Editors note- If you're interested in Pirates verses Pirate, but would prefer a different theme, check out Pirates versus Ninjas, or Pirates versus Dinosaurs.
Pirate vs. Pirate is a board game for 2 to 3 players that can be completed in approximately half an hour. The premise of the game revolves around rival pirate gangs having landed on an island. Each gang seeks to acquire the most treasure or to eliminate all rival gangs. Components:
I was pleasantly surprised by the components of Pirate vs. Pirate, which includes:
- 18 Pirate figures, 6 for each player (green, red, blue)
- 3 silver coins
- 1 gold coin
- a pair of custom four-sided dice
- game board
- instruction sheet
While this all sounds very standard, what surprised me was the quality of the components. The pirate figures have a nice cartoony look to them, and are nicely painted. The coins are made of shiny lightweight plastic, featuring a pirate's head on one side and the Out of the Box logo on the reverse. The real standouts here are the dice: they look like six-sided dice, but are really four-sided dice. They have a skull and bones motif that really fits the theme. Also of note is that while the board itself is square, the play space is triangular as are the movement spaces in it. The storage tray holds all of the components nicely, and the box itself is quite sturdy. Gameplay:
Set up is very simple: each gang of pirates starts on a boat in a corner of the triangular island, and the spaces to place the pirate figures have been shaded. The coins start either in the middle of the board on spaces marked as such for a three player game, or in a two player game coins begin in the vacant corner. The instruction sheet has a helpful diagram of both setups.
The rules themselves are fairly straightforward. Each player rolls the dice and sums them, moving one pirate exactly that many spaces. Movement must proceed through adjacent sides of the triangular spaces, not from corner to corner, and the pirate cannot backtrack to any space he has already moved through. Pirates can capture enemy pirates by landing on them with exact count. Otherwise pirates cannot move through other pirates regardless of controlling player.
Pirates pick up a coin by moving over it, or by landing on it. When they are carrying a coin, a pirate cannot capture another pirate. However, if another pirate captures them, that pirate now has the coin. Coins are returned to the boat in that player's corner. To win via captured coins, a player must retrieve either two silver coins or the one gold coin. Alternatively, a player wins if they have eliminated all rival pirate gangs. Tip of the Hat:
While it didn't seem apparent when reading the instructions, the movement rules in this game really shine. I doubt that judging distance when moving through triangular spaces is intuitive to most players, and this makes figuring out what moves are possible quite a bit of fun. It often becomes a case of “you can't get there from here.” Especially in a three player game, the strategy of blocking movement really comes into play. Wag of the Finger:
While the visual of the pirate theme is nicely represented, it does not come through in the mechanics. This game would work equally well for nearly any fetch and retrieve based scenario. It is easy to re-imagine this game with knights collecting ancient artifacts, spies retrieving secret documents, or hungry aliens looking for dinner. This is not really a strike against the game, but someone looking for a hardcore pirate game need not apply. Conclusion:
Overall, Pirate vs. Pirate is a fun and lighthearted little game. It plays quickly, and as a 2 to 3 player game, can be used while waiting for additional gamers to arrive, or when the group is small. Its simple rules allow players to jump in and get going right away, and its high quality components wrap the fun in a cartoonish pirate theme.