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second edition

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Product Awards:  
Major FUN
Award Winner, 2003

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 20-40 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Matthew Kirby

Manufacturer(s): Out of the Box Publishing

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Product Description

You are shipwrecked... to survive, you must compete head-to-head in a bid for food, shelter, water, and friends. These entertaining contests require strategy, intuition, and nerve to determine who survives and who doesn't. Fun, quick, and innovative, Shipwrecked will keep everyone on edge until the very end. Perfect for game lovers and castaways everywhere!

Product Awards

Major FUN
Award Winner, 2003

Product Information


  • Bid Board
  • 24 Bid Cards
  • 24 Resource Cards
  • 65 Gemstones
  • Rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 7 reviews

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Wonderful game!
October 13, 2000

This game is fun, fast and interesting! It's totally unique. You need to have bidding skills, psychological skills and plenty of guts to play this cool game! It keeps you on the edge of your seat till the end... it really sucks you up into it. Get it, people!

by Dave
Very Entertaining
May 06, 2002

It's always refreshing to pick up a little game that doesn't cost a lot, but manages to keep you occupied for a long, long time. Shipwrecked is one of those games. It doesn't look like much on the outside, but, trust me, this one will grab your attention fast once you start playing.

For a little game, the components are very nice. The artwork is somewhat comical, and the cards are thick and high quality.

Shipwrecked is a bidding game - pure and simple. You try to outguess and outbluff your opponents to secure particular types of resources. The bidding mechanic is done with different cards - each card signals a particular event in the bid - but you only have so many of each type of card so decisions must be made carefully. It would be wrong to call this a strategy game so much as it's a test to see how well you can anticipate the moves of the other players. Keep your poker faces on - the more players, the tighter this game gets.

My only complaint is that the rules are a bit confusing in places. Initially there is a lot to remember - but once you walk through it a few times the game flows nicely. Also, I'd love to see this game for as many as six or eight players. That could get very interesting.

You certainly get more than your money's worth from Shipwrecked.

Good, but not "Out of the Box"
February 11, 2001

Shipwrecked is a good blind bidding game like Hol's der Geier and the long-lost Raj.

There's a little more strategy with Shipwrecked but it's also tougher to learn because of the extra complications. Experienced gamers can figure it out quickly but the average party guest might be scared away. Unlike Raj and Hol's der Geier, it takes more than a minute to teach.

Out of the Box's other games live up to their name but this one might send your guests running for Scattergories.

Great Game for Families - One that Everyone Can Enjoy
January 25, 2001

I love to find games that I can play with my kids, and Shipwrecked is a good one. The rules are simple enough for the kids to understand, and there's enough luck involved to keep them winning on a regular basis, even when I'm trying my hardest to beat them. For adults, the strategy is more psychological than anything, trying to figure out just how everyone else will bid and making your bid accordingly. There's also a bit more tangible strategy involved in selecting which resources to bid for, in managing your money, and in trying to figure out how to stop someone else from winning when they get close (which can be done, if you play your cards right and get a bit of luck). The game does involve quite a bit of luck, but darned if I don't feel like I should be able to turn it my way if I just try a little harder! Overall, a light, fun game, great for all ages.

Good Bidding and Bluffing Game
December 14, 2000

Shipwrecked is a fairly simple bidding and bluffing game for 2 to 4 players. The theme of the game is to survive a shipwreck by competing with others for items necessary to survive. Like many of the German games, however, this theme is only a thin veneer covering what is basically a game of bidding for cards that are worth points. The first player to accumulate a certain number of points win.

The components are nice. The card illustrations are especially cute, with a few jokes for those who look closely enough. The gemstones that are used as currency are good, but it would have been nice to have been provided with some kind of pouch to store them in.

The gameplay is quite smooth and fairly fast. One thing I especially like is that all players are involved all the time--there is no downtime waiting for another player to finish their turn.

The bidding process seems a bit strange at first but becomes easy after two or three turns. Most of the fun comes from trying to outguess and outwit the other players when it comes to bidding. The other elements of the game, gaining income from cards that you have won and the ability to sell off cards, give the game a strategic element. There is a luck factor, but it can be overcome by good strategy.

My game group has played Shipwrecked perhaps ten times, with 3 or 4 players. Most of us like it, one person loves it. It's a fairly short game--the box says 20 to 40 minutes but our games have been more toward the 20 minute mark. A good fun game.

Not Perfect, But Better Than You Think...
October 14, 2000

This game from Out of the Box (the tiny, wonderful group that brought you Apples to Apples and Bosworth) is a thoroughly entertaining and offbeat auction game. The game, for 3 or 4 players, puts players in the role of stranded shipwreck survivors, vying for the various commodities around the island.

Contents consist of two card types, commodities and bidding cards, and a set of bidding tokens (okay, 'money'). Each player has 6 bidding cards consisting of two 'stop' cards, one 'strike' and 3 'pass' cards. On each turn a commodity card is put up for auction. An auction ensues, in a series of rounds, with the players bidding for the privilege to purchase the commodity.

Bidding works like this: Participants play one of their six auction cards, face down. After everyone has played a card, everyone is given the option to stop the bidding to end the bidding. A player can only stop the bidding, however, if he played one of his two 'stop' cards. If a player stops the bidding, all of the cards are turned up. If the player who played the stop was the only player to do so and all of the other players played a 'pass' card, then the 'stop' cards wins the bid. At that point, the winning player pays five tokens, and takes the commodity.

On the other hand, if one player played a 'strike' card, that player wins the bid. If multiple players played stikes, those bids are cancelled out; at that point, the auction goes to the single player of the 'stop' card. If multiple stop cards were played, a tie-breaker, between those players, determines the outcome.

If no one stops the bidding in that round, another round of bidding takes place, with the winner now paying four tokens. If play continues to the next round, the winner pays only three. Then two, then one, then none, until finally one player walks away with the commodity.

The game contines until one player has managed to collect a total of 150 poins in commodities, or 100 in a specific type of commodity (e.g., food, shelter, friends, etc.). In addition, there is a bit more to the game that makes it more strategic and more interesting than this description would otherwise indicate. Those touches include the players' commodities providing some degree of income (the only source of it) and also insurance against bankruptcy (as commodities must sometimes be sold to the bank when funds run low).

If I had to niggle (I don't, but I will), the only thing that keeps this from being a perfect little game is a tendency for the endgame to drag on. In our first playing we didn't notice the problem, but the more we play, the more we find the ending continuing a bit longer than we'd like. Once a player is within reach of the win, other players begin selling off their properties in a desparate (and often futile) attempt to impede the contender. Unfortunately, once players sell those commodities, their fates appear to be sealed. Given that the bank offers very little for these commodities, players hock them for little money, lose their source of income, and lose the game. This may not sound that different from a lot of games, but somehow it just seems like a more painful death than it should be. Then again, it's likely that this problem (and it's a minor one) will resolve itself as our group tries out new, and possibly, more effective strategies.

So far, I've played Shipwrecked four times, each time with a few different gamers. In all of these cases, all players have enjoyed it, and most have even asked where they can get a copy. Clearly, that's a good sign.

The auction mechanic in this game is totally fresh, the card art is charming, and folks just enjoy playing it. What more could you ask for? And for the meager price, it ranks up there with Verrater as one of the best gaming values on the market.

Kudos for Out of the Box games. With the three games they currently sell, they have 3 hits, and no misses. I don't know of any other game publisher out there with that kind of consistency.

A quick, bluffing and bidding game.
December 20, 2005
I love a game that has a bluffing factor to it. I really stink at such games, but they are so much fun to play that I disregard my shear horrible play. Shipwrecked (Out of the Box Publishing, 2002 - Matthew Kirby), promised "Bidding, Bluffing, and Survival", and I was intrigued. Of course, the simplicity of OOTB games often leads to some great enjoyment, so I had high hopes for the game. Featuring great artwork by John Kovalic, and some other nice components, it promised to be slightly more advanced than most OOTB games.

And it did not disappoint - Shipwrecked plays quickly, has a great bluffing aspect, and is simply a lot of fun to play. It's best with four players (immensely so) and involves a lot of second-guessing that might turn some people off, but all those I played the game with enjoyed it. It's an interesting game, and it takes a few moments for some folk to wrap their head around the paper-rock-scissors mechanics of the bidding; but once the game gets going, it's smooth flowing fun.

Each player takes a set of "bid cards" of their color. These cards include three "Pass" cards, two "Stop" cards, and one "Strike" card. Players also get a certain amount of gemstones, according to the number of players, with the remainder of the stones placed in the "bank". A pile of twenty-four resource cards is shuffled and placed face down, next to the game board. The game board is divided into a grid, with six numbered rows and four columns. Each row (starting with # 1 at the bottom), has a number of gems next to it - with five next to # 1, four next to # 2, etc. One player is chosen to go first, and the game is ready to begin!

On a player's turn, they first collect income for every resource card they currently own (none at the beginning of the game.) Each resource card has an income of zero to two on them. The player then puts a resource card up for bid, either any of the resource cards in the bank, or the top card from the resource stack. This card is put face up in the middle of the table, and all players will compete in an auction for the card. If the card happens to say "hidden resource" (there are four of these cards in the deck), then the player turns the next resource card over, and it is auctioned off without the players knowing what it is.

Each auction takes place the same way. Players choose one of their six bid cards and place it face down in the # 1 row on the board. If anyone places a "stop" card, they may (they don't have to) announce that the bid is stopped. If no one does this, then players play another card in the # 2 row. This continues until one player decides to stop the bid in any row (if they played a "stop" card.) The bid is automatically stopped after the sixth row.

Players, once the bid is stopped, turn over the last row of cards to see who won the bid. The way to determine who won works thusly...
- If one, and only one person, plays a Strike card, they win the bid.
- If two or more people play Strike cards, they cancel each other out.
- If one, and only one person, plays a Stop card, AND no one plays a Strike card, they win the bid.
- If two or more people play Stop cards, AND no one plays a Strike card, then they check for a tie breaker. Each player involved turns over all other cards that they've played. The player who has played the most Pass cards wins the tie. If this still results in a tie, all players must pay the cost of the card, and bidding starts completely over for the card.

The winner takes the resource card, paying the bank the amount of gems shown next to the row of the final bid. If a player can't pay the cost, they must sell Resource cards that they've already won back to the bank for the "value" listed on the card. (Resource cards have a value of one to five). If a player still can't win the bid, then all of their resource cards are given to the bank, and they are out of the game.

Play then passes to the next person. Each Resource card is one of four types (Food, shelter, water, and friends) and is worth ten to fifty points. When one player has 100 points from one type or 150 points from any type, they win the game!

Some comments on the game...

1.) Components: The cards are all thick, laminated, with the artwork of John Kovalic (of Dork Tower fame) and certainly convey a humorous bent to the idea of landing on an island. The pictures are cartoonish, but I find that the theme fits the game well. The Resource cards are quite large, much larger than normal sized playing cards, while the bid cards are smaller squares. The gems are small glass beads, and the board is a fairly large square board (which I was surprised fit into the box) which holds all the bids easily. The box is the small, flat, square one which OOTB puts much of their games into, and the durable box fits easily onto most shelves.

2.) Rules: The rulebook is the longest OOTB rulebook I've ever seen - clocking in at six large pages. However, that's simply because two and one half of the pages are dedicated to an entire full color pictorial depiction on how bids work. Once players understand how the bidding works, this may seem over the top, but there is absolutely no question once you read over these rules. When teaching the game, I found that a demonstration of the bidding process speeds up the game. Instead of taking one minute to explain like most OOTB games, Shipwrecked takes five. Teenagers and adults both understood quickly...

3.) Winning the bid: Unlike many auction games, it's not always good to win the bid in Shipwrecked. At first, it's probably always in a player's benefit to win every auction that they are involved in, if possible. But money gets tight really quick, and a player can be forced to sell off some resources to win others (which can get annoying). If a player plays a "strike" card at the wrong time, they might accidentally win. This provides a lot of tension to bidding rounds, especially those that are later on in games.

4.) Elimination: There is an elimination aspect to the game, although I haven't yet had it happen in any of the games in which I've played. Some players have come close, but really, there's no need to worry about this. If a player is eliminated, it's because they've bid extremely aggressively and were caught with their pants down. If a player is running low on money, they just have to pull back with their bidding and try to win cheaper resource cards.

5.) Bidding: The whole bidding system is one whole "outguess your opponent" game. In a sense, the game is blind bidding, but players have a little bit of information, watching what resources a player has already won. I like the way a player has to gauge when to play their "strike" card, and when to play the "stop" card. Then, when playing the "stop" card, when does the player declare that the round has stopped? As the price for each resource card drops, players basically play a game of "chicken", waiting to see when they will try to win the card. Often, this happens at the same time for several players - sometimes giving an odd player out the card, or causing the tied players to pay the bank money. Either way, it's an exciting, tense time.

6.) Fun Factor: As I just said in the last point, the bidding is what makes the game fun. Watching as each card comes up, seeing who might possibly win if they gain the card, keeps each bidding round interesting. Players who despise blind-bidding and bluffing may not enjoy the game, but most people will enjoy the game - it's a lot of tense fun in a short amount of time.

I really enjoyed Shipwrecked, as it was a short, fast blind-bidding game that held my attention the entire game. Games can swing back and forth quickly, and most last less than thirty minutes. I think it's a lot of fun, and offers meaningful decisions. Yes, the game probably qualifies as "light", but it's more than just a lark in the park. There are blind bidding games that I think are heavier and better, such as Aladdin's Dragons and Fist of Dragonstones; but when I only have a short time and want to play a game that's quick yet offers good choices, then Shipwrecked is my choice.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"

Other Resources for Shipwrecked:

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