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Salty Dogs Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Salty Dogs

Designer: Andy Brown, Phil Cairns, Sean McCaughey
Artwork: Simon Bisley, Andy Brown
Publisher: Berserker Arts
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2–4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 7–30 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

The pirate ships are lining up against each other. The Captain watches and plans his strategy while his First Mate musters the Crew. Everyone is ready. They take up their positions awaiting to see what the opposing captains do.
Salty Dogs is a fast-paced, last-man-standing, draw-and-play card game designed for quick learning and short games. We played Salty Dogs with the basic game, which contains 80 cards. They have an expansion and a statement about playing with 90 cards, so I am assuming this is with the expansion.
Learning Salty Dogs was easy, and our game started quickly. The cards have most of the information needed so you don't need to refer back to the rules. This is a good game for younger players because they were able to understand it quickly and take off on their own.
The Player's Play Mat
Each player needs their crew. There are 25 Crew cards in the deck. Although the rules state to remove the Crew cards from the deck and then give each player five, there is no need to sort and shuffle them. Crew cards are used as a counter, there are no special abilities on the cards. So, make sure each player has 5 crew members.
If you are using the play mats, place the crew members in their positions. Otherwise keep them in a row so you know who the Captain and the First Mate are (they have certain immunities to cards being played on them).
Shuffle up the remaining cards (with the unused Crew cards) and deal each player 5 cards. The remaining cards become a draw pile.
Play Mat with Crew Cards
When taking your turn, start by drawing a card. Now you have 3 options.
Your first option is to attack an enemy. The goal is to eliminate the other players' Crew and the game is designed around attacking and reducing numbers. Some attacks can be defended, while others can't.
One of the attacks is to inflict an illness. This is one of the attacks that can't be immediately defended against. On your turn, one option is to cure a crew member.
The final option is to refill an empty crew space. The number of extra crew is limited (25 to start and the rest went into the draw). As the game progresses, the chance of replacing your crew is less.
Once the 3 base crew members have been taken out of play, then the First Mate is vulnerable. After he is out of the way you can focus your attention on the player's Captain.
Some of the Crew
Theme and Mechanics
Pirates is always a good theme, especially in a game designed to eliminate your opponents.
Salty Dogs uses an easy to learn draw-and-play mechanic along with a basic hand management component. Because there are only three options during play, the mechanics fit the outcome of the game.
Attack Cards
Artwork and Components
Artwork is what makes Salty Dogs. Everything is anthropomorphic (animals represent everything). It is all along the lines of cartoon art for the lower age range Salty Dogs is designed for.
The Good
  • The art is fun
  • This is a good cabin game (small and easy to transport and can be played just about anywhere)
  • Easy and fast to learn
  • Easy to teach (one young player was able to teach another)
  • Family friendly
  • Filler game

Defense Cards
Final Thoughts
Salty Dogs is a good game for families with younger players who want to join in on game night. This is a game they can learn and play on their own. We noticed their games took longer as they took in the artwork and had commentary going along with the characters they were creating on the spot.
Players Who Like
  • Dead Man's Draw
  • Socializing during play

Check out Salty Dogs on


Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Salty Dogs Kickstarter Preview Salty Dogs Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on October 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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