First Impression By Louis Spencer JR | June 12, 2018
Transatlantic was the new game at Spiel Essen 2017 from PD-Verlag. It has gone through multiple stages and has been in the works for several years. Now Mac Gerdts’ game about steamships is finally in the hands of the players. Transatlantic is all about buying steamships and using them to transport goods in different sea regions. Players can acquire historical ships such as the Rotterdam, New England and even the famous Titanic. The game even comes with a historical booklet with background information about all the ships in the game.
What is Transatlantic like?
Transatlantic borrows quite a few concepts and mechanics from an earlier Mac Gerdts’ game, but I’m going to try not to name that game until later and focus on Transatlantic in a vacuum. In Transatlantic there is no map or area control. Instead there are sea regions where players compete in shipping and are trying to outclass opponents ships with faster, heavier or higher passenger capacity ships.
Players all recieve a small player board which holds different good tokens that match the flag colour of the ship cards in the game. These will function as multipliers when scoring points from your ships. Players also start with a sail ship and one steam ship. A large part of the game is to acquire new ships, that players then deploy into a sea region, where they’ll earn players money. With money players can buy new and better ships, or buy trade houses which can earn points during the game. This happens when a player ships in a corresponding sea region. Newer ships being deployed into a sea region can push older ships out of business and eventually these ships will be scrapped. When a ship is scrapped you gain points according to the good tokens in the matching colour you have, added by the number of ships of the same colour in the docks.
So how does this all work out in players turns. Well players have a starting hand of 7 cards that they use to perform actions. Each turn you play a card en carry out the corresponding action. One of the 7 cards allows you to take the cards you played in previous turns back into hand and lets you acquire new cards for your ‘deck’ from an open supply of 5 cards. The cards players can acquire are upgraded versions of the cards players start with or totaly new action cards. Steam ships require coal to ship so one of the cards lets you add coal to your steamships. Another lets you transport with two ships. Another lets you buy new ships.