good family game with delicious looking bits. It's not deep and heavy - but let's face it, that's not what we're looking for in a Caribbean holiday anyway. We want something light and tasty, that looks and feels special, and that's what we get in this game.
In the game, you're controlling dockers in Montego Bay's harbour, and you score points by sending them to load barrels from the warehouses on the quay onto waiting boats. The heart of the game revolves around two phases of the game: first simultaneous selection to determine the movement of your dockers as you try to get to warehouses with the most barrels, and second the loading of the barrels onto the ships of your choice, under the careful supervision of the Tally Man. There's also Lazy Jack, whom idles away his time at the pub, but will help you load some extra barrels if you have enough coins to hire him.
Is Montego Bay for you? Arguably best enjoyed with three players, it's a strong entry in the family games category or even as medium-lighter fare for casual gamers. Montego Bay has a solid theme, fantastic components, and can be played in under 45 minutes, which is just perfect for its weight, especially considering that it's more tactical than strategic. As long as you don't let the size of the box and quality of the components determine the size of your expectations, this is a solid game.