Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game on Kickstarter. I received a copy of the rules and a prototype version of the game. This is my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!
The Pirate Deck is a game designed by Jared Bond. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players are pirates trying their best to climb aboard an abandoned pirate ship to snatch up as much treasure as they possibly can. The player that gains the most treasure will be declared the winner.
To begin, the 5 starting cards are laid out from one to five to display the abandoned ship. The rest of the cards are all shuffled together and each player is dealt 3 cards. If a striped hazard card is dealt out, the player returns that card to the middle of the deck and draws a new card. The coins are placed where all players can reach them and the game now begins.
On a player’s turn, they can perform one of 3 actions; play an action card, play a pirate card or discard a card. When a player plays an action card, they perform the action that is on the card and play then passes to the next player. For instance, the treasure map allows the player to take one coin from the pile for free. The next action is to play a pirate card. When doing this, the player follows the action on the card and then tries to place it where the coin symbol on the card, matches up with another of the same type. In this way, the player will gain coins. The player received 2 coins for a gold and 1 coin for a silver. If there are multiple matches, they gain the total of the matched symbols. Pirate cards may cause the player to place the card at one of the ends or it may allow the player to place it anywhere. It all depends on the card played. For example, the treasure chest can replace any card and be played in any location, but Jilly Roger can only be placed at either end of the ship. The last action a player can perform is to discard a card. By discarding, they are then allowed to draw a new card to replace it. Each time that play comes back to the player, they will draw back up to 3 cards.
Of course the main objective is to match up the coin icons to gain treasure. There are two other types of cards that can hinder the treasure gathering. There are ship cards like the Sinking ship card that will remove one card from the ship and shift all the remaining cards together. There can never be a gap between cards. The other type of cards are the hazard cards. Once one of these striped border cards is drawn, it is played immediately. These cards can be very dangerous for some or all players. For instance, the King’s Men card causes all players to return 2 coins back to the ship. Once all the coins have been removed from the ship the game is over. The players count up their coins. The player with the most coins is the winner.
This being a prototype version, I have to say I was still really impressed. The cards, while having some very random artwork, still look really nice, especially the pirate cards. I found the artwork to be quite humorous and silly. The cards were really sturdy and seemed to stand up to even my 4 year old playing the game. The coins came in a really neat little leather like bag and were plastic. They had a great look and feel to them. I even like the neat little touch of the pirate ship ziplock bag that everything came bundled in. It really added a little neat factor for me. I really like everything that came with this and will be really thrilled to see how much better the finished product will be.
9 out of 10
The rules that I received were printed out from either the website or the print and play files. I’m not sure which. In any case, they were plain black and white printer paper. I’m sure that the finished product will be much better and I assume, in color. The rules themself are straight forward and easy to read through and understand. There’s nothing difficult and it won’t take a lot of time to read. I read through it and had no need to look back at the rules afterwards. The game is truly that simple. While I’d have loved to see a better quality rule book, I completely understand that this is a prototype copy. Either way, the rules were great and I can’t find anything to complain about.
8 out of 10
The game itself is really fun. It’s light and fast. It’s even simple enough that I was able to play it with my 4 year old daughter. She loved it, especially when she drew one of the girl pirate cards like Jilly Rogers. A lot of the game really feels like it has a lot to do with luck and what you’re able to draw from the deck. As a kid’s game that works out fine. However for a more seasoned gamer, there might be a little more desire for a bit more strategy. Granted, trying to match up the coin icons can be very strategic, but that’s kind of where the strategy ends. I don’t mind playing luck based games, especially with the kids. I just don’t think that this would go over really well with the game group. Unless we’re trying to find a quick game to fill time while we wait for someone to show up. That’s not to say that the game isn’t fun. As I stated earlier, it really is. It just needs to be played with the proper group of players.
9 out of 10
The Pirate Deck is a light card based game of treasure gathering. It’s a really quick game that can be played in as little as 10 minutes. The artwork is really cool and quite humorous. The game is low on strategy but high on fun. I’d recommend this game for younger players and players that like pirates. I’d also say that this might fit well with any player that likes games like Munchkin or that style of game. My kids really liked the artwork and the randomness of the game. It’s not a game that will leave you scratching your head on what move to make next. It’s just not that deep. What will happen is that you and your kids will have a lot of fun and laugh quite a bit. My hope for this game is that the quality will just improve an already good game. I’d definitely say it’s a game that most people will like. If you like a lot of random pirate fun, then this game could be just right for you. Give it a try and find out.
9 out of 10
For more information about this game, please check out the Kickstarter page for The Pirate Deck.