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Sword & Skull
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Theme:  Fighting, Pirate
Format:  Board Games
Home > Fighting

Sword & Skull

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 60 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Mike Elliott

Manufacturer(s): Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, Avalon Hill

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Product Description

Sword & Skull is a game of swashbuckling pirate action and adventure. Players battle, bribe, and buy their way across the Caribbean in pursuit of a stolen British warship, the H.M.S. Sea Hammer. The famed flagship was hijacked by the notorious Pirate King and hidden away in his secret volcano lair.

Before confronting the Pirate King, you must deal with his First Mate. This isn't too tough -- as long as you don't roll a blank in combat! Then comes the Pirate King himself. He can beaten in combat, but with a Might of 10, the Pirate King is a tough opponent. It might be possible, however, to bribe him with gold instead. You won't know his price until you face him in person, and he may ask for anything from 30 to 50 gold -- princely sums. Whether you buy him off or beat him down, if you get the Sea Hammer, you win!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Mike Elliott

  • Manufacturer(s): Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, Avalon Hill

  • Year: 2005

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 60 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Est. time to learn: 10-20 minutes

  • Weight: 1,127 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is a domestic item.


  • 19.5 x 19.5 inch game board
  • 5 Pirates
  • 5 Navy Officers
  • 2 Dice numbered 0 to 5
  • 80 "Gold" Coins in denominations of 1, 5, and 10
  • 110 Cards
    • 5 Player Cards
    • 16 Enemy Cards
    • 20 Item Cards
    • 33 Fortune Cards
    • 36 Crew Cards

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.5 in 1 review

Great theme, old mechanics
January 24, 2008

I've played this game about 5 times. I like the pirate theme - the graphics, cards, character pieces, etc. look great. The game mechanics are tiring for me - more on that later. With five players, the game took a long time, in my opinion three players seems ideal.

Here's how the game is played:

Each player takes a pirate and an officer of matching colors. The object of the game is to go to the lair of the pirate king and either bribe him or kill him, with either your pirate or officer. Each turn consists of moving around the gameboard via roll of dice. These are the different squares you can land on:

Settlement: If you land on a settlement you can buy a share of it, so people have to pay you if they land there (like monopoly) or you can add to the strength of your pirate or officer. (Each gun you pick up makes your pirate stronger and each sword makes your officer stronger.)

Cave: If you enter a cave you have to fight an enemy (pirate zombie, cyclops, king cobra, etc.)

Church / Tavern: Entering these will get you fortune cards. These cards allow you to move faster around the board, re-roll dice during combat, etc.)

Trading Post: Here you can buy items at auction. Items include sword, pistol axe, parrot, etc.)

There's a couple more special squares.

When you land on another player you must fight them. Combat is pretty simple. You each roll 1 6-sided die, then add your strength bonuses (each gun adds 1 to your pirate, each sword adds 1 to your officer) The highest number wins. The dice are numbered 0 - 5, so if you roll a blank during combat you automatically lose, no matter how strong your character is.

The idea is to get one of your characters strong enough to go fight the pirate king. You can pretty much go fight him at any time during the game, you just need to follow the path through the middle of the board instead of going around the outside. When you get to the lair of the pirate king you roll a die and add a certain number based on the number of players. If you have this much money you automatically win by bribing the pirate king, without having to fight him.

The game is basically a standard "roll the dice-move around the board-follow the instructions on the square" game. It's kind of fun with younger teens, but there are so many better games out there, I probably won't be playing it much.

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