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Time Pirates
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Store:  Family Games
Theme:  Time Travel, Science Fiction
Format:  Board Games

Time Pirates

English language edition

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 45 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Alan R Moon, Aaron Weissblum

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Piatnik

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Product Description

Travel through time to acquire collections of artifacts for fun and profit. The players are pirates of the future who brave the plagues and wars of ancient times to collect the treasures of those times. They must be fast and careful to avoid being caught by the time patrol.

Product Information


  • 1 board
  • 1 table
  • 6 game figures
  • 37 contracts
  • 86 artifacts
  • 1 cloth bag
  • 1 rule booklet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 3 reviews

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Light game
October 02, 2001

Time Pirates is a light game; there is not much opportunity for strategy. You can take rewards before your opponents get them, but it is difficult to make long-term plans. The time police move frequently and randomly, advancing the game to a scoring round before there is time to do much. The time police may also interfere with your inventory or ability to collect items.

Union Pacific is another game that uses randomly arriving scoring rounds, but the tension builds much more effectively in Union Pacific, and there is room for strategy. Consequently, Time Pirates is a light diversion, not a serious strategy game. As such, it is a fine game for a group that simply wants to pass time with light entertainment.

Good game
December 12, 2000

Although the theme is 'time' pirates pursued by a persistent police, it really does not play that way. Players try to acquire sets of pieces and trade them in for points. Points are scored at an indeterminate time, so there is a lot of running around trying to build large sets before the scoring round. Play is fast-paced with enough 'screw-your-neighbor' tactics to make it fun with more people. It does not merit a five because it does play like so many German-style boardgames losing marks for originality. Otherwise, it is a respectable game and a worthwhile purchase.

Watch out for the time police!
November 27, 2000

I have played this game twice now--both times with 4 players. There were different players involved in these two sessions, and both groups agreed that this game is a winner.

Here is a synopsis of the game: Players collect artifact tokens of 5 different colors + white (which is a wild card). Artifacts are then traded in for scoring markers. Scoring markers are available in the same 5 colors + white.

Each scoring marker has a number on it. To get the 'blue 4' scoring marker, the player must collect 4 blue artifacts. White artifacts are wild and can replace any color. To collect a 'white 3' scoring marker, the player must collect 3 different colored artifacts.

The board consists of 7 different 'time epochs' which are all connected with multiple arrows. Each epoch is stocked with a fixed number of artifacts chosen at random. Each epoch has two arrows leading in (labeled A and B) and two arrows leading out (again labeled A and B). Time is indeed relative, and this makes the board--in effect--a neverending circle of spaces all connected together.

The time police starts on one epoch, and players take turns placing their playing pieces on different epochs to start the game.

A turn consists of:

  1. restock an epoch. This can only be done if an epoch is empty (no artifacts nor playing pieces). Draw artifact tiles from the bag to fill the fixed number of spaces in the empty epoch. Note that there are time police tiles in the bag as well--if these are drawn, the time police figure is moved--possibly into an epoch with other players!
  2. If a player restocked an epoch, he/she gets to perform 3 of the following actions. Otherwise the player gets to perform 2 of the following actions:
    • Take an artifact from the epoch you are in.
    • Move to another epoch along line A or B.
    • Trade in artifacts for scoring tiles. After doing this, the player may place his/her token in any epoch.
    If the time police is in the same space as your playing piece at the start of your turn--watch out. You will lose all the artifact tiles of your best color, all your white tiles, and have a limited turn this time around. Busted!

Scoring happens three times during the game. When the eighth time police tile is drawn, the round is scored and the next round is started. After the third scoring, the game is over.

I have omitted some details (in particular, how scoring works), but hopefully, this is enough get the idea of the game across.

I like this game for several reasons. Each turn offers several choices--to collect more artifacts, run away from the time police, or trade in artifacts for scoring tokens while you still can? Getting one's friends busted by the time police has proven to be a source of enjoyment at the games I have played. The race for the scoring tiles has also made this game very interesting. Grabbing a scoring tile before your neighbor can get it can be an effective strategy.

The rules included in the game vary somewhat from those on the Gaming Dumpster. We have been playing using the ones on the Dumpster with much success--these appear to be the rules direct from the game designers themselves. I would suggest that if you buy this game, get both sets of rules and decide for yourself which would be best for your group.

Other Resources for Time Pirates:

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