Bruise Cruise is a multifaceted game with many layers of strategy. We spoke to some expert players to get their take on various parts of the game. Here's what they had to say:
How do you choose your Home Port?
Kyle from San Diego, CA: New Orleans and Hamilton are out for me, unless you're planning to play a game in which you try to grab all of the missiles and just shoot those without doing much sailing. I usually just pick something in the Central or Southern Region to maximize the number of ports I can reach during the game.
Kristen from Boston, MA: If I have two Action Cards in my opening hand that are right next to each other, I always choose one of those. It's an easy way to score a point and get another ship right away.
Do you stockpile weapons early on?
Ryan from Pittsburgh, PA: Only if the cards dictate that I should. If I start off with two cards that allow me to exchange for two torpedoes, then I'm doing that just to send a message: don't come near my ships. Of course, you also then have to pick up a bunch of life preservers so you don't lose the weapons in case someone else is playing a weapons-heavy strategy.
Kyle: Missiles, yes. Torpedoes, no. Missiles are just more flexible, and easier to stockpile because they're cheaper and more cards can be traded for them.
Kristen: Not really. I pick them up as I go, but my main objective is to claim ports. As an experiment, my boyfriend once played a game where he only commissioned one ship and just tried to win with torpedoes and missiles and raiding my ships. I think I doubled his score.
Do you try to remember the cards that have been played?
Manny from Miami, FL: Only in a two-player game (because you go through the deck of cards once). That way I can tell whether I need to claim more than one port in a region. Like if I have Cartagena in my hand and my opponent plays the other Cartagena card, then I'm going to try to claim Cartagena because he can't take it away from me. But with more than two players, when you're going through the deck twice, it's just too much to remember.
Kyle: I actually developed some mnemonic devices to remember certain cards, especially the Unfathomable Cards. If the torpedo-stealing card (Torpedo becomes Yourpedo) has been played, I place one of my uncommissioned ships on the corner of the board. Then I know it's safe to pick up a bunch of torpedoes. But then I have to remember what all of my mnemonics mean, of course, which itself is a chore.
Ryan: No, but now that you mention it, I probably should!
Do you try to decommission all of your ships?
Ryan: It depends on where my Home Port is. If it's in the Central Region, then I can probably get them all back home before the cards run out. But if an opponent gets far ahead in the number of ships they have sailing, then I don't try to play catch-up. I just start blasting.
Manny: I let the flow of the game dictate it, which is one of the things I love about this game—you can go in playing one strategy and suddenly switch directions because of an unexpected move by another player or some of the "warp" Unfathomable cards. If I get a few of the cards that let me warp around the board, then yeah, I'm going to try to decommission. It's basically free points. And if I'm ahead by three or more points, then I'm racing to decommission so I can end the game. But that rarely happens if you're playing with more than one other person because they'll all try to prevent me from doing that.
Kristen: Usually yes, because I'm more of a cruiser than a bruiser :-)
Got any tips you'd like to share or have questions?
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Some answers have been edited with permission for clarity, succinctness, and terminology.