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Sirens Game Review

Sing, O Muse, of the Draft of Odysseus

Raise the island of the Sirens all you want, these creatures struggle to spellbind. Find out why in this Meeple Mountain review.

I was drawn to Sirens by, well, I suppose the joke writes itself. The joke also happens to be true in this case. I truly was drawn in by the sirens’ song, the boldly featured bars of notated music at the top of each card in this game. It isn’t every day that a board game can double as an opportunity to practice my sight singing.

From there, I began to take in the gorgeous artwork by Gabi Naftaly, who does remarkable work here. Each card includes a unique painting of ocean waves in burnt umber, an unusual and evocative color choice. These waves bring to mind clay and wine and blood. That’s how you do it.

The premise of Sirens is equally splendid. You and your opponent compete to sing the best song. Inevitably, the quality of your song is measured in points, but I like to think of each point scored as another sailor’s life lost. Sing, my angels of music.

Four cards laid out in a row. They combine to show a single stave of music above an illustration of a restless sea.

Come Sail Away

Each player starts with a hand of four cards, secretly choosing one to keep. You swap hands, choose a second card to keep, swap hands a final time, and pick your third card. Both players then reveal their cards, arranging them in any order.

This process is repeated once more, with the second set of cards placed to the left and/or right of the original cards. You position them while keeping an eye on four different scoring factors, which I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say that there are trade offs in placement, and you have to decide what makes the most sense for you.

The box cover is wonderful.

Choices with Little Consequence

Looking at the gameplay divorced of its wonderful artwork and theme, there’s not a whole lot going on. You take so few cards, and have so few to choose from, that your choices aren’t particularly satisfying. It’s fun when you get your starting hand back from your opponent and it turns out they have not taken the other card you wanted, but in the first round that comes down entirely to luck. You have no idea what cards they have, and vice-versa.

Sirens takes a snappy ten or fifteen minutes for three full rounds, so it’s not as though the game outstays its welcome, but it doesn’t do much with that time. There’s little if any interaction, and an actual third of the playtime is spent scoring. If you’re looking for a two-player game with similar rules overhead, box size, and table presence, I would recommend Schotten Totten or District Noir. If you’re looking for a great drafting game, I’d steer you towards It’s a Wonderful World.

The presentation of Sirens is wondrous. The game is fine. I didn’t find myself wishing I’d put wax in my ears, but I would have rather been listening to something else instead.

  • Poor - Yawn, surely there’s something better to do.

Sirens details

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain was provided a pre-production copy of the game. It is this copy of the game that this review is based upon. As such, this review is not necessarily representative of the final product. All photographs, components, and rules described herein are subject to change.

About the author

Andrew Lynch

Andrew Lynch was a very poor loser as a child. He’s working on it.

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