ToysBulletin.com looks at a nifty little card game from Minotaur Games.
“Pirate Loot” was designed by Jason Bulmahn, creator of the Pathfinder Role Playing game, and features some great game play for 2-4 players with a suggested age of 13 years old and up. The game contents include 4 Ship cards, 4 Rank cards, 23 Loot cards and 77 Draw cards. The backs of the cards are nicely marked so it easy to distinguish between the different types of cards. The Pirate who collects the most loot by the end of the game is declared the winner.
To set things up, each player chooses a Ship card, then the Loot cards are shuffled and positioned face down on the table. Next, Rank cards totaling the number of players in the game are stacked on the table as well, and finally the Draw cards that match the Rank cards are sorted by faction (Brutal, Clever, Greedy or Lazy) and also placed on the table. It is easy to match the Rank and Draw cards by color. Any unused cards, due to less than 4 players, are removed from play.
To get things started, Loot cards equal to the number of players are drawn and placed face down next to the Loot pile. This is called the Haul, and represents the treasure available during the round. Next, shuffle all of the Draw cards together, making sure that the “Set Sail” card is in the bottom half of the deck. Lastly, deal five Draw cards to each player to form their starting hand.
To begin play, players alternate turns by playing a Draw card (recruiting a Pirate) in front of them. These cards make up a Pirates crew, which can contain multiple sets of Draw cards (different types of Pirates). Most of the Draw cards are either Ongoing or Recruit cards. Ongoing Draw cards usually impact how other cards are played. For example, the Brutal Cook Ongoing Draw card indicates that the Brutal Sailor Draw card has a value of 2 factions, rather than 1 faction as noted on the card. Recruit cards, which are the most plentiful, must be resolved immediately when played. For example, the Clever Lookout Recruit Draw card allows a player to draw two cards, discard one of them and put the other in their hand.
When the “Set Sail” card is revealed, each player gets one last turn that round before the end of game play. Once the round is completed, it is time to divide up the Haul, which is represented by those face down Loot cards placed at the beginning of the game. To do so, each player adds up the value of their faction icons, which are shown on the right hand side of each of the Draw cards in play. The faction icon values range from 1-4. The player with the highest total value gets to choose whichever Loot card he desires, while the player with the second highest total gets to pick any remaining card. This continues one by one, but the player with the lowest value gets nothing from the Haul. The values of the various Loot cards generally range from 1-4 Loot. Depending on the number of players, the game ends when a player collects 7-9 in Loot. It is not uncommon to play several rounds to determine the winner.
This was a sensational card game experience, and it was even more fun as our experience level increased after playing multiple games. “Pirate Loot” contains a bit more strategy and thinking that first meets the eye, which accounts for the average playing time of around 60 minutes. Careful card play combined with a bit of luck makes “Pirate Loot” a perfect game experience. This would make a great addition to your permanent game shelf. Look for it for just $19.99 at the Minotaur Game website.