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Pirates of the Spanish Main
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Pirates of the Spanish Main is the first ever Constructible Strategy Game. Packaged like a collectible card game, the styrene cards can be punched apart to construct highly detailed 3-D sailing ships. In this fun, fast-paced game, players navigate stealthy pirate ships, majestic Spanish galleons, and speedy British schooners through the treacherous waters of the Spanish Main collecting as much gold as possible while fending off enemy attacks.
Each affordably-priced pack contains everything one player needs to get their high seas high jinks started including two complete ships, treasure, rules, an island card and a die. There are 68 different ships to collect and construct in addition to 54 different treasure and crew cards. The fleet building and treasure plundering strategies are endless!
- 2 sailing ships
- 1 treasure or crew card
- 1 island card
- 1 rules sheet
- 1 die
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
First, let me say that I do not know of another game out there quite like this one: it's playable with boosters only, inexpensive, accessible to both the very young and the very old, and infinitely expandable and adaptable. I'll examine each feature briefly.
Boosters only: The game is in the collectible format, much like the Collectible Card games that dominate this market, but unlike each of those games, one need not make a large financial commitment in order to experience the game.
Inexpensive: One of my big criticisms of collectible-style games is how pricey they can get, especially in games where all the really great cards are "ultra-rare" and cost a lot on E-bay. Pirates, I guess, can have that dimension, but it's much more avoidable than CCG's. As I mentioned, a singly booster pack gets you playing, although admittedly, the rules favor a larger collection of ships and crew.
Young & Old: I have a seven year old son with whom I play this game, and it's amazing how well it fits us both. While some reading is involved in play, it's not vital to a basic understanding of the rules, since play is largely based on choosing an action and rolling dice. The strategies are simple to learn but deep enough for the gaming crowd, and the chance element is just enough to allow a younger player a shot at victory over a seasoned gamer.
Adaptability: There are a half-dozen or so expansions to the Pirates game, each with its own unique rules set. Each of the many expansion series can be used in combination with the others, and the extra rules can be added one at a time, all at once, or in any combination. Games can be set up in scenarios, like an RPG, in "decks, like CCGs, or in board format, like a traditional board game. All this combines to make this the most easily and broadly customizable game I've ever seen.
Add all this to the fact that instead of playing with cards, each ship is a 3D plastic model punched out of die-cut plastic cards, and you have yet another unique factor. It's a winner.
My rating is only 4 stars instead of 5 for two reasons: the ships are somewhat fragile and can break (but are easily repaired with super-glue, by the way), and the collectible factor can drive players to spend more and more and more on their fleets, something which I typically avoid in a game.