Pirates of the Spanish Main

Last week, we received into stock a new game called “Pirates of the Spanish Main.” This is sort of a cross between one of those collectible card games, like Yu-Gi-Oh, and a conventional board game, with a touch of war-gaming thrown in for fun.

The game, manufactured by Wizkids, Inc., allows the player to construct his or her fleet of ships (more about that in a moment,) put together a crew from the available characters, and sail in search of gold. Oh, and plunder your opponents. That is important to pirates, right?

The game is sold in a small fat foil envelope, which I had the dickens of a time getting open until I noticed the pre-engineered “weak spot” in one upper corner. Inside was a shrink-wrapped pile of cards and the tiniest 6-sided die I had ever seen. The cards themselves feel like thin plastic; they are definitely more substantial than cardboard, but the game manufacturer still urges caution in assembling the ships so that the thin pieces are not broken.

Here’s a picture of my first ship, the Pescados de Plata. The information for each ship is given on the front and back of the card holding the “deck” piece. This information includes number of masts (which indicate how many hits your ship may take before it is disabled), cargo space, movement, and offensive strength of cannons.
The game is remarkably simple to learn, and can be played with a minimum of pieces for a fast and easy play experience. There are longer and more complex rules included as well, for those players who feel comfortable increasing the size of their fleets and expanding their repertoire of actions from mere treasure-taking to the more piratical actions of ramming, boarding, or capturing enemy vessels.

A great value for CDN$4.99 per pack. Each pack includes enough stuff for two players for a minimum game — just enough to see if it appeals to you. I have been told by customers who bought the game initially that adding at least one more pack (so that each player has the equivalent of one full pack) is better. The only downside that I can see is that, like all collectible card games, you don’t know what you are getting inside those foil packages, and you could conceivably end up with doubles. There are lots of ships available, though, so maybe the odds are stacked against receiving doubles unless you buy lots of packs.

Perhaps the neatest little game we’ve seen in a long while. Enjoy!


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