Our ShipShape review, what we have to say about the abstract strategy tile stacking board game. Over three voyages, you will try to fill your hold and score the most points. This is done by a round of tile selection against an opponent and then you versus yourself with your personal tableau building. ShipShape is a light and breezy title but a good one with a lot of depth.

We took a look across fun, replayability, player interaction, quality and art & style to come up with the overall score for our ShipShape review. See the breakdown by category below.

FOR MORE: ShipShape Page | How To Play ShipShape | Games Like ShipShape | Best ShipShape Prices on BGA


Fun (8 out of 10)

For the fun section of the ShipShape review, we award a great 8 out of 10. There are two sides to the game and both and fantastic at what they do. Ultimately you end up with tiles that have nine space, some as blank holes and some as one of three different scoring symbols. You need to stack them on top of each other in your personal area to get the right mix of symbols showing to get big points. To get those tiles, there is a trick taking meets drafting like mechanic that gives each player cards 1 – 10 and the ability to play one to determine order. Tiles are drawn in order from high to low and once cards are used they are gone for a time. You can kind of see whats going on with all the titles so this is a big benefit. Being able to work the competitive middle and where you draw is just as important as what you do with the final product.

The game is part abstract strategy puzzle, craftily using 3D space, and it is part player versus player mathematical showdown. For such a light title, there is so much gameplay jammed into one box. It has many things going on, all interacting with one another, and it is done well. This all just screams fun, it is a well oiled machine and a run ride you can quickly take.

Replayability (8 out of 10)

For the replayability section of the ShipShape review, we award a fantastic 8 out of 10. There is not much too this game in terms of concrete pieces or things, everything changes and there is always so much going down. An entire round is just three tile pulls, so everything happens lighting quick and so much can go either wrong or right. You are engaged from beginning to end with almost no effort.

Half the game is playing off your opponent, the trick taking like selection phase, and that stuff never gets old as long as your opponents don’t. That keep things exciting but then the whole second half is like a brand new game each time too. You score points based on the final layout of the tiles, but there are 54 of those crate tiles that can be placed in countless combinations. The combination of the quick play, nice interaction and constant freshness, this is an easy one to play over and over again.

Player Interaction (8 out of 10)

For the player interaction section of the ShipShape review, we award a high 8 out of 10. Where you get your tile within the placement is the subtle shift that has just enough power to completely swing the game in your favor. During the initial phase you are going to choose from a limited range of numbers to try and strategically put yourself in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc, so you get the tile that is going to best help your stack. You can see the top one perfectly, but then you can only see what is showing below that, and then even less of the tile below that one. You do not know everything which creates this extra layer of imperfect information problem solving. In that phase, there is also a cool tie system that can throw another wretch in everything. There is tons of flavor here.

Then there is the personal tableau building portion. This is always more about the player versus their space instead of player versus player, but because scoring rounds come so quickly, you are constantly put at odds with your opponents to who sits higher in points, and you are constantly going to want more. This is a ton of interactivity here and bonus, you can pretend to be a pirate without it being weird.

Quality (9 out of 10)

For the quality section of the ShipShape review, we award a rare gem of a 9 out of 10. They made it look easy, so you probably do not give it much thought, but the creators of this game really were able to succeed it making and entertaining stacking game like this. There is nothing quite like it. No one has really mastered the 3D stacking on top of an already existing puzzle like this. This is not that three hour intense game with tons of pieces, it is very lightweight, but it is at the top of its league.

Components and overall production are top notch. The tiles, as you can imagine, have lots of nooks and edges that could make them really fall appart easily, but they are thick and finishing well. The coins that act as the scoring system are as firm as they are beautiful. You certainly see a high quality in these throughout.

Art & Style (6 out of 10)

For the art & style section of the ShipShape review, we award a great 6 out of 10. Before saying anything else, it is important to note that this title may have the most beautiful cardboard treasure tokens out there of any game. They have beautiful color and great design. Besides that everything else is just solid. Wood tones, symbols, accents, all a fine job. The box art is around a little better than average.

It has not really been mentioned that the game is pirate themed. This is because it doesn’t play too much of a role. Its not like the game really calls for much of a theme so good for them for having something uniform that makes sense (you are filling your ship with your war spoils, worrying about the space in your hull, hence the name). Its not like you are going to recommend this to someone because they are looking for a pirate game, but it is a nice touch.


ShipShape Review | Board Game Halv

ShipShape is absolutely a top of class title. It is on the lighter side of the intensity spectrum but it owns what it is. This game is part trick taking player showdown and part abstract strategy puzzler that utilizes 3D space unlike any others that came before it. The game is very simple but there is a lot of genius in its simplicity. ShipShape has something for everyone and is very accessible, you could recommend this to anyone. This has been our ShipShape review, we hope you liked it!

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

See the full explanation of the judging criteria here.

What would you put in your ShipShape Review? Let us know in the comments below or on our BGH Facebook Page.

Tagged in: