The Anchors Aweigh board game brings entertainment for the whole family

22. September 2018 - Anika Semmer

Anchors Aweigh Board Game - Collecting Game for Nimble Seafarers | Review


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Ahoy sailor! Can you be faster, more foresighted and more successful than your competitors? In the Anchors Aweigh board game the action starts right away. Who will be the richest after the last voyage?

The Anchors Aweigh board game is a family game for children aged 7 and over that fulfils the most important criterion to immediately inspire small board players: it starts quickly, is entertaining and boredom has no place on board from the first minute.

You are a seafarer, own a beautiful wooden ship and compete with your rivals to load up on much sought-after equipment and goods in order to fulfil orders. Which risk-taking seafarer will the pirates plunder of treasure chests and goods? And who has amassed the most wealth after the last fast sea voyage?

Of course, some ships also have monkeys and parrots on board! In the conclusion, you’ll find out exactly what it’s all about and how I come to the conclusion that the Anchors Aweigh board game is a recommendable family game that is also a great introduction to a game evening.

Note on transparency: The publisher Abacusspiele kindly provided us with a free review copy of the Anchors Aweigh board game. However, this review is unpaid and reflects our independent opinion.

The Anchors Aweigh Board Game at a Glance

  • Game type: Family game, Collecting game
  • Age: from 7 years
  • Players: 2 – 4 sailors
  • Duration: approx. 30 minutes
  • Publisher: Abacuspiele
  • Author: Carlo A. Rossi
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Goal of the game: Two times, equip your ship with the most lucrative equipment and goods, think cleverly, sell or exchange them and thus enter the harbour victoriously as the richest seafarer.
ABACUSSPIELE 04181 - Alles an Bord?!, Familienspiel, Legespiel, Silver
ABACUSSPIELE 04181 - Alles an Bord?!, Familienspiel, Legespiel, Silver
Die Spielregeln sind einfach und gut verständlich; Kombination aus Geschwindigkeits- und Memospiel
16,95 EUR

Rules and Game Principle of the Anchors Aweigh Board Game

The Anchors Aweigh board game is a family game

Game setup for the Anchors Aweigh board game with 2 players

The game consists of 4 ship tableaus – one ship per navigator – 84 equipment tiles, 52 adventure cards, coins and treasure chests as currency and 64 wooden goods bags. The scope is manageable and the game is quick to set up and does not need a long preparation time. The game material is of high quality, but how it will stand up to the long-term test remains to be seen.

Game Preparation

In front of each navigator anchors his empty ship equipped with cargo spaces. First put a screen on each ship so that parts of the cargo are hidden from the eyes of the other sailors. All the equipment tiles are placed in a pile in the middle of the table.

Goods, coins, treasure chests and parrots are placed in separate piles next to them. Separate the adventure cards by colour, shuffle each colour and place them in separate piles.

Now draw 5 discovery cards, 2 trade cards, 3 pirate cards and 3 order cards from the piles and form a circle with them face down around the pile of equipment tiles in the centre of the table.


The Anchors Aweigh board game is a family game where each player has their own ship

Ship loaded with equipment tokens – the goods are still missing

Each game consists of 2 phases and lasts a total of 2 seafaring rounds.

As a starting signal, the players shout “Anchors aweigh!” and turn over the 13 cards together at the same time. The cards show tasks that the seafarers should complete as many times as possible and with as much foresight as possible in order to collect a lot of coins.

1st Phase – Loading

Then the clock is ticking as all the sailors load the recorded loading slots on their ship with equipment of their choice and two goods on the 2 loading slots recorded separately below deck. The adventurer cards laid out show what is needed to complete this card and what reward can be obtained when completing it in phase 2.

Weighing up what is worthwhile and a little strategy are therefore necessary! You may only load with one hand at a time and there may only be one tile on each loading place and only 2 goods on the two extra loading places below deck, which may not be put back as soon as they are placed.

As soon as the first seafarer has finished loading, he shouts: “Cast off!”, he may collect all the equipment cards and stack them face down next to him. The other sailors may still finish loading their ships – the only help that might be useful is to look at the already loaded decks of the other players, the collected cards may no longer be looked at.

There are equipment tiles with starfish, which count in the three- and four-player game, but have no place on the ship in the two-player game!

2nd Phase – The Journey

The Anchors Aweigh board game is an entertaining collectible game

On and below deck of the ship are storage spaces of each player

The player who has loaded his ship the fastest and has the cards next to him shuffles them and draws the cards one after the other from top to bottom. Order cards are placed unseen at the bottom of the pile and are only revealed at the end.

If the player uncovers a green discovery card or a blue trade card, all players decide at the same time whether they want to fulfil the task. If so, they discard or return the necessary equipment and goods to the centre of the table and to the warehouses and take the reward for it. They put coins next to their sail, goods go on a free place on the ship. If there is no free space left, the player must discard an item of equipment or goods!

If a pirate card is turned over, each player must say aloud whether they will face the pirates or sail away head over heels. Only then is the card revealed. All sailors who have fled may not fulfil the card. All others must fulfil it and may collect the reward – if they cannot, they must give 2 coins and 1 item to the pirates.

The last 3 cards are the order cards. They are turned over one after the other and the players decide at the same time whether they want to fulfil them and take the reward and discard the goods as before.

End of the Game

Anchors Aweigh board game that is fast, entertaining and fun

Fully loaded ship on the voyage with 2 treasure chests from round 1

After the first round, each navigator gets 1 coin for each remaining item on his ship and discards it. Equipment is simply discarded until the ship is empty again.

Then each seafarer exchanges 10 coins each for 1 treasure chest and places them on any combination loading space on his ship – this space is now blocked for the second round and may no longer be used for loading and travelling. The remaining coins remain next to his sail.

The second round runs exactly like the first round: 13 new cards are laid out around the equipment token pile and the call “Anchors aweigh” starts the second round.

The only exception: The player who has the fewest coins gets a parrot and may let it flutter onto his ship. It is a joker and may be used once in this round for any equipment tile.

After the second round, all seafarers exchange their coins for treasure chests again and count their wealth: The richest seafarer wins!

Evaluation and Conclusion

Everything overboard is easy, the luck factor is low, memorisation and concentration are important, but so is speed.  And there are no waiting times! The game principle is simple, but really fun – especially since the age difference hardly matters. A 7-year-old child is not overwhelmed by Everything Overboard and has just as much fun with it as older siblings and parents. As an introduction to a game evening, adult-only groups also have fun with Everything Overboard – with a few tightened rules and variations that increase the competition.

Speed is important – but not everything! In Anchors Aweigh it pays to keep track, to quickly grasp which cards are the most lucrative and to think about which equipment to stow under the deck hidden from the eyes of your competitors. But if you think about it too long, you sit on your half-loaded ship and have to watch as the informative cards are quickly collected – and then the interpretation of the other players’ decks begins.

Because loading is quick, all the sailors rummage wildly through the tiles and grab the goods – we have found that Everything Overboard is even more fun when a large part of the tiles is covered and you have to turn around and the rummaging becomes even wilder. With several players, there are not enough equipment for everyone!


Rule Variations

To make the competition, which makes for great fun, even tougher, there are suggested game variants of the rules. Thus, even with 3-4 players, the equipment tiles marked with starfish can be omitted and the monkeys can be used as wild cards. Or two identical equipment tiles can be used as a joker for any 1 piece of equipment. And of course you can think of further rule changes and tightenings yourself!

When travelling, you suddenly realise that it is not so easy to know for sure which orders are still to come. What was on the pirate cards again? Because they can rob you blind financially. And what did you want to use to increase your wealth the most?

Also included in the game are tiles with little monkeys that block a combination place in their ship as a handicap for more experienced players – in our case, from the second round onwards, the two adults had a monkey on board, which actually provided more excitement and gave the kids an advantage.

At 30 minutes, the playing time is generously stated – experienced players can manage a game in about 10 to 20 minutes after the first few familiarisation rounds.


Anchors Aweigh is an all-round, beautifully designed family game that is easy to understand and play. It provides entertaining fun without any waiting phases and is an enrichment for the game cupboard.

Fancy more great family games? On our leisure ideas portal, you can always stay up to date on recommended new games. And there are also lots of ideas for gifts and activities with children, your partner and friends!

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