Salt & Bones Game Review
Salt & Bones is one of the most unique card/board games I’ve played (not cardboard, card/board). I can’t fully categorize it under a deck-building game as you don’t really have a choice over the specific cards you want and you’re not really building a deck. During your draw phase you and your opponent can choose the type of cards you get from either the attack deck or the strategy deck which makes up your hand of 7 cards to begin the game and round. You can technically call it a board game as it has 2 boards, a player board where you play your strategy cards and a field board where you play your attack cards.
This quirky abstract card/board game has an attack system that is just as difficult to categorize as well. The attack system tries to mimic a salty sea dance between 2 pirates putting their years of swashbuckling fencing skills to use. The strategy cards only serve to add to that flavor with its bag full of tricks that if used correctly can become the difference between life and death. Salt & Bones comes with 40 attack cards and 40 strategy cards, and these cards are shared between both players. I feel like this cuts the replayability of the game down by a big margin as you’ll find yourself cycling through cards very quickly after a few games under your belt. This is a good move to help beginner gamers not feel so overwhelmed when playing this game, but longtime card gamers like myself will be left wanting more.
I also found myself underwhelmed by the lack of art on the attack cards. I feel it was a missed opportunity for each card to have a visual of the fencing manoeuvre it’s named after to make them seem more dynamic. The field board also leaves much to be desired. Similar to the attack cards, it’s littered with remnants of ships engaged in battle which only works to set the tone of the game and doesn’t really add much in battle. The 10 field cards feel like they want to contribute to the destruction of the battlefield you’re engaged in, but they end up feeling like deadweight instead as they end up slowing the game down as you get less options to attack your opponent. However, a crafty player will use the blocking field markers to their advantage and try to box opponents out of ways to deal damage with some clever placement.
I will say that Salt & Bones has some decent strategy elements such as being able to defend yourself a decent amount when you’re low on health by drawing more strategy cards to negate damage from incoming attacks. Although at this point you’re also relying on having as much luck as possible which still makes for a good balance of chance and strategy. These strategies are great for beginner gamers again as they are not too complex and can be mastered in an evening with a good teacher.
So what are my final thoughts? Salt & Bones is a great game for younger or beginner gamers. Experienced, more competitive gamers like myself may find themselves shelving this game after a few playthroughs. Although I could easily see myself using this game as a gift to get someone who is willing to begin getting their feet wet in strategy based games as it makes for an excellent teaching tool for the beginner competitive gamer.
About Me: I’m a video/tabletop game reviewer, content creator, and game member of the Drop the Spotlight Gaming Crew. If you have questions about any of my content, reach out to me at [email protected] You can also view our gaming content on our Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram pages, check out our gaming podcast on Anchor FM, and our videos can be viewed on the Drop the Spotlight YouTube.