The early bird gets the worm! Or in this case, the fish.
Theme and What is it?
Visit the cold waters in the Pacific Northwest to catch fish and sell them on the docks. Each player is a fisherman braving the sea to fulfill contracts for public corporations and local restaurants. The player who has the highest score when the ocean runs out of fish wins!
Players will bid using money to determine who gets the first choice of action and may also earn you fish. The player who bids the highest will get the first choice of either going fishing or going to the dock. Fishing allows you to select fish polyominoes while visiting the dock has each fisherman filling orders for the corporations and/or restaurants. Players will need certain combinations of fish to fulfill orders. Once a round has completed, the fish in the ocean are replenished and bidding begins for the next round. Once the ocean bag runs out of tiles, it will trigger the end game beginning the final rounds.
Public Market initial play through was well received! I really enjoyed the bidding style not being an auction but a pay for turn order and fish for your ice chest. If multiple people went to the same place, you could pay to go before the other person at that location. The competitiveness of being first to the fishing hole to make your selection is a great tension for this game.
Game Build Quality
The game components were overall excellent quality! The cards were of great card stock, and the imagery used in the game for the most part was excellent. Only issue we ran into was with the herring. Herring on all items except the polyominoes and tiles were green, yet on the polyominoes were purple. This was probably an error on the printing but it did cause some confusion fish were different sizes on the polyominoes making them look like possibly different fish. This appears to have been changed on the Kickstarter.
Sobel and Washburn have done a great job with Public Market artistically! The look of the player boards fits you thematically like being on a pier or dock. Ice chests are unique and create and solo challenge to place your fish. Imagery on the bidding board is very easy to decipher and well organized to make it easy to understand. And Crab Meeples?!?!?!?! I’m sold.
From the opening bidding for first turn to the final catch of the day, Public Market kept me enthralled! A little tension is on through the entire game through bidding, reading your opponents, knowing where to move the boat. Placing the fish just right into your ice chest to maximize your return when you head in to the docks is very satisfying. A very delightful day on the ocean and pier!
Age Range & Weight
The weight of this game is light to medium weight is reasonable for a 14+ to be able to handle. The basic concepts of bidding, polyomino placement in your ice chest to complete orders will not be difficult for that age group to understand. The decision process is very intuitive for when to go fishing versus when to go to the dock. There are not many combos or even medium engine building to the game, as at most you can add permanent fish to your boat. Solid light to medium weight game.
Public Market is a thinky, racing puzzle to catch the fish needed to fill orders. The early bird will get the worm and the fish to fill the open orders. Would highly recommend this game for those that enjoy the puzzling nature of polyominoes or the efficiency of filling your ice chest to the brim before taking it to the docks to sell. Keep the restaurants and businesses well stocked better than the other fisherman better than the others to earn the victory!
Check out the Kickstarter!
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