Hit singles, laidback clothes and lavish parties… it’s the life of a Rock Star in the board game Yacht Rock by Prospero Hall or as they jokingly appear on the box cover Prospero & Hall (ala Hall and Oates).
Today, in Board Game Reviews on cottagemixtape.com we are reviewing Yacht Rock, a game set in the mid 70s /early 80s where you play a yacht rock star. For those not familiar with the genre, Yacht Rock, think Toto’s “Africa“, Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go For That” or Christopher Cross’ “Sailing“. An era of music that was all about soft rock sounds for breezy afternoons on the Yacht or in your convertible driving down on the highway.
In this game you essentially take turns going around (starting “with the most relaxed player” first) as each player picks up a style card which consists of either: clothing (i.e. hats, shoes, shirt, sunglasses and pants) or a musical style (e.g. “smooth saxophone” or “gentle beat”) for potential hit songs. The purpose of the clothing cards is to acquire the best, most complete outfit with only keeping one article type each. That means only one hat, one shirt, etc. If you draw more than one clothing article type you will have to sell it for points (1 each). The clothing cards have different point values (1 or 3) and different colours.
The purpose of the musical style cards is to get all three style cards needed to record one of the two hit songs dealt on the board. Or you collaborate with another player if you have a card each. If you record the song by yourself it is worth 8 points. If you collaborate it is worth 3 points for both players.
Ride Like The Wind and listen to Christopher Cross on Cottage Country Mix Vol. 7:
At the end of each round, once you have dealt all the style cards, you must choose which party (‘soiree’) you will attend (e.g. “Palm Springs House Party” or “Catalina Beach Party”). The purpose is to score bonus points for your clothes and hit singles. On the tops of the soiree card it will give you a hint for what to expect (e.g. a particular colour of card or the hit single icon) in order to get the most bonus points. Once players have decided with their guitar pick which party they will attend, you flip over the card to reveal the bonus point scheme. You score the points, collect all the style cards and redistribute for the next round for a total of three rounds. The player with the most points at the end wins!
Listen to the Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes” on Cottage Country Vol. 14
It should almost be a rule that if you record the hit single, you should have to make up the song on spot, duets too. In fact, they should have provided short fake soft rock instrumentals to do this and made them downloadable on their website or Youtube page (I feel like I am giving you jewels, here people). Now that we are making up rules, you should also have to swap out the songs at the end of each round depending on how many players. We found that if you only are playing with 2-3 players, it may take a while to get the right combination of song style cards to record a single (especially by yourself). This can bottleneck the gameplay until you draw enough or the right song style cards and by then it is already into the second or last round. Finally, it would be awesome if you actually had the clothes (or something comparable) and you had to wear them. Obviously that would have made the game expensive, so get your friends to bring their own.
Does Yacht Rock float the boat?
I would say: I Can Go For That. The gameplay is simplistic and turn based, so it is not frantic but it’s still fun and engaging. I thought stylistically, its design was well-thought out with an apparent late 70s to early 80s flair but they also took their time to do at least a little research. Yacht Rock enthusiast will understand the humour, particularly the faux hit single song titles and their implicit styles. That being said, it is obviously a bit of a gimmick and may only appeal to a certain demograph who “get it” but what’s not to get? Its Pop music, dumb clothes and parties. At least, for everyone else the point system and the will to win may grab them. We played it once, enjoyed it and played it again, so there is some replay value. How much replay value in the long term remains to be seen but it is a fun, social game.
Rating – Yacht Rock
Yacht Rock gets a 3.5 out of 5
Players: 2 – 6
Duration: 18-25 minutes a game.
Learning Curve: Easy to play.