Sunday, 22 September 2013


Ahoy there, m' heartries.

I should have posted something on this a couple of days ago for 'Talk like a pirate' day, but better late than never.

Recently I have played a couple of games of GMT's Blackbeard - The Golden Age of Piracy game, which I picked up in a sale a few months ago. This is a redesign published in 2008 of the original Avalon Hill Blackbeard game from the 1980's - I've never played the original but I understand it was a lot more fiddly and probably less fun.

It's a card-driven game which is supposed to play in 2-3 hours; once through the deck and the game is over. You control up to 3 pirates who generally make hay looting merchant ships and attacking ports before returning to a port where you can convert your loot to personal wealth. And then you are subject to 'Debauchery & Revellry' missing a turn or two. There are warships to avoid but the real foe are the 'King's Commisioners' who appear once your pirates acquire enough notoriety. The trick is get your pirate to retire safely before he is caught by a KC (unless you have a letter of Marque up your sleeve). In many ways it feels like a board game version of the Sid Meier Pirates computer game.

The Board at the end of a Game

Overall I have enjoyed playing. It's got a pretty high luck factor; if you don't see the funny side when your pirate is displaced by a mutiny or by someone else's pirate who turns out to have been in your crew & beats you in a duel taking all the loot you've 'earned' then this isn't the game for you. In truth there are a few places where I would like to iron out the wilder effects of the dice rolls and I would possibly try to change a thing or two to get a bit more action into the game. 

and the active pirates at the end of the same game

One of the things I do really like is that the rules include as background mini-biographies of all 23 pirates in the game. These are all historical figures such as John Rackham, Bartholomew Roberts (the 'Dread Pirate Roberts') and of course Edward Teach himself.

A biography from the rule book

1 comment:

  1. I played and enjoyed the original. Will have to give this one a try.