A game about moving your treasure chests from one area of your player board to the another. I know that doesn’t sound very fun but just wait for the full explanation. Players have four areas for treasure chests on their player board.
If you look in the picture, starting at the right you will see the Island the treasure will start on. Then moving from right to left the crew area then the ship area and finally Tortuga where your treasure is finally safe.
By rolling your dice and selecting the different symbols (Swords, Ships, Cannons, Treasure Chests, Crew, or Skull and Cross Bones) you decide which actions you are going to attempt to take. The players roll the dice and select as many of one type rolled to place, the rest of the dice are then re-rolled and the action is repeated until all dice have been placed. You are not required to place all the dice of the chosen symbol if you do not want to. In a game with more that two people the top two in each area get to take some level of that action.
You’ll notice that the dice have numbers on them next to the symbols. The number represents that symbols power or value. For example lets say you played the ship with a five on it and I played both the ship with a 1 and the ship with a 3 you would win in that area.
Lets discuss the different actions available (please be aware that all actions have two levels, the top level for the player in first place and a lesser action for the player in second):
Ships: The player with the highest level of ships is allowed to increase his fleets treasure capacity. This allows him to move his ship meeple two spots to the right. The fleet can hold a maximum of four treasure chests at a time.
Crew: The player with the highest level of crew gets to do that same as the ship action but in the crew area. Crew can also hold a maximum of four treasure chests
Treasure Chests: The play in the lead here is allowed to draw one treasure out of the bag and place it on the starting Island, they are also allowed to draw two of the coins surrounding the island in the middle of the lay area and choose one. These coins will have a varying number coins shown on the bottom side which will count for extra victory points at the end of the game.
Cannons: The player leading here is allowed to attack another players ship and steal one treasure to put on their starting Island and the attacked player moves their ship meeple down one on the fleet capacity track. Beware with this one. If the player you attacked put up even one cannon die you also must lower your ship meeple down one on the fleet track.
Swords: These work the same way as the cannons but in the crew area. Stealing a treasure and moving the crew track down one.
Skulls: These are wilds. You can place them in any area. They count in the area as the number on that die for the area they were placed. What that means is that you will rotate the die to the correct symbol once it has been placed in the area desired. There is a key on the player shield showing what each die’s value is in each area.
Treasure chests move from one area to the next as the last phase of a turn. the order being Starting Island, Crew area, Fleet area and finally Tortuga. If at anytime you have more chests moving into an area than you have room for the extras move to the island in the center of the play area for players to try and grab later when using the Board (ship side of dice) or Raid (Sword side of dice) action and coming in second.
The goal is to move six treasure chests from your starting island to Tortuga. When any player gets six treasure chests to Tortuga the game ends. Points are awarded based on the location of the chests at the end of the game, three points for chests in Tortuga, two for chests in the fleet area and one for chests in the crew area. 3 Points are also awarded for each set of chests (1 red, 1 blue and 1 yellow with white being wild) in Tortuga and Purple chests are worth double the points in any area they are scored in. You add in the points from the coins gathered from around the center island and most points wins.
I think this is a great game to play with your family or even regular gamers. I can see that hardcore Euro gamers may not enjoy the randomness of the dice rolls but you do get to exert some decisions on the dice chosen and it plays in about 30 minutes. My family had a very fun time with this game and hope to get in many more plays. there is strategy to picking the actions you are taking and where to allocate dice. You must watch what the other players are doing from roll to roll to decide where you need to act or allocate dice. I highly recommend this game for families looking for a fun and somewhat light game for game night. The first play is a little confusing, with players trying to decide what is the best strategy to approach the game with and working with the mechanics. Moving the chests from right to left along your player board takes a little getting used to but once you get it down the game moves fast and has some interesting interactions.
Suggested Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean (you know this had to be on here. They even visit Tortuga!), Goonies (great movie and the goal is pirate treasure). Both movies are great for kids old enough to play this game.
What Movie do you suggest? Let me know in the comments below.
Game Type: Dice Rolling and Actions Selected by dice chosen
Ages: 8 and up
Size: Queen Square Box
Me – 8 (Fun Game, Strategy is definitely important but really bad rolls can hurt but great rolls aren’t helpful if you can plan what to do with them
My Wife – 8 (enjoyed the game and will gladly play when we ask to play this game. She might even suggest it herself occasionally.)
Daughter – 9 (Will ask to play often. Really enjoyed the dice rolling and getting the treasure chests. She wanted me to mention that she crushed me in our first game 47 to 24 and my wife scored 8.)
AVERAGE SCORE -8.33