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Ruthless: Tall Tales pre-order is live (More Ruthless than Madame Ching)

Update: Ruthless: Tall Tales is now available to pre-order from the Ruthless Game website. The campaign will run for 29 days. You may order just Tall Tales, or combine it with the Ruthless base game.

Our preview post below was published on May 27 (and we had no idea this wasn't going to be a Kickstarter).


Ruthless: Tall Tales is an upcoming expansion for Ruthless, originally a 2-4 players deck building game, that becomes soloable with the expansion. The expansion also adds a variety of modules that are all compatible with the solo mode. In the game, your goal is to gather a pirate crew and perform raids to achieve more Notoriety than your rival, Madame Ching herself! It will launch on Kickstarter on June 1.

Image source: BGG

You start the game with a deck of 4 Doubloon cards and 6 Powder Monkeys cards, and so does Madame Ching. To set up the game, you must first pick up two Legendary Achievements, which are scoring conditions that earn you points if you fulfill them at the end of the game. The choice of these two cards is dictated by the difficulty level you have chosen. You also place five Pirate cards in the Tavern, a shared display from which you can recruit new crew members. Pirate cards may have special abilities that trigger when putting them into play, and have a number and a suit that both come into effect when performing raids. Your starting Powder Monkeys are not Pirates, they only allow you to perform special effects when played.

The game is played within six rounds, during which you alternate turns with Madame Ching. At the beginning of the round, you must draw five cards from your deck, re-shuffling the discard to form a new one if empty. Madame Ching’s hand consists of a number of cards that depends on both the round number and the difficulty level. At the beginning of the round, you reveal Madame Ching’s top hand card.

On your own turn, you must perform a single Command action if you can, by playing matching cards from your hand. You can Trade, that is, play Loot cards (Doubloons and Treasures) to get the corresponding amount of coins; Board, by playing a Pirate card to your Ship (that may trigger the Pirate’s ability); or play Powder Monkey cards. One Powder Monkey card allows you to either Brawl (replacing one Pirate from the Tavern display with a new one) or Bury (removing a Pirate card from your hand or your discard pile by putting it in your ‘Bury’ pile). Two Powder Monkey cards perform a Plunder action: you take a Treasure card from a shared Treasure deck and either sell it immediately for its value, removing it from the game, or put it in your discard to use it later on in a Trade action. Then, you may Recruit a Pirate card from the Tavern by paying its cost with your coins, up to three times per round in total. A recruited Pirate goes directly onto your Ship.

Image source: BGG

On Madame Ching’s turn, you flip a card from her hand. If it matches her currently revealed card, she performs a Board, Trade or Plunder action. Otherwise, she will perform one of the two available actions corresponding to the cards, according to a priority track. Madame Ching also recruits cards if able, with special, discounted costs. The card she recruits on her turn is chosen according to priority rules.

Once both you and Madame Ching are out of cards, it’s time to Raid! You pick up all Pirate cards from your Ship and try to fulfill Poker-style patterns (flush, pairs, straight, etc.). For instance, if you have three pirates in a row of a given color, and two pirates of the same number, you have a three cards straight flush and a pair. Each pattern gets you a number of Strength points. Then, you do the same for Madame Ching’s cards. Whoever gets the best Strength picks the best reward! The second one gets an inferior reward. Note, however, that you must have at least a pair (the simplest pattern) to be able to raid. All rewards are worth a certain amount of Notoriety Points.

Once the six rounds have elapsed, you calculate your score. Besides the Notoriety Points you got from the Raids, you also score points if you fulfill the Legendary Achievements, and also score any Pirate cards you may have buried during the game. If you achieve more Notoriety than the Pirate Queen herself, you win the game!

The new modules add new suits, including the Merfolk that comes with special rules, new treasures, a “Chests and Quests” module, Heroes among the Pirate cards, cursed Pirates, and the Kraken.

#RuthlessTallTales #MacDonald #BoardGameCircus

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