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Play OverviewPlay Overview

ShipShape (2019) is a collecting and sequencing game where you compete to create the highest-scoring ship full of loot. You bid for hole-ridden Crate pieces, then carefully stack them in order to form your Hold. It is part auction, part puzzle where you have to make your best guess for how overlapping Crates reveal or hide valuable cargo.

Play involves sharing a set of stacked Crate pieces and taking turns to place one in your Hold. The aim is to reveal or hide the appropriate gold, munitions and contraband by cleverly overlapping the holes in your stack of Crates. You want the most gold and munitions but not the most contraband (otherwise you get arrested).

Before drawing Crates you can peer into the stack to try and gauge which pieces you want from how well their shapes match items already in your Hold. Players then bid with their sailors to decide who goes first. You then take the Crates in turn, when they are all gone you total the scores.

You do this for three rounds, each time the trailing player gets the best starting Hold. The result is a fascinating combination of bidding against your opponents using incomplete information combined with the spacial puzzle of best organising the cargo crates that you end up with.

Our examiner, Rob Prior, first checked ShipShape 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 3 months ago.
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Play StylePlay Style

This is a Puzzle and Sequencing game with Collecting and Push-Your-Luck elements. You can play with 2 to 6 players in the same room. When you play with 2 players, you are provided with a third "ghost" player in order for the game to work. Works best with 4 or more players.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Learn to Play: This takes 25 minutes to learn. The placement of the Crates is relatively simple to understand, but how they combine and how to bid for them takes a bit longer.

When you first play:
  • Look at all the Hold mats and Crate pieces carefully to see what is available.
  • Be clear on how the icons are scored at the end of each round.
  • Practise stacking three Crate pieces to see how they can be best rotated and flipped.

Play Time: This game will take between 20 minutes and 40 minutes to complete. The length of play depends on the number of players playing and the decision-making time needed for each player.


This game is good if you want to:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need spatial awareness to stack the pieces and understand auction style bidding. They may end up bidding for a piece and discovering it doesn't match like they thought.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds. The Hold mats contain themes and images of rats, cannons and contraband. You are rewarded for stealing (as long as you don't steal too much).


There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2019

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Players: 2-6

Genres: Puzzle, Sequencing (Collecting and Push-Your-Luck)

Accessibility: 27 features

Components: Cards, Placeables and Tokens

Developer: Calliope Games (@CalliopeGames)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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