Gameday First Play – World of Yo-Ho
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Become the most famous captain of Yo-Ho, a parallel world teeming with intelligent animals, lost islands, and wild magic! In search of fame and fortune, you will explore the mysteries of Yo-Ho and battle sea monsters and other booty hungry corsairs in tactical naval engagements. Fill your holds with plunder you can use to upgrade your boat and acquire useful items and more powerful weaponry. Stock up on swag and fly your colours high.
This is a game where you sail a ship around a large board, but the ship is your phone… I take pictures of the games I’m playing but obviously as the phone is my ship I wasn’t able to take pictures, only screenshots. (exiting the app causes the game to pause) Here is an image from BGG of what this looks like, impressive huh?
You’re sailing around the board with your phone finding things and completing missions.
You pick a boat and character and it gives you a list of missions you can choose from to get you going. It then tells you where to put your phone on the board and you’re good to go.
On your turn you will mostly set sail, moving orthogonally around the board. You click the ‘Set Sail’ icon and move your phone, the app knows where you went.
Your missions will take you around the board, either to ports or areas. If it’s a Port, or Fort or whatever you just go there and an icon will light up with instructions. It might say check around an Island or check a certain route so you need to move around until the thing you’re looking for shows itself.
You can get there first and mess up your opponents missions… Not sure how this happens? I know when you leave a Port if you don’t sneak out the next person in will get your current mission details or something? I was having too much fun playing the game to worry about a little thing like that 😉
Something that isn’t little is combat, you can use your earned cash to buy stuff like Cannons, Boarding Hooks, Swords etc If you pull up next to someone, you can attack them.
You pick up your phone and take turns selecting combat stuff. What your opponent picks is hidden.
You put your phone back and and it runs a little animation showing each ship shooting each other and moving onto the other players phone if boarding. It’s very nice.
Each attack is worth a number value and these are compared after, including your Ship and Captain stats… Then you get a results page.
BTW I was Capt Rob the Walrus. Each Captain has a downside and mine was he needed to sleep every now and then so every so often I’d have to skip a turn 🙂
Back to combat, some missions want you to ‘teach someone a lesson’ meaning you have X turns to beat them in a fight. If you lose a fight you might get a mission to get some payback in X turns… very fun.
So this continues until someone wins the game…
How do you win? Well, there are 3 downsides to the game which will help explain why I’m not answering that…
Firstly, I mentioned earlier you can’t come out the app without disrupting the game.
Secondly, going into a Port is a slow process. You have to look at things, maybe repair your ship, read details of missions, find their destination on the board etc etc While someone is doing this, no other players can do anything…
Thirdly, my iPhone is 5 years old, the battery is less than perfect and it was on 70% when we started the game… It died before the game ended cutting everyone off.
Also you need the phones to be connected which is less than ideal in some FLGS’s I’ve played in.
It’s also comparatively expensive. A majority of the cost of game development is obviously in the free app so when you open the box and see 2 big boards, a few cards (that you don’t need) and some stick on Pirates (that you don’t need) for a full price game it looks less than impressive.
But, despite the price and tech issues the game is a lot of fun.
There is a tonne of hidden information, both from the players and what’s on the board. This is really what the app is for, it can’t be recreated in a deck of cards or anything else.
Overall I liked it but I can see this being in the bargain bin in the very near future. So, it’ll be cheap, but that will hurt app development I guess… We’ll see.
I feel like I’m being negative but I really did enjoy this game. I’m hoping that more games like this will appear, a heavy Merchants and Marauders style game would be awesome 🙂