English reviews

Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates

Game summary:

A game for 2 – 6 players 

Play time 45 – 60 minutes

Designer: Don Beyer, Glenn Drover

Artist: Jared Blando, Mark Page

Publisher: Forbidden Games 


This box, got the following components in it:

1 Rulebook
1 Gameboard
24 Pirate ships

60 Cargo Crates (12 of each color)
1 Cargo Crate bag
20 Treasure Tiles
60 Player Starting Decks
49 Port Deck cards (32 Basic cards and 17 Advanced cards)
30 Merchant Deck cards
24 Pirate Meeples (4 in each color)

Here you see all the pirates that you can use when you want to play a bit more advanced.

Here you see the pirate ships, aren’t they awesome?

Let’s get it to the table

In the latitude of Deseada, one of the island, they took two sloops, which supplied them with provisions and other necessaries; and a few days afterwards, took a brigantine belonging to Rhode Island, and then proceeded to Barbados, off of which island they fell in with a Bristol ship of 10 guns, in her voyage out, from whom they took an abundance of clothes, some money, twenty-five bales of goods, five barrels of powder, a cable, hawser, ten casks of oatmeal, six casks of beef and several other goods, besides five of their men.
A general history of the robberies & murders of the most notorious pirates by captain Charles Johnson – 1724.

In Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates you are a pirate captain, sailing three ships through the Caribbean in search of rich merchants to plunder and friendly ports in which to trade their cargo for riches.

You have one ship on three of the game tracks representing pathways through the Caribbean Sea. On each turn you will play three cards from your hand to move your ships. Each card has a basic movement number and often a secondary power. You may use one of these two powers to move your ship along the track or to perform special actions.

Each of the three tracks winds through the Caribbean islands towards the ultimate goal; The Spanish Treasure Galleon at Trinidad. Along the way you have to plunder merchant ships and towns to visit to trade your cargo for famous treasures. When you plunder ships you also allow you to recruit more crewmen. The better your deck, the faster your ships will be able to move.

The first pirate captain to reach the Treasure Fleet in Trinidad will end the game. Each pirate scores points based on the place they finish on each track, as well as for the treasures that player earned when selling their plundered cargo. The richest captain will go down in history as the Pirate King!

First we’re going to setup the game board.

Each player will choose a color, takes all the pirates ships of that color and also the starting deck.
Place 3 of your pirate ships on each of the three starting places, Gran Granada, Havana and St. Augustine. Every player also shuffle his own starting deck and draw 5 cards.

Place all cargo crates into the bag and randomly draw cubes and place them on each of the Merchant Ship space on the board, equal to the number of red cargo squares shown under the Merchant Ship.

Shuffle all the treasure tiles and place 3x the number of players + 1 (2 players= 7 tiles, 3 players= 10 tiles etc.) face up near the board. Place the remaining unselected tiles also near the board, they will be used later.

Shuffle the 30 Merchant cards and place them face down on the allocated space on the board. Cards in the Merchant Deck are denoted by a gold doubloon symbol in the upper left.

Shuffle now the 49 Port cards, you have basic and advanced Port cards. When it’s your first time that you play this game, remove the advanced cards. After these cards are shuffled, place them face down near the board and draw three of these cards. Place these card face up next to the pile with the other Port cards.

We are almost ready, if you want to play with the pirates you have to read further. Place all of your Pirates in a port of your choice. Only one Pirate in any given port. The last player places first, followed by the next player and so on.

When during play if a player sails into a port with a Pirate of his own color on it and that captain is able to trade in a cargo cubes for a treasure tile, also take that Pirate from the board and place in on that treasure tile. At the end of the game all treasure tiles that have a Pirate on it, will be worth double the victory points shown on the tile. If you’re not able to buy a treasure tile, you place it in front of you. At the end of the game you will get 1 victory point for each rescued Pirate Meeple.

If a player moves one of their ships into a port with a Pirate belonging to another player, they capture that Pirate. If you’re not able to purchase a treasure tile, you just place it in front of you. At the end of the game you will get 1 victory point for each captured Pirate Meeple.

Here you see the metal coins, you can get these with an ugrade for EA Pirates.

Now we’re ready to play!

The game will start with the first player and going clockwise around the table. On each turn you will play three cards from your hand and move your ships. After you’ve played a card, place it into a personal discard pile. When you’ve played three cards, re-draw from your deck so you have again five cards into your hand. When you don’t have enough cards for a draw deck, just shuffle the cards from your discard pile and create a new deck.

Now it’s the turn for the next player.

Playing cards
When you play a card, you have two choices on the card. Just choose one of the two choices, just move the standard move option (shown on the right, just the number) or use the secondary action (if available on the left).

When moving your ship on a track, you can choose to go forward or backward on the track. When you move your ship, you have to use the entire value shown on the card. You can’t split the value between ships. When you’ve visited a port or when you plunder a ship, this ship can’t move any further this turn.

Some cards have a Skull and Crossbones symbol, these cards must be discarded out of play when their secondary action is performed. When you use the standard action, you can keep it into your deck.

Some cards has a symbol with cards on it, when you’ve played this card and used the secondary action you place this card in front of you. As long as that card remains face up in front of you, now you benefits from the special power on the card.

Plundering Merchant Ships
When your ship lands on a merchant ship space with cargo crates on it, that player may plunder that merchant ship and take the crates and place them in front of you. These crates may be used later to purchase treasure tiles.

When you plunder a ship, you also draw a card from the top of the Merchant deck. Place this card into your discard pile. Now this ship may not move further this turn.

When a merchant ship doesn’t have cargo crates on it, you can’t plunder it anymore.

Ports and Treasure tiles
When your ship lands on a port for the first time (You may not visit a same port twice in a game), you may select one of the three face up Port Cards of the top Port Card on the face down deck. Place this card into you discard pile.Next to choosing a new Port card, you can also choose to trade your cargo crates for a Treasure Tile. Pay the number and correct colors that are shown on the tile and place this tile in front of you. You are allowed to trade more crates with more tiles if you have enough crates.

When the last Treasure Tile is taken, draw new tiles from the pile that you didn’t place at the beginning of the game and place them faceup near the board. Place tiles equal to the number of players. After these tiles has been taken, you don’t draw new tiles.

A few examples of the treasure tiles. On the bottom you see the cargo crates that you have to pay to get this tile. In the middel you see the VP that you get at the end of the game.

A few examples of some Port Deck cards. The big number is the number for moving (standard action), on the left you see the other action that you can use for example “Move 4 on the Red track”. When this card has also a Play to the table symbol (a few cards together), you can use this card everytime, you place it face up and open on the table.

A few examples of some Merchant cards he big number is the number for moving (standard action), on the left you see the other action that you can use for example “Move 3 on the Blue track only”.

End of the game

A game ends when a player reaches Trinidad and capturing the Spanish Treasure Fleet, the game ends immediately. That player may claim one Treasure Tile for free when there is one available.

Each player now totals the victory points shown on the treasure tiles and treasure cards.

When you also used the Pirate Meeples, double the tiles with a pirate on it. Also every pirate is worth 1 victory point.

Each cargo crate remaining in front of the player is worth ½ victory point.

Finally, you will receive points based on where you finished on the board. This also depends on the number of players, therefore it is possible that you will not receive any points for this.

The player with the most victory points is the winner of this game.

Final Conclusion & rating:

Weight: 2.25 / 5
Replayability: 9
My rating: 🎲 🎲 🎲 🎲 🎲 🎲 🎲 🎲 

Set up of the game

Setting up the game does take some work, it helps anyway if you sort all the cards properly again after the game. The cards are clearly marked with the deck to which they belong.

After this you can start setting up fairly quickly, shuffle the various piles of cards and place them in the right places on the board.

Each player receives their own pile of cards, 4 pirate ships and possibly 4 pirates.

Then you start placing the cargo crates on the board. This is not much work but you have to look carefully how many cargo crates you should place where.

After this is done, we’re ready to play.

Quality of the components

Let me start with the artwork first, this is really nice and beautifully done! The pirate theme is very visible and fun on the cards and makes it a lot of fun to play. This stunning game art is created by Disney artist: Mark Page and that makes the game even more beautiful and therefore also suitable as a family game.

The pirate ships but also the pirates themselves are really nicely designed, the game board looks very nice. You must have a very large table, because the board takes up a lot of space. That is a bit of a disadvantage but it also makes it very cool to have such a board on the table.

If you want to upgrade the game, you can also buy a playing mat and metal coins. I must say that the mat is much more fun to play, the coins are fun but we do not always use. It does make it more of a pirate game once you use them.

This box also has an insert, which makes setting up and cleaning up very easy. Unfortunately, there is no consideration to the cards to sleeve, I find that a disadvantage so the box is very full and you can’t properly store everything.

Overall impression of the game

If you like deckbuilding games then this is definitely a game you should play once. I think it is a very nice game where the combination makes it fun to move your ship on the board using the cards in your hand. The cards in your hand can be made as strong as you want by performing actions such as plundering a ship or going ashore at a port.

The game is fun to play with 2 players but with at least 3 players it is really the best because you have to keep an eye on the other players to see which track they go the fastest. Because nice characters are used on the cards, this game is really a family game but with a pirate theme.

What makes it also very nice for variation is that you can play the easy game but you can also expand a step by e.g. adding the pirates or even adding the advanced cards.

I want to thank Glenn Drover and Forbidden Games for giving me the possibility to review Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates. 

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