Pirates the Great Chase from Van Ryder Games – Review

Steve Mayne
Steve Mayne

Theme&What is it?

Ahoy, Maties!

Yer prisoner has escaped the ship. The captain has tasked ye and two others with bringing the scoundrel back in chains. You head off to explore the mysterious island, collect treasure and other useful items, and capture the scallywag. Can you do it?

Pirates: the Great Chase is a graphic novel where you choose your own path through the story. You’ll be in charge of the story and what direction it takes.

A light on the horizon.

I grew up reading Fighting Fantasy, Choose Your Own Adventure, and any similar series I could get my hands on. I love these books, with Deathtrap Dungeon holding a special place in my heart. I also really enjoyed the Crusoe Crew by the same group. I was very excited by this and looking forward to going through it.



A solid map with easy steps.

The mechanics here are pretty simple. You’ll choose one of 3 pirates to function as your character and use their stats to play through the story. You start at the beginning of the book and will follow the story to the end. As you do, you’ll find numbers in each panel indicating other panels you can turn to. The numbers are fairly well laid out, with some being hidden in places to represent hidden objects and puzzles.

In some of the images are hidden objects that you can collect to help solve future puzzles. You have a limited number of inventory spaces so have to pick and choose what your pick up as you go. The exception to this are gold coins and feathers that don’t take up space in your inventory due to their size and weight.

You continue along the path until you find your way to the end of the story.

A sturdy ship.

A very nice quality hard bound book. Everything held up really nicely to the multiple page flips back and forth through the book. I sort of wish it were spiral bound and slightly larger. However, the quality is excellent.



A colorful flag, worth the flying.

I really like the art style here. It’s cartoony enough to be fun for kids but clear enough to get a general impression of what’s going on in each panel. I wish the images we’re a little clearer than they are or a bit bigger. Some of the hidden numbers and the font they used made it difficult to tell exactly which page I should be turning to and I had to hold my place to recheck numbers when I had obviously gone to the wrong panel after flipping over.

A voyage to adventure

This is a solo experience that will appeal to any child who can sit down with a book and follow through the story without much if any help.



A likely crew

The book doesn’t list an age, thought I’d say this is aimed at 10+.

A tale worth the telling.

I like this book; it’s good and has some fun elements. There’s a nice mix of puzzles that get introduced to help you solve what’s going on but nothing that felt impossible. I think kids will enjoy the book and have some fun getting through it and meeting all of the weird characters.

The rules in the book are good and will get you through the story but they did leave a little bit to be desired. I’m certain they were written with kids in mind and some of my problems might be a result of my age. However, some of them might not be. The rules say you can pick items as you travel. I was part way through my first run at the book when I realized that it meant I could add anything I saw in a panel to my inventory. Which is pretty much the only way to find feathers in the game. They will be lying on the ground in various pictures. The same goes for strawberries. I feel the rules could have been clearer here.
Additionally, there are places where this isn’t helped by the art. There are several green balls that might be grapes and might be tiny plants. I never found a place that asked for grapes but that doesn’t mean I just didn’t find that spot. Additionally, I added a bucket to my inventory and never needed it. I’m not even sure I could pick up the bucket and add it to my inventory.

You’re allowed to carry your inventory from this book to the next, which is neat. I like that, maybe the bucket will come in handy later. I’ve glanced at the beginning of the next book and it doesn’t really seem to indicate I can carry over my items from the past book. This makes me wonder if I missed a previous book to the Great Chase. Ultimately, kids might have understood that and I’m just overthinking it. The problem didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the game, but it certainly gave me pause.

It ends on a cliffhanger, which I felt was annoying. I would have preferred a complete story. Then go to a different story in the next book. But with my history in these books that’s just part of the fun for me.

For kids I think this is a good book. I think they’ll have far less problems with the cliffhanger and any other bits that crop up. I think that most kids who jump into this will have fun reading through and seeing how the story goes. If you kid can sit still on their own and enjoy the story with little to no help they should be fine. There isn’t much to read in the book, relying on the images to convey most of the information. So weak readers should be fine.

Overall, this is a fun book with a nice idea that could give kids a few hours of fun. The multiple paths can bring them back to see if they can get to the end in a different path. Plus, as they flip through they’ll see the parts of the story they didn’t run into this time. There are several images of villagers in the book that I never came across.

It’s worth the time and I think kids will have fun playing it.

You may be able to get this one from a local library if you want to give it a go before buying it and I do recommend trying before buying. That might be an option for this.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.



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