Manufacturer Gamewright
Year 2001
Designer Stefan Dorra
Turn The Tide Box Art

A welcome reissue of Land Unter from Gamewright. Save your sheep from the rising tides in this unique blind bidding game.

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    Blind bidding games turn many people off for the chaos they inherently have. Turn the Tide is unique, in that players don't have identical cards to bid, (as in Raj), but after the cards are dealt out, each player will get to play each hand of cards, not just their own. Turn the Tide is a remake of Land Unter, which is in fact a retheming of Zuk Kuckuck.

The Gameplay

    Turn the Tide consists of two decks of cards. The first deck is numbered 1 through 60. Each card shows either a full or half life preserver on it. After the players receive their hands, the number of life preservers in each hand are counted, (fractions rounded down), and each player is given than number of life preserver tokens.
    The second deck consists of tide cards, numberd 1-12???, showing a lighthouse and sheep in various levels of drowning. Two cards are turned up, and each player secretly selects one of the cards in their hand. The cards are revealed simultaneously, and the highest card takes the lower of the two tide cards, while the lowest player takes the higher of the two tide cards. Tide cards are placed in a pile in front of each player, covering up any previous tide cards that a player had taken. The player or players with the highest valued tide card must discard one of their life preservers. If a player has no life preservers left, and is forced to lose another one, that player is out for the rest of the round. Once all of the tide deck has been gone through, each player scores the number of life preservers they have left, with a bonus for not being knocked out of a round. The life preservers are discarded, the tide cards are then picked up and shuffled, and each player then passes their hand to the left. Each player then gets the preservers due that hand, and a new round is played.

The Scoring

    Once each player has had a chance to play each hand, the person who scored the most life preservers is the winner. 

Why this game is so great

    There are a couple of things that make this game so interesting. The first is the fact that it's not always obvious what makes a good hand or a bad one. Certainly a hand of all high cards would be pretty safe, as you could always win every hand, and always take the lower of the two tide cards. Unless two 11s came up, in which case, you'd lose a preserver. Also, the better hands have far fewer life preservers on them, making a two preserver hand a bit more challenging to play well, as there is far less margin for error. And all it takes is a bad sequence of tide cards to leave you losing several rounds in a row. Getting rid of a high tide card can be more difficult than it would appear, as you have to either win a card play, or lose one that has a lower high card than someone else's high tide card already on the table. And as each player gets a chance to play each hand, no one can complain about getting a bad hand. Also, the cards and components of the game are top notch, with a sturdy box, thick life preserver tokens, and scoring pad.

Why others don't agree

    I certainly don't think the game is perfect,  as there are a few minor flaws. The first flaw is that with 4 or five players, it can overstay its welcome, running a bit long for a blind bidding game. The second flaw is that on the first hand, no one knows what cards the other players have, while as the game progresses, everyone will know where the 60 is, This is easily remedied by having the players all show their hands before the first round. The final flaw is that in spite of the fact that each player will play each hand, the way the Tide cards come out has a far greater impact on how a hand will play than the hand itself. So even though it looks as though the luck of the draw has been mitigated, it hasn't really. Its just been moved from the cards you are dealt to the tide cards that come up. Still for everyone but the blind bidding haters, its low price makes it worth picking up.


Strategy:  3
Complexity:  3
Fun:  7
Overall:  6

Buy/Read about Turn the Tide now at Funagain

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