I enjoy deck builder anyway but the race element added a new wrinkle that really just clicked for me.
MeepleGamers 8.75/10 Publisher: Forbidden Games Designer: Don Beyer Designer: Glenn Drover Artist: Jared Blando Artist: Jacoby O’Connor Artist: Mark Page Game Type: Deck Building Game Type: Race Game Type: Set Collection Initial Year of Release: 2019 Age Range: 8+ Expected Playtime: 45-60 Minutes Number of Players: 2-6
Theme and What is it?Facebook Twitter Instagram 9/10
*Note* Copy of game provided by publisher for review.
It is the age of sail. Mighty merchant vessels cross the seas with valuable cargo set for exotic ports of call. With the wind in their hair, the taste of salt on their lips, and a proud tradition behind them they go forth. What wonderful targets they make?
You are the captain of a small fleet of ships. Each ship sails along a different trade route raiding ships, transferring cargo, and aggressively recruiting new crew. By commanding your crew you’ll gather goods and trade them for chests of loot. Then it’s off to the end of the line in Trinidad. Can you perform better than the other captains?
Extraordinary Adventures” Pirates! Is a competitive race game and deck builder. Over the course of several rounds you guide three ships along different routes. During you turn you’ll gather goods to trade for treasure. You’ll also recruit new sailors to your crew/deck and try to build the best engine.
Gameplay MechanicsFacebook Twitter Instagram 8/10
Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates! is primarily a deck builder. You begin the game with a small deck of weak cards and over the course of the game add and remove cards from your deck to improve the types of cards you’ll draw and have access to. Most cards you have has both a number and an effect. You can use either one but not both. If you choose the number you can move a boat that many spaces. The movement on a card must be played on a single boat. Though you can use subsequent cards on other vessels. Text on cards can offer bonus movement on a specific route, allow you to cull cards from your deck, or gives end game victory points.
You only get to play three cards on your turn. At the end of your turn, you draw up to your hand size. Unlike most deck builders you don’t discard unused cards. They stay in your hand allowing you to save them for later or take them out of rotation to keep them from clogging your deck.
Movement on the game is handled on the board. There are three separate routes and you have a ship on each one. As you move your ships along the route you can stop at ports and merchant ships. If you land on a merchant ship you can take any cargo on the vessel and one crew member from the merchant deck. These crew cards are slightly more powerful than the ones in your starter deck.
When arriving at a port you can trade in cargo for treasure chests. These require a specific number and type of cargo crates. You can also get a card from the pirate deck. These cards are significantly more powerful. Some of them even staying in play and effecting the game every round.
Once one ship reaches the end of the line the game ends. Points are awarded for each player’s position on the line, chests, and some of the cards you’ve recruited. Most points win.
Initial ImpressionsFacebook Twitter Instagram 8.5/10
The board is impressive and busy. The game looks like a stuffier board game with an older euro feel. While this isn’t necessarily a turn off for me it set my expectations in a very specific category. The game doesn’t end up playing like a stuffy euro whether that’s good or bad will be up to you.
Game Build QualityFacebook Twitter Instagram 9.25/10
It’s just amazing. Everything about this game just stands out. All of the components are top-notch. The ships are fantastic, the crates have a nice size and feel, and the colors are all well-chosen. The card quality is remarkable; it’s got a good finish and stands up to shuffling. Cardboard tiles are a good thickness and haven’t warped. The insert for this game is amazing and holds everything. Sadly, the insert does not allow for sleeving your cards. I don’t feel it will be necessary but it’s still a concern for some.
Artistic DirectionFacebook Twitter Instagram 8/10
I really like the art in Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates! It has a stylized look that feels like it’s from the era but with a more modern sensibility. It’s playful and fun but not cartoony.
Fun FactorFacebook Twitter Instagram 8.5/10
This is a game of engine building. You’ll be balancing a few decisions every round but not so many that you’ll get lost. There’s a race element to it as well so you can’t stop everywhere but you’ll want to because those are the best cards. I think you’re looking at an experience that’s a hair shy of medium weight.
Age Range & WeightFacebook Twitter Instagram 7/10
The box says 8+ and I think it might be a bit low. I don’t think the rules are too complicated but some of the decisions that younger players need to make might throw them. Plus the game is a bit long for that age. Beyond that, there’s nothing objectionable in the game so if you think your kids can handle the choices and time maybe go for it.
Conclusions Instagram Twitter Facebook 8/10
I enjoyed Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates! I had fun with this game. There are nice choices to make and it gets moving pretty quickly. I enjoy deck builder anyway but the race element added a new wrinkle that really just clicked for me.
The game even manages to make some of the standard choices work against you. One of the cards you start with gives you a choice of culling a card from your deck or moving three spaces. In the first game, I used it to get rid of all of my one space cards every time I drew it at first. I finished so far in back it was comical. After that, I saved the cull portion of the card until I’d gotten farther along and had other cards to make up the difference of only using two cards to move. This was such a nice surprise.
If there’s any drawback to this game I would say it’s possible to have a runaway leader problem. It’s only happened once to my group but it was by such a dramatic amount I’m not sure if it was a fluke or a problem.
As always, try before you buy. Hop over to your local game store or convention and give it a play. That said, if you like deck builders and race games this may be for you.
Until next time, be well.
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