1 April 2024 | Fish with Knives

An Undersea Battle

Announcing Fish with Knives, a Brand-New Game of Undersea Conflict

Something fishy is going on…

The depths of the ocean—from shining surface to umbral abyss—are entrenched in constant conflict. Unlikely alliances form and dissolve daily in this ever-shifting ecosystem. As leaders of these aquatic battalions, armed to the teeth (or baleen) with various weaponry, you must turn the tides to your favor and vie for control of this incredible—and deadly—underwater kingdom.

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce Fish with Knives, a brand-new deckbuilding game that is sure to have you hooked!

This very sea-rious game for 2 to 4 players pits you against your fishy friends in epic, underwater battles for oceanic supremacy. Build your school of fighting fish (and the occasional whale) and strive to control as many of the ocean’s various zones as possible. Will you emerge as the one true ruler of the seas? Or will you wind up as mere fish bones on the ocean floor?

Sharpen Your Knives (and Swords, Axes, Spears…)

Like most deckbuilding games, each player begins a game of Fish with Knives with an identical starter deck. There are seven seas, and thus seven starter cards within that deck: four Goldfish , two Sea Snails , and a single Tiger Shark . You may notice from the cards’ traits (it’s not an FFG game without traits) that the various “creature cards” come in several different types, such as Fish, Mollusk, Shark, Whale, and more. Optimizing your underwater army with a sizeable spread of sea-dwelling species is key to success, as we’ll go over in a moment.

After gathering their starting decks, players shuffle all of the non-starter creature cards together, then deal 5 of them out into the Fish Market. This is where you can recruit more scaly soldiers for your fishy forces, so long as you can properly feed them. Once the Fish Market is set, players arrange the starting Zones— Barrier Reef , Rapid Current , Creepy Caves , and Inky Depths —in descending order of depth. The remaining Zone cards are shuffled into their own separate decks based on type.

The player who most recently ate fish (or held a knife, if you’re playing with a vegetarian) goes first, and with that, the battle is ready to begin!

The goal of the game is to be the player with the most Fish Bones at the end. To earn Fish Bones, you must gain control of the various Zones by deploying your weapon-wielding water-dwellers. Each creature has a “fight” value in the top-right corner of its card, which represents the creature’s ability to “negotiate” with rival occupants of its given zone. For example, the Angel Fish has a fight value of 2, while the mighty Great White Shark boasts a fight value of 5.

Of course, in order to add stronger and stronger fishy fighters into your deck, you’ll need to lure them to your cause with food. Each creature card in the Fish Market has a specific food cost, which you can spend food tokens to purchase with the Recruit action on your turn. Purchased creatures go into your discard pile to be used in later rounds. You can earn food by deploying creatures like the Betafish , Nautilus , Sawfish , or Basking Shark , but take care not to take too long; you can only perform a single action each turn (Recruit or Deploy), which means another player may snatch up your prospective soldier from the Market before you find enough food to recruit them! Thankfully, you bring any food you earn with you between rounds, so even if someone steals your catch, you can always use that food to cast your line again later.

Players keep taking turns Recruiting and Deploying their creatures into the various Zones until everyone either cannot or chooses not to Recruit or Deploy anything else. Then, the End of Round phase begins. Starting at the Sunlight Zone and moving deeper, each player resolves any “end of round” effects listed on their creature cards in that zone, then apply any effects from the Zone card itself. Once all effects are resolved, players compare their total fight values for each Zone, with the player with the highest total fight gaining control of that Zone.

For example, over the course of the round, Ishmael deployed a Sunfish along with three of his starting Goldfish into the Coral Reef , while his opponent Marina deployed a Shovelnose Ray , a Mackerel , and a Sea Cucumber into the Zone.

At the end of the round, Ishmael’s Sunfish gains fight equal to the number of fish in its zone (5), and the Coral Reef grants him 1 fight for each fish he controls, netting him an additional 4. Combined with the inherent fighting spirits of his trio of Goldfish, Ishmael is sitting at a comfortable 9 fight in the Coral Reef for the round. Meanwhile Marina’s Shovelnose Ray has 3 fight, her Mackerel has 2, and the Sea Cucumber has 0. The Coral Reef only grants her 1 additional fight at the end of the round, bringing her total to 6. She loses the battle for the reef to Ishmael, but she also earned herself a ton of food, setting herself up nicely for a comeback in the next round.

Each Zone is worth a certain amount of Fish Bones, which you need in order to win the game. Zones are worth more Fish Bones the deeper you go, but they also get more dangerous. Zones like the Fishing Vessel and Ancient Shipwreck can discard creatures from play, while others like the Algae Forest and Abyssal Trench can “eat” creatures, removing them from the game entirely. The Zones add all sorts of strategic depth to the game, especially when considering where to deploy your troops. Perhaps you’ll protect your forces with a Surf Clam or a Lobster ; maybe you’ll sabotage your opponents by using a Cuttlefish or River Dolphin to move their creatures to a more dangerous location; or you could double down on the feeding frenzy by using such locations—along with creatures like the Manta Ray and Giant Moray Eel —to thin your deck of any remaining small fry. The ocean is an unforgiving place, and sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to stay on top of the food chain!

A Vicious Battle Beneath the Waves

All of Fantasy Flight Games’ storied history has culminated in the glory that is Fish with Knives. This is a game for anyone, whether you’re a big fish in a small pond or just one mackerel in a school of thousands. Be sure to keep an eye out on the Fish with Knives Official Website for more information about this incredible game, including a sneak peek at the upcoming official Organized Play program.

Look forward to fighting your fellow fish when Fish with Knives arrives in stores early next year!

You can pre-order your own copy of Fish with Knives (FWK01) at your local seafood restaurant today!

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