Bruise Cruise is a humorous board game that can be played with 2-4 players. While playing with 3 or 4 players can up the ante, 2-player games are just as challenging and can be accomplished usually in under 60 minutes. Here are some tips to help you beat your opponent.
Choose the best Home Port
Probably the most important decision you need to make when playing Bruise Cruise is your Home Port's location. You're quite literally dealt a hand that limits options, but you do have choices.
Is there any one perfect Home Port? No. It really depends on your opponent's home port if they've chosen before you and what cards you have been dealt. One consideration is to avoid Hamilton as a home port as it's pretty far to sail out of and get back to towards the end of the game, but it's not unheard of.
If your opponent chooses their Home Port first, you can opt to choose a Home Port close to theirs to increase your chances of firing torpedoes at them, but it also increases your chances of getting fired upon as well. It's best to choose a Home Port that has one of the following characteristics:
- Has multiple ports near it to increase the potential of picking up ports more easily right from your home port, such as the Eastern or Southern regions
- Where you have multiple Action cards in a particular region, making it easy for some quick points at the get-go
- Is centrally located on the board. This way you can claim ports in new regions and commission new ships fairly quickly.
- Is decidedly far away from your opponent's home port. This is the least important of all considerations as you can easily get ambushed by a missile or an Unfathomable card. No one is ever safe.
Pay attention to discards
With 2-player game play, players only go through the 108 card deck once. This makes it easier to pay attention to cards that have been played and what you can do about it.
There are exactly two Action cards for each port and one of every Unfathomable card. Why this is helpful:
- You maybe be unable to decommission your ships. If you have only one port claimed in a region, and your opponent has that card, they can fight you for that port. If you lose, you need to go back and claim another port in that region before you can decommission any of your ships. [Side note: your commissionable ship is still active if you lose.]
- Something bad could happen to you. Unfathomable cards are just that: unfathomable. If you have a torpedo, it can be stolen from you with Torpedo Becomes Yourpedo! Unfathomable card or you could get blown seven spaces East or West with W/Easterly Wind Unfathomable card. By paying attention to what Unfathomable cards have been played, you can set yourself up defensively.
Monitor flags and weapons
There are finite numbers of flags (12), torpedoes (15), and missiles (18). As the deck starts to whittle down to a scant few, you have limited options for how you can obtain points. A few considerations:
- If you don't have any more flags, you can't claim any more ports, so use wisely
- Missiles go hand in hand with Action cards. If you don't have Action cards that can reach your opponent, they are worthless.
- Conversely, if you have the opportunity, make sure the missile stockpile doesn't run out
- Torpedoes can be really helpful if you're near your opponent towards the end, but you also have to be careful they haven't hoarded a bunch that can come back to haunt you.
When the deck has been exhausted, each player takes turns as usual with one difference: they must use a card as one of their moves in their turn. Otherwise, it would be a painful finish with each player moving 2 spaces at a time. Because there are some very common moves that don't use cards, you have to pay attention to your options. For example, you CANNOT:
- Move one space to your home port and decommission that ship. Instead: Move one space to your home port and use a card to move another ship. The next turn you can decommission and use another card for something else.
- Remove an anchor and fire a torpedo. This is the worst scenario you can be in. You're close to your opponent, but you have an anchor. They can keep torpedoing you and you can't move. You need to remove your anchor and then use a card to get out of there.
- Exchange life preservers for a torpedo and fire a torpedo. In this scenario, you also aren't using a card. However, it is acceptable if you have a card to exchange a torpedo and then fire your torpedo.
Apply to 3- and 4-player games
While these tips focus on 2-player game play, you can easily apply these techniques to 3- or 4-player games as well; it's just a little more complicated.
Have other tips? Throw us a line.