SOS Titanic Review


 There was this ship and this ship hit an iceberg. The ship couldn’t take it and sank within three hours or so. The crew tried to save as many people as possible, rich and poor. Women and children first! True story..
What you get for your money:
60 Passenger cards (26 1st class, 34 2ndclass), 20 action cards and 10 crew member cards and the rules. You also get a Titanic booklet, this shows you the sinking RMS Titanic.
How do you play the game:
You are one of the crew members of the Titanic and are trying to save as many people as possible. You can play solo or cooperatively with other crew members. There are purple 1st class passengers (cards numbered 2-13) and yellow 2nd class passengers (2-17) and they want to get on a 1st or 2nd class lifeboat (the purple or yellow number 1). Every crew member has a special ability and can give certain orders to the passengers with action cards. 
The Titanic booklet shows the ship with 6 decks. At the starts of the game people have gathered on the first four decks in four rows (from front to back: 4, 6, 8, 10 cards/people). Initially you only can see the first card of every row and the other passengers are below deck (draw pile).
In your turn you need to rearrange the passengers from high to low (Patience style). 1st class and 2nd class people don’t mix, The highest cards from every suit (13 & 17) can be put on an unoccupied deck. When a lifeboat pops up, you can lower that boat and you can start placing people of that class on the boat (low to high). They’re survivors now.
When you cannot rearrange the passengers, you must either set up the passengers rescue  or play an action card. When you set up the passengers rescue, you basically call people from below deck and order them to go in a line. Take some cards, depending on which crew member you are, and choose one that you can place correctly on a deck. Discard the rest. With action cards you can give certain orders, like call a specific person from below deck or order to mix lines. One action card is a collapsible boat. Thing like that.
At 23:40 the ship just hit the iceberg and all decks are above water, but as time passes more decks will flood. There are two moments when this happens. Firstly, when, during the passengers rescue set up, you can’t put anyone on the deck correctly. Secondly, when a player has to draw cards and he can’t (the draw deck is empty). In both situations you need to flip a page and the Titanic sinks even further.
When a deck is totally flooded, passengers panic and will flee to the next deck. Both lines are mixed (shuffled) and the top card is shown. 
You have to guide all the passengers onto the lifeboats before the Titanic sinks (after 11 page turns). When you fail you just add up the top cards values of the survivor stacks. When you succeed, you do the same, but half of the cards of each class show an Anchor symbol and you get extra points for consecutive Anchors per class.  
The original crew, according to the designers, would have saved about 19 people. Be a good boy and save more.
You can see the Titanic sink while you play. That’s cool. Sure the booklet isn’t really necessary, but it adds flavour to a very simple card game. Women and children first, yes, the low cards are children and then women and the higher ones men. The highest card of one of the decks is a musician, he kept playing throughout the whole game.
The panicking passengers, when a deck floods, are very thematic. The action cards are nice. You can order passengers around and at some occasions you do feel the tension of a crew on a ship that’s going down (certainly not even close to what they must have felt).
I’m not saying this is a incredibly thematic game. I’m not going to sit here in a sailor suit and feel like I’m re-enacting the whole disaster, but the designers and artist did a lot to bring a Titanic flavour to the game. They have done that through appearance and by adding some thematic mechanisms to an already well known game (Patience).
Let’s start with the obvious. The game feels like Patience/ Solitaire for the most part, but there is more to it. First, there are only two suits with a different number of cards. Then there’s the ship. The pending danger of letting it sink too fast. You know that the game ends after the pages are turned 11 times, but you want to delay it as long as possible. There is less and less room for the passengers on the decks. Sometimes they will panic. Thirdly, you have the action cards and the crew members with special abilities. The abilities can be a help but also a burden. Some characters only can draw a few passenger cards from the draw deck or cannot draw action cards. The action cards are always helpful, some more than others of course.
These added mechanisms make this game more interesting and all together, I think this game is more dynamic than a game of Patience.
There is tension, there’s risk management and deck management as in managing  the ship’s deck and knowing which cards are in the draw deck and in the discard pile. 
Let’s talk about the cooperative aspect and the number of players you’re playing with. The game is at its best solo, because most of the decisions in the game are quite obvious (a 2 can only go on a 3 or a 1) or are not so hard to take that you have to discuss them with three or four people. Plus, the game isn’t structured in a way that one player can do one part of a mission (or something like that) and the other does the other part. With more players, there is some discussion, but you are really playing multiple solo games (turns) in a row. You can’t really plan far ahead and other players turns aren’t that interesting to watch.  
So, the solo game is great. Playing with two players is also quite good, because you don’t have to wait long before your next turn. Playing with more players than that feels a bit silly. To succeed or to score well, you don’t really have to cooperate, like you have to in other (more difficult) coops, like Pandemic.
The book looks great, the disaster is unfolding in front of you and is illustrated nicely (it’s strange to talk about a beautiful looking disaster, but OK..). The back of the passengers cards have an illustration of the original ticket, that’s cool. Overall the illustrations are very beautiful and have an early twentieth century vibe.
This game isn’t incredibly impressively looking as a whole (a small card game), but because of the colour combinations that were chosen (the purple and yellow) and the illustrations it does stand out. Look at the pictures, very flavourful and just attractive.

Quality of the components

A decent book with a binder and nice cards with linen finish. Just good quality.


I think this game is pretty fun. It’s better than Patience on the computer, because it’s a more dynamic game. The crew members with their abilities and the action cards are a very nice addition to this well known game. There’s more tension because of the sinking ship and I like turning over cards better than clicking. It is just as quick and just as addicting as Patience. 
Yes, I like to play this solitaire more, because it’s quicker and I can do all the thinking, than multiplayer, but the two player games were also quite nice.
I bought it primarily for solo playing purposes, so for me it’s perfect. As a three or four player coop game it isn’t as interesting, as I have described above. So keep that in mind. As a solo game I recommend it.


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