Calvin’s Commentaries: Coldwater Crown

If you like fishing, and I count myself among those who do, then Coldwater Crown is most certainly a game to try.

If you are not into riding around in a boat tossing spoons into the water in hopes a pike will attack it, well this game might be of less interest, although it plays so well, it’s still a fun game, if theme does not matter to you.

So what is this game all about?

“You’ve secured your spot as a competitor in the world-renowned Coldwater Crown fishing tournament, and the contest has just begun! Will you be able to cast the right bait at the right time to reel in the biggest fish? Will you be able to strategically balance your efforts at the different fishing locations to win the most trophies? Very little is certain on these frigid waters, but it’s guaranteed the fish will be biting,” details the fluff in the rulebook.

As in fishing, he who catches the most and biggest fish gets bragging rights for the day.

“During the game, you will catch a variety of fish from the Shore, River, and Lake. You will compete with the other players to win various contests based on the fish you catch to earn victory points. At the end of the game, the player with most points is crowned champion!

To catch fish, you’ll cast bait from the four Zones (Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6) on your player board. Whenever you cast the last piece of bait from a particular Zone, take note of the bait’s color and the Zone number. You catch a fish from the same Zone number on the game board that matches that bait’s color. You’ll also catch the special Master Angler fish by casting the right combinations of bait as the game goes along,” denotes the rules.

What designer Brian Suhre has accomplished here is to mimic the actions of a real fisherman on a game board. Frankly, I was skeptical it was possible, but Suhre manages it in almost every sense.

Players get to fish in four different areas; river, lake, etc. with a definite element of luck on what species you catch, and how large the fish is, which of course is exactly as it is in real life.

You can’t always fish where you want to either, as other players may have beaten you to the favoured spot, again nicely reflecting reality.

Tagged fish are good, if you have the right coloured tag at game’s end.

And this is a game that mimics a fishing tournament, so you can earn points at the end based on size, species caught, etc.

You require bait, and when you are out of it, you need to sacrifice at least part of a turn to essentially get to the bait shop for more.

It really all comes together in a rather bang-on representation of actually being out fishing without the sunburn, mosquitos, or touching slimy jackfish.

Coldwater Crown surprised and impressed me, and is flirting with top-five games of 2019, at least six months in.

Check it out at

Thanks to fellow gamers Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.

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