Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
Pirate Games for Young Pirates to Adults
On our recent excursion to PyrateCon 2007 in New Orleans, my husband and I took three pirate games** with us. Each has a basis in history and a nautical theme. All are easily transportable and take up little space. After we played all three, we rated them according to which we liked best and had the most fun playing. These games are available through Amazon.com or directly from Channel Craft.
Suggested retail price: $15
Sir Henry Morgan, the most daring and successful of the buccaneers, sacked the city of Panama and protected Jamaica from a Spanish invasion. He sought revenge against those foolish enough to cross his path. Morganís Revenge is a game of chance that includes six gold doubloons, six silver pieces of eight, and a six-sided pewter top. The coins are authentic replicas from the treasure ship Atocha, while the topís origins date back to the days of the Egyptian pharaohs. The pieces come in an anniversary tin.
There is no limit to the number of players for this legendary game of chance, and itís one of the few games where the youngest player gets to go first and names the wager for the round. Players take turns spinning the top. Once it stops, the player either takes coins from the pot or puts them in. Sometimes, though, everyone must add to the kitty. Other times, the spinner gets to take all the coins in the pot and thus wins the round.
The one question we didnít find an answer to was how many coins does each player begin with, and we wondered whether you could purchase additional coins to make the game last longer. There are only a few rules, and youíre welcome to invent new ones for a more challenging game. It takes practice to get the top to spin, but when it does, it can spin for a long time. Morganís Revenge is a clever game thatís easy to play and lots of fun.
Suggested retail price: $10
The rhumb line is the shortest distance between two compass points that cross the meridian at the same angle. The compass rose names the four seasonal winds and was used by mariners after 1350. A game based on these two nautical devices eventually evolved, but whereas in the past it was played on old sailcloth, the current game is played on a rubber mat similar in design to a mouse pad. The playing pieces come in a resealable plastic bag, and a small canvas drawstring tote is provided for storage of the board and stones.
Designed for two players, each receives 16 stones to use in play and one for keeping score. The object of the game is to get four stones in a row Ė either in a radius, an arc, or a spiral Ė to score points and prevent your opponent from scoring. The game ends when all 32 stones have been placed on the compass rose. The player with the highest score wins.
Rhumb Line sounds intimidating, especially for those who arenít keen on geometry and math (like me), but the game is really a sophisticated version of tic-tac-toe and far simpler to play than either of us expected. The challenge is to achieve high-scoring goals without being blocked. The more often you play, the more adept you become at strategizing your moves. We particularly liked the fact that we didnít have to keep score with pencil and paper because the game board* includes a way to track points with just a stone. Rhumb Line does require players to pay attention, and the more you play, the more you enjoy this game. Itís fairly quick to play, but you may want to put a time limit on how long a player can strategize before making a move.
*One suggestion: You may want to air out the board
for awhile before
you begin playing because it does smell rubbery.
Suggested retail price: $20
El Cazador disappeared at sea on a dark winterís night in 1784. On board was a treasure of 450,000 silver reales. Legend says that a hex, known as Thaxx, befell the ship. The object of this game is to beat the odds and keep your treasure, otherwise you become a victim of Thaxx Ė just like El Cazador, King Carlos III, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Thomas Jefferson.
Designed for two players (ages 7-adult), the game consists of a wooden playing board, two dice, and 30 replicas from the shipís treasure. The board contains a large diamond divided into two sections with rows of numbers from one to five. The object of the game is for each player to fill his side of the diamond with coins before his opponent. The number and combination of coins depends on the roll of the dice. The challenge comes from the fact that your opponent can take coins from your side of the board to fill his side.
I confess Iím still a bit puzzled about the hex. Since there are no sixes on the board, some rolls of the dice are meaningless. Weíre not certain whether it was the table we were playing on or the dice, but the dice have a tendency to bounce long distances. After playing for awhile, Tom and I decided that this was similar to Parchessi. Since there is no container to keep the game together, the dice and coins may get lost. I thought the game was less fun than the others and slower, but Tom liked it better than Morganís Revenge.
**These games are not for small children. All have pieces that are easily swallowed.
Book Review Copyright ©2007 Cindy Vallar
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