You are plundering pirates at the mercy of the high seas. Take treasure when you can, or take matters into your own hands and raid your rivals, but beware of the kraken. It will destroy your chances in whichever pirating adventure you choose to embark on.
Disclosure: I was given a prototype version of the game to review. Final game will look different, be of higher quality, and details may change before final production.
Dice of Pirates
Official: 2-6 players, 15-30 minutes, ages 9+
My Opinion: 2-6 players, 15-30 minutes, ages 8+ (younger for experienced gamers)
Easy, light, portable game for people who enjoy rolling dice. Fun to play, easy to pull out when you have a spare 15 minutes, great family game.
In the Box
- 7 dice
- 24 gold tokens
- 10 plunder tokens
- 1 ship
- Revlar instructions
I have a 3D printed prototype version, so I’m unable to speak of the final quality. I can, however, mention that the production of Dice of Crowns is pretty amazing, and Dice of Pirates is assumed to be similar, depending on the stretch goals unlocked during the Kickstarter. As of this writing, with one week left of the Kickstarter, you are looking at engraved dice and punchboard tokens. If the Kickstarter makes another $2800 the tokens will be upgraded to engraved resin, so you might want to go make that happen.
One really nice touch is the Revlar instructions, making them pretty much indestructible. This is great when taking this out to restaurants or parks to play, or playing with kids. The instructions won’t rip and can be wiped off, which I absolutely love. It really closes the deal on being a great portable family game.
During Dice of Pirates you take turns rolling the seven dice. What happens next depends on what you roll. Coins you may re-roll, and if you get 3 then you get a coin token. Ships you send out to other players to roll, adding a layer to potentially make alliances or be thwarted by your opponents. Swords can be gathered to raid other players. If you get 3 kraken during this process, your turn ends immediately.
Raiding is the biggest difference between this game and Dice of Crowns, if you are familiar with the earlier Thing 12 Games release. When raiding you choose the opponent you would like to raid and roll the raid dice (swords) that you collected during your turn. Any ships that are rolled are passed to the person you are raiding, giving them dice to defend with. When all dice are rolled and resolved, you steal coins according to the number of coin dice you ended up with during the raid. But, so does the person you raided. Raiding is a high risk endeavor with the potential for big rewards. There are further rules that add plunder tokens to the mix, but this makes up the general flow of game play.
This is a lot of dice rolling. You roll dice, respond, then roll more dice. The closer to the end of the game it is, the more furious those dice rolls are. And I love it.
The game is, for the most part, luck-dependent. There are ways to strategically stack things in your favor, but like any furious plundering in the black of night, you won’t know how you fared until it is all out on the table. This is also what makes this game fun, even with children who may be more sensitive to take-that mechanics. We actually end up enjoying our enemies attempts at crushing us, because we knew the tides could turn in our favor at any moment.
The pirate theme added a lot to the game, allowing us to get into character and curse the kraken and the fickle sea in our best (worst?) piratey dialects. The casual nature of the game really allowed us to have fun with it, finding new ways to trash-talk in pirate. And that is pretty much the hallmark of a good family game, right?
I enjoy rolling dice. I like the feel of them, the sound of them, and the silent begging I do to will the dice to favorable outcomes. So, it won’t be a surprise that I like Dice of Pirates. It is a high-energy game that get you involved in every dice roll, no matter whose turn it is.
It is easy to teach, but remembering what each die face means during each phase can take some time for some. Simply have the rules handy to reference and it will become easy within a play or two.
Its size and resiliency makes it a great game to take with you: restaurant, park, hospital, airplane. You can break it out and play a game in 20 minutes. Just having the game on the table, I found myself opening up for a quick play whenever I had some spare time and people willing to play. My younger kids (8 & 10) played it often, making up their own variants or completely different games because the small size and fun components intrigued them. This is the type of game I see getting brought out most often in my home: easy enough for the kids to play on their own with pieces and theme that capture their imagination.
Sound like something you might like? Hurry up and back it on Kickstarter before the campaign ends!