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Pirateer Deluxe
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Store:  Family Games
Edition:  Pirateer
Theme:  Pirate
Format:  Board Games

Pirateer Deluxe

20th Anniversary edition

Funagain Games does not stock this edition of this title [], usually because it's out of print.

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Product Awards:  
Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1996

Ages Players
8+ 2-4

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Product Description

Vast treasure, fast ships and cutthroat rivals await you on the seas of Pirateer, the fast-paced strategy game where fortunes turn on pirate skullduggery and a roll of the dice. Easy to learn, yet challenging for all ages, this award winning mix of luck, skill and treachery will entertain your family for years. Hoist the Jolly Roger and fire your imagination with Pirateer, the game of outrageous fortune.

Product Awards

Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1996

Product Information


  • Gameboard
  • Ship Markers
  • Decals
  • Doubling Cube
  • Dice
  • Treasure Coin
  • Instructions

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.4 in 13 reviews

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April 21, 2004

Only a true pirate understands this game. Firstly you must cheat as much as possible(it's one of the rules, just don't get caught). You should also try playing for points(5 to 10 for ships, 20 or 40 for the gold) in a 3 or 5 game championship of the high seas. You can also play for money(see cheating), penny a point. And if you don't like a rule make up a new one.

Also say Arr! a lot when you are winning, and Blast! when you are loosing.



If you wear an eypatch you can blame an 'error' in movement on depth perception.

Fun for the whole family
November 25, 2003

We bought this board game because of the Mensa award. Our family has regularly played it for the last six years. Only truly classic games have that kind of longevity in our home.

What we love about Pirateer is that it is easy to learn and a child can Whomp you without assistance. Yet it is challenging enough that it is by no means boring. So, just to preserve your self-respect, you have to become involved and pay attention. Our favorite combination is Nuketeer, Shipwreck and Flotilla.

Pirateer is a game created to spark the imagination. The more you can let yourself go, get silly and role play the part of an underhanded, black hearted scoundrel, the more fun the game is. I can't count the evenings filled with laughter it has brought to our family. To my way of thinking all these factors are what makes up a great family game.

Additional comments about number of players
October 05, 2002

In addition to what everyone has said thus far, I would like to add that I found this game rather dull with just two players. But then I played a four-player game and the game sprung to life. With four players the action was fast, furious, and unpredictable, and it was quite enjoyable. I would rate this game two stars for two players, but four stars for four-player games.


by Ed
It deserves better than 3!
April 24, 2001

If you associate a '3' rating with a type of game that does not have much fun or replay value, then Pirateer certainly deserves more than '3'!

My family & friends love it because:

  1. It's so quick and easy to learn.
  2. It plays really quick (15 - 30 mins).
  3. It's lots of fun (especially how everyone chases the pirate who is trying to get away with the treasure!).
  4. It does require you to make decisions every turn (getting closer to your opponent puts you in better striking distance to sink him/her--but at the same time, makes you vulnerable to being sunk by him/her!).
  5. Kids can play with adults.
  6. It's very addictive (for those who lose especially!).

So, I am not giving it a '5' only because the luck factor is high.

Quick and easy to learn
April 22, 2001

We saw this one in a store while on vacation at the beach and bought it. I beat my husband 4 out of 5 games. The next time we played he skunked me 3 to 0. He sunk all my ships in 4 turns! This game is quick to learn and simple enough for the little ones too. This is good when they decide they want to play something with the adults. It's not unusual for a first-time player to win on their first game. We recently bought a 2nd game and we're dying to try an 8-player battle for the booty. It's also fun to make up silly pirate sounding insults when one of your ships gets sunk. 'Aaaargh, ye foul flounder!' 'Poopdeck' anything gets the kids rolling on the floor.

This little classic deserves wider fame
July 20, 1999

PIRATEER is a fast, fun, wildly unpredictable game. We bought it on impulse a few years ago (mainly because it seemed to have something of the 'look and feel' of a German board game). We have since played it hundreds of times, and continue to get a kick out of it. It is challenging and intricate, yet it zips along rapidly, and you don't have to think *too* hard about your next move if you don't feel like it. Impulsive, risky play sometimes pays off. Your 8-year-old son occasionally creams you. So does a friend you've just taught how to play. Hence the slogan on the box: 'The game of outrageous fortune.' PIRATEER works well either as a family or a beer-and-pretzels-type game. The balance between skill, strategy, and sheer dice-flinging luck is roughly comparable to that of Backgammon. So is the range of possible playing styles: from the conservative and calculating to the wild and woolly. What you're trying to do, in the basic game, is to maneuver your little flotilla of 3 plastic ship counters (from one of 4 color groups, representing pirates of different nationalities) around a game board that depicts four home ports, a large body of open water, two zones called the Trade Winds (where rapid diagonal movement is possible), and an island where treasure is located. You can win the game in either of two ways: by grabbing the treasure and sailing back to your home anchorage with it, OR by sinking all opposing ships. You sink a ship simply by moving onto its square -- though check out the 'Nukateer' variant in the rule book! If you sink the ship carrying the treasure, you transfer the treasure to your own craft, hence becoming an inviting target. The rules are simple to master, but the tactical complications are limitless. Play is brisk. Most games only last about 20 minutes, which can leave you eager to have another go. It works equally well with 2, 3 or 4 players. With 2 players, it's possible to double-up on pieces, which greatly expands the complexity and number of available choices. The game's novel design, brisk mechanics of play, quality components, attractive board, crystal-clear instructions (with a single exception*), and the numerous variant rule possibilities suggested by the designers, all combine to make PIRATEER a modest masterpiece. (* The exception to the rules: Movement is governed by the roll of 2 dice, each of which must be used separately. Situations can arise in which the best tactical use of Die #1 results in a situation where no move is possible with Die #2. However, if an inferior move had been made with Die #1, then Die #2 could also have been used -- with disastrous results. Is such an inferior move REQUIRED by the game rules? Our house rule is No, but the rules are less than clear on this point.) Quibbling aside, this is a great, underappreciated little game.

Room for improvement
December 29, 2003

I would have given this game a 2 or 1 based entirely on it's packaged rules and gameplay, because frankly, the box is a little bit boastful and misleading. Nowhere does it say 'This game is incredibly simple and will be satisfying mainly to parents and their children, and people who have a split-personality as a pirate'.

Speaking from a gamer's standpoint, Pirateer is a SIMPLE game. It is also short. Let's face it, it has a tiny shred of strategy, but we're talkin' bingo-level strategy. Its quotes from the box, including 'winning mix of luck, skill, and treachery,' 'challenging for all ages,' 'the game of outrageous fortune' are over-exuberantly and incorrectly representing the material inside.

Don't worry, this game has redeeming qualities. One being its simple rules! I have had a grand time making up house rules and variants far beyond the ones in the booklet. (I didn't like nukeateer... it seems strange for this game to try so hard to have a 'genuine' and 'classic' feel to it while also including a variant that is both rediculous and incredibly non-piratey) I have only ever played the game as it was meant to be 3-4 times and have felt it boring, arbitrary, and watered-down. Now, with the addition of reams of house rules, it is a quite incredible and fun.

The other redeeming quality is the artwork and aesthetics of the game. These are just wonderful, and almost enough to make it great. I wish more games had this feel.

In conclusion, This game has very simple rules which can only be enjoyed by the very young, who cannot understand any more complex, and the very inventive, who will use what they find when they open the box as a mere launchpad to limitless fun & creativity.

by Jesse
The Mensa Award?
October 13, 2003

Okay, I was excited to play this one when I read that it won the Mensa Award- that is the sole reason i bought it at the store when I saw it. But when I played it I wondered why!


1) Cool theme. Hopefully a better game will come out in the future.

2) Lots of good variations of gameplay. Sunken ships is a favorite of mine.

3) Can play with as little as 2 people.


1) Kinda stupid. If you can make a move you must do it. I understand the game dynamics, but it seems sor tof silly to make my ship sail in the opposite direction of my goal. I try to justify it by saying the wind picked up and I couldn't control my ship.

2) Too much luck involved. Although I still don't think I have been beaten.

3) Really just isn't that much to it.

Overall, 3 stars seems like a bit much to give it. It won points for being a 2-player game as well as up to 4- and for having different variations of gameplay, but, unless you're a huge obsessive pirate freak who was constantly saying 'Arr' on 'Talk Like a Pirate Day'... I would save my money.

by Rick T
Great theme, average game
October 17, 2002

The pirate theme and the aesthetics are very well done and the tradewinds and the straits add some variety to the movement.

However, after the nice looks of the game board and pieces fades, there's not much to the game other than simply rolling the dice and moving the pieces. If there was a bit more sophistication to the movement and strategy it could be a nice game.

The good part is it's easy and light enough for my kids (3 to 7) to enjoy, but there's not enough playability to make this a recommendation.

by Ken Mc
A fun little family game
October 12, 1999

PIRATEER uses simple mechanics along with an elegant look to create a fun gaming experience that the entire family can enjoy.

Basically, the objective of this game is to grab the treasure (located on an island) and take it back to port. You have three ships to accomplish this task. Movement is handled by rolling two dice. A couple of subtle rules: you cannot move diagonally unless you are in the trade winds; and, when one of you ships has the treasure you must move towards or parallel to your port. That last rule has caused a lot of arguing in our group as to what 'parallel' is.

The best part of the game is the variants. Under 'Hurricane' rules you can role three dice, but, if you roll three of a kind (3 ones for example) you will lose your ship that is farthest from your home port. Their are several other variants but our favorite is the 'Nuke-a-teer!', in which you can blow up one of your ships and take out whatever is within range. One of our game groupies is known as 'Nukateer Bob' for his proclivity at blowing up his ships, even when the treasure is aboard one of them.

So, if this game is so great, why only 3 stars?

Well, it can get old pretty quick among more experienced gamers. Even when using the variants. The layout of the board channels everything to the center, but the island can slow you down if you are trying to get to the other side to prevent someone from winning. And the luck factor can play a big role since you must roll exactly to land next to the island or get on the tradewinds. The wraparound exit on each side of the board is a nice touch, but I have rarely seen it used. On the positive side, most games last 30 minutes or less, even with 4 people -- a big plus if you like to play 2 or 3 different games in an evening.

Generally, I'll pull this game out for new players or those who are not 'gamers' like myself, or if we have time for a quick game at the end of our weekly sessions.

Still, for families who want to add a fun game to their 'Family Game Night', this is a perfect choice.

Okay if you are really bored
November 01, 2002

I have only played this game with two players, and it looks like it might play better with 4. However, while it is okay as a game to pass the time, I have not felt the need to play the game just for the enjoyment of it. It is quick and easy to learn, but it is also quick and easy to get tired of.

Just not very good
October 07, 2002

This game has generated a lot of controvery over the years, considering it is such a simple game. Most of the controversy was due to the rather vocal rantings of the game designer in one of the newsgroups, lambasting anyone with the temerity to call Pirateer anything but a modern classic.

The game is a simple matter of rolling dice and moving markers representing ships to try to pick up a treasure chest from the center of the board, and returning it to your own home port. There are some slightly interesting rules concerning movement, but on the whole there is not much here to keep the attention of the serious gamer.

This is a nice family game, but that is about all. Due to the designer's past bad behavior, this game has left a bad taste in my mouth, and it just doesn't have enough novelty to it to cause me to want to play it again. Not recommended.

August 19, 2001

What we have here is a watered-down backgammon variant, with a crapload of dice-rolling, with a pirate theme slapped on it (a pirate theme which is executed well enough to save this from 1 star). The game is almost completely devoid of strategy. The person that likened this to a German-style game is wrong; this is nothing like a German game. German games are better, are not nearly as dice-based, and don't typically throw people out of the game before it's over.

Pirateer is heavy on dice and luck. It eliminates players, sometimes unforgivably early. (I've seen someone eliminated from the game completely in two turns.) Where is the strategy? In which dice to use? In when to stack ships? Both are generally obvious.

The one thing I like about this game is the execution of the pirate theme. It's fairly well done. The art on the board is gorgeous, espescially if you look closely at the cities of each player's homeport. But, other than that, this game is uninspiring and lifeless. If you want a screw-the-other-player game of chasing after gold and riches, then pass this one up for something superior, like Drakon.

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