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In Mare Balticum each player takes the role of a captain of a fleet of fishing boats. Your task is to catch fish in the choppy waters of the Baltic Sea. Which fish should you try for? The noble salmon, delicious cod, schools of herring, or perhaps the flounders deep in the mud? Or maybe forget about the stinking fish business and focus on collecting beautiful Baltic amber from the water?
Whatever decision is taken, captains must also deliver goods to appropriate ports and sell them. Whoever most effectively handles the task and makes a fortune before winter comes and freezes the Baltic waters will be the winner!
Mare Balticum is an outstanding and beautiful family game, released at Essen 2011, and is perhaps best known for the fact that its artwork originated in incredibly detailed plasticine (modeling clay) models. Designed by Filip Miłuński, co-designer of Magnum Sal, it sees players captaining fleets of fishing boats in the Baltic Sea. As fishermen in the Baltic, you'll be trying to catch different kinds of fish, which will be worth points when collected and brought to one of the five harbours in the region. The amount of points for each fish will be being determined by the value that the players themselves select as the game progresses.
For the short time it takes to play - only half an hour - it offers smooth gameplay that will appeal to the hunting-and-gathering instincts of most of us, and more importantly it's a very solid and attractive family game. I suppose gamers might enjoy it as a filler, but it really is best suited to the family setting, and it's been very much enjoyed in our home by children from ages 9 through 15, and as an adult it offers enough decision making in the 30 minutes it takes to play in order to satisfy me as well.
So if you're looking for a straight forward and reasonably light family game that has the advantage of playing quickly, is highly accessible to a range of ages, has a good and fresh fishing theme that fits the pick-up-and-deliver mechanic well, and has high quality components with conversation-starting artwork, Mare Balticum might just be the game for you. A beautiful, quick, and pleasant family game.