please note – the folks at Out of the Box Publishing generously provided a review copy of this game for review purposes
Ahoy Matey!!! Pirate versus Pirate, one of Out of the Box Publishing’s new releases hit the main deck this past week just in time for “Talk like a Pirate Day” on Sunday September 19. This is a 2-3 player game (for ages 8+) of piratical conflict as the players move their pirates on an island in order to capture Gold and Silver Coins and return them to their boat to win.
The production quality is very good indeed! The Pirates are big, chunky and comical, coming in three bright colours of red, blue and green. The coins are very nice too and the dice are awesome rectangles with bones through the middle allowing for rolls from 2-8. The board shows a triangle playing area of the island with a rowboat starting place for each team of pirates at each point. The coin spaces are clearly marked on the board so each player knows where to return the coins. The movement is regulated by a grid of triangles.
The rules and mechanics are very simple to understand. Roll the dice and move one pirate only per roll. The object is to collect the coins and bring them back to your boat – 1 Gold, or 2 out of 3 Silver. “Too simple ye scallywag” you say… Well… you can also win by killing off the other players’ pirates by landing on them by an exact number. Ah yes, lots of attacking then. You also need to return the coins back to the boat by an exact number. An optional rule allows prevents you from attacking other pirates from behind. It all flowed very well and very quickly although the optional rule slowed things down a little to think of strategy and positioning a defensive line.
Did it work for me?
Oh yeah it did! Don’t let the initial look that it is a child’s game fool you! This is a really fun game. We played the optional rule first and with 3 players, it all worked a treat. Negotiating movement in the triangle grid is a bit tricky so you need to think about it, especially when you position your pirates to avoid being attacked from behind. A lot of strategy is here as you decide whether to attack, defend, position to threaten others, etc. It was really fun. Later we played the game without the optional rule as it was thought it would be more wide open and chaotic and somehow more “piratey”. And it was a hoot! Crazy changing of hands as we all fought and tried to grab the coins and run. It was all great fun and a real surprise for me as I just didn’t expect it to be more than a kids game. I’m not sure that the 2-player version works as well. The 3-player interaction makes for a more unpredictable game with having to keep an eye on both your opponents. Aye, matey, this be a goodun’.
Absolutely! I recommend the basic rules for playing with children. I am sure that they will really enjoy the “cut and thrust” action. It’s a lot of fun.
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Comments from the Gaming table
A well-themed quick and fun filler, with some great little components. Each player plays a gang of around half a dozen pirates, and all the gangs have landed on an island at an equal distance from a treasure location. Race to get to the treasure first (either the single gold, or two of the three silvers) and then get it safely back onto your boat, all the while trying to pick off your rivals’ men and avoid getting jumped yourself! Picking up the treasure is easy, but getting it back is harder, as is killing an opponent, as both require an exact dice roll to land on the boat space or rival pirate piece you are targetting. I played 3-player and really enjoyed all three games we had (all within the space of about 30 mins). Those who played the 2-player version (which has a different set-up) seemed less impressed. We started off with the more advanced ‘no back-stabbing’ rules, which was OK, but felt a little bit too ‘thinky’ for this kind of game in my view – although I won, I seemed to do so by being fortunate enough to grab the gold first and then set the rest of my men in a defensive line that would have done itself proud in the NFL! For me the basic game was far superior – quicker and bloodier, it felt like a much better fit with the theme, and also made the game more humorous. Definitely hitting my ‘to buy’ list, particularly as the basic game can be easily played with the children. Basic rules: 5/5. Advanced rules: 3/5