Updated: Oct 24
Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates is a deck building racing game for 2-6 players designed by Glenn Drover and Don Beyer and published by Forbidden Games.
The artwork on the box, game board, cards and treasure tiles by Jared Blando, Jacoby O'Connor and Mark Page fits the pirate theme well. The different coloured tracks on the game board could perhaps have been more obviously differentiated, but it didn’t take long to remember which one was which. The iconography is clear and easy to understand. The cardboard game board and treasure tiles are of a good quality and nice thickness, tho' the colours of the cargo crates on the treasure tiles could perhaps have been clearer. The crew cards are good quality with nice artwork, an easy-to-read layout and clearly described behaviour.
During setup, the cargo crates and treasure tiles are randomly distributed and the decks of pirate/merchant/port cards are shuffled. The decks of cards are large enough that you will not see all the cards during a play. You can play a basic version of the game (by removing some cards from the decks), or an advanced version (by adding pirate meeples).
You start your turn with five cards in hand. Unlike the majority of deck builders, you only get to play three of these cards during your turn, with unplayed cards remaining in your hand. You can use a card for its movement or for its action, but not both. Once you have played three cards, you then draw back up to your hand size of five and your turn ends.
When your pirate ship encounters a merchant vessel you may raid it. This ends the movement for that ship but gains you cargo crates and adds a merchant card to your deck.
When your pirate ship docks at a port, it ends the movement for that ship. You add a port card to your deck and may trade cargo crates for treasure tiles if you have the required booty. This is the set collection element of the game, as you're all competing to collect the mix of coloured cargo crates specified on the remaining treasure cards. If you play with the advanced rules you can also capture or rescue a pirate from the port, which doubles the value of the treasure tile if you gained one, or is worth 1 victory point.
The game is a race to sail across the Caribbean Sea, looting merchant ships and trading at ports along the way. Tho' positions on all three of the tracks are scored, the first player to sail 1 of their 3 pirate ships from the starting ports to Trinidad immediately ends the game. That means timing can be critical: you may be in a position to get one of your ships to Trinidad ahead of the other players but you won't want to do that unless you believe you'll end up ahead on points. At the end of the game, it isn't the first player to reach Trinidad but the player that has gained the most victory points that will be declared Pirate Captain!
Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates is a light fun family-friendly game. It has all the usual mechanics of a deck builder and, like Clank! (Renegade Game Studios), the addition of a game board only adds to the experience. Shiver me timbers, me hearties, I want to play it again, Yarrr!
(Review by James Woodward)