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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Corsairs / Störtebeker
Theme:  Pirate


original German edition

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 60 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Thorsten Lopmann, Andreas Wetter

Manufacturer(s): Hans im Gluck

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Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.9 in 7 reviews

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very good game
March 20, 2001

I only knew the game in German and I love it. It's a special composition of strategy and luck. And it's good to play with two players, and it works well if you play it with three or more players. If you want to play a good 'small' game, buy this one!

An ingenious, well-crafted game
December 07, 2000

It's unfair to review a game without playing it.

It's silly to criticize the cards for not being loot. They're not loot: they're the provisions that the pirates must stock up on in order to launch their attacks on the galleys. It's the galleys that are the loot.

For an extremely abstract card and dice game, this actually has a lot of pirate color. You get to provision your missions, fire broadsides, board the galleys, and endure counterattacks, and there's always the possibility that you'll lose your prize to the other pirates.

But enough of that; let's talk about what playing the game is like.

At first it seems very prone to the whims of fortune: there's a lot of luck of the draw, and many dice rolls (two different kinds of dice!), and you never know what sort of galley is going to sail into your gunsights next.

But there's so much luck that over the course of the game it evens out: you can set up a lot of 50-50 gambles over the course of the game and you're unlikely to get so lucky (or so unlucky) that you win more (or less) than half of them. If you win this game by being lucky, you've been very, very lucky.

The core of the game is deciding which gambles to take. Do you go after the high-value galley, knowing that you'll have to spend several turns provisioning your mission and enduring your opponents' broadsides? Or do you swoop down on the low-value tender prey and snap it up in one move?

This game is full of surprises. And for a game that's so apparently simple, it throws a remarkable number of non-obvious choices at you.

I'm very impressed with the design of the galley cards. It's not just a question of one galley being worth 2 points and another being worth 7; the fights over the 7-point galleys are a completely different kind of experience than the fights over the 2-point ones. This is a really ingenious, well-crafted game.

My main criticism of the game is that there's no development. It's like Bazaar or Silberzwerg: after the first couple of turns, every turn is essentially like the last. You're presented with new and different challenges every time a new galley card is turned up, but there's no sense of overall progression towards a conclusion. The game's over when the supply of galleys runs out. It's a little anticlimactic. There's little difference between opening, midgame, and endgame.

Even so, it's an excellent game, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

by Mike
"Pirates of Produce" is a Feast of Fun!
December 17, 2000

I LOVE the person who said Corsairs should be called the 'pirates if produce'. It certainly doesn't have the feel of a maritine war game like Wooden Ships and Iron Men, but this game is REALLY fun. The intended audience of this game is a family strategy game. Corsairs will not be accused of being La Citta or El Grande, but it sure is fun in the same tradition of Hare & Tortoise or Mississippi Queen.

I played this game with both two and three players and I found it too be enjoyable in both. Two things that I normally find annoying in games; little cards and lots of dice rolling, actually make sense. The cards have to be small to stack along side the ships, and the dice rolling actually adds some suspense to the game.

Broadsiding an opponent and stealing their cards is also really pleasing--it adds a cute little bit of nastiness to this game.

So, for those expecting a high skill level, resource management style game, this may not be for you. But those of us who like a pirate theme game with some random nastiness and decent interaction and clever game design, then buy Corsairs and become a 'pirate of produce', because this is a feast of fun.

Swashbuckling Fun
December 13, 2000

It seems as if people's opinions are split about this game.

I've played this game twice so far and have enjoyed both sessions.

Four ships are laid out for the players to try to take. Each ship requires a certain number of provisions to be played upon it before you can try to take it over.

You have to play three cards per turn. You can either use them towards the ships, or you can discard them to try to steal provisions from other players or pillage from the discard pile.

Taking over a ship requires you to roll two dice and beat the ship's strength number on the card. There are some ships with numbers over 12. These require you to have played corsair cards (in addition to your provisions) which will add to your die rolls. When you take the ship, you add the number of victory points on the card to your score.

There is a bit of luck and skill involved in this game. Some ships make it easier to steal provisions than others... some ships are harder to take than others. Best of all, there are a lot of decisions to be made.

It's the cutthroat element that keeps everyone involved and interested. It's also very replayable as you do not use all the ship cards in every game. This means every game is different.

Highly Recommended!

mix of luck, plotting and backstabbing
December 10, 2000

Corsairs is a nice little gem of a game that Rio Grande can really be proud of--affordable price point, great components, simple mechanics and good for a small group (it's just as fun with only two as it is with larger groups).

Corsairs does rely quite a bit on luck, but there are plenty of decisions to make--go for the good odds or hope for the longshot... and the resource management element is light but important (which provisions to apply to which boat you want to take).

One of my favorite elements of any game is the ability to interact with the other players--muck up their plans, stab them in the back, or improve your odds by dashing someone else's. Corsairs provides enough of this to make it an entertaining group game, but never to the point that a player singled out would necessarily be taken out of the game completely.

For a fun, quick game that relies more on luck than strategy, but still relies on some planning and good decision making, I'd highly recommend Corsairs.

The Pirates of Produce...
November 29, 2000

I can't comment on the mechanics of the game, but I have the game, and have a major gripe with it. The players plunder meat and vegetables in the game when they storm other ships in the game? I know a fan of pirate games where this alone killed their interest in the game.

It is a pirate game. Why couldn't the loot be gems and gold and other valuables pirates would steal? The game mechanics allow for this.

Hillary's Toy Box's Pirate's Plunder does a much better job capturing the feel of pirates than this game.

Too much time spent grubbing for provisions
December 12, 2000

This game was a bit of a disappointment. While the player interaction was quite good, it did have a few shortcomings. The primary focus of the game is the acquisition of provisions so ships can be taken. I have this image of a pirate swinging through the air with an armload of rum, bananas, and water trying to take the ship. Actually taking the ship is easy. The deck was so small that we reshuffled it about 10 times before the 4 player game was over. In conclusion, the game was not acceptable so it received a poorer rating.

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