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Pirate Republic: Africa Gambit

We love sandbox games so we've always had a soft spot for Tom Butler's Pirate Republic, with which Green Feet Games raised anchor in 2017. It's a deck builder for 1-5 players where you're assembling a pirate crew and sailing in search of treasure (powerful single-use cards) and reputation (the currency of the game, used inter alia for upgrading the effectiveness of actions triggered by your crew cards and for scouting adjacent face-down ship tokens or land). Ultimately tho' you're seeking to add to your 'Swagger' (victory points). With die rolls and card draws affecting both movement and combat, there's inevitably a high luck quotient, but then that's par for the course with sandbox games, as anyone will testify from playing Xia (Far Off Games), Captain's Log (PIF Games) or Shiver Me Timbers (Weltflucht Verlag). A lucky player who finds they've targeted ships that are easy pickings can quickly advance but you can suffer a serious setback if you find you've taken on a much stronger ship... In Pirate Republic, there's scope tho' for mitigating the luck by joining forces with another player: sharing in combat at the cost of having to divvy up the booty.



Africa Gambit is essentially a revised second edition of the original Pirate Republic game and it should make a bigger splash. The rules have evolved and been further clarified and improved, and this new version introduces a posse of new pirates, new missions, an additional Imperialist power and, of course, a brand new map that sets your pirates roving from the Caribbean to the coast of West Africa. Best of all, with Africa Gambit you can play Pirate Republic as a campaign game.


Even in a single mission game players can gain upgrades by achieving accomplishment milestones and by gaining levelling up rewards. Tho' this is a sandbox game that leaves it open to each player which course they choose to follow, you'll want to tick off accomplishments because each one lets you increase one of your stats, much like in Bethesda's Fallout videogames. Players will also have hidden objective cards that can earn them Swagger and so are likely to focus their actions. Hitting various points on the Swagger track lets you collect levelling up rewards which can include, for example, an increase in hand size.



Each round starts by revealing a Tidings card. This is an Event card that may change a rule just for this round. Tidings cards also function as a 'Letter of Marque' to all players, meaning, for that round, the nation indicated by the flag on the card is considered neutral unless attacked. On your turn you also roll a Tidings die (a chunky custom six-sided die) which may limit or extend your movement or which may move non-player ships. It's the crew cards you play that determine the actions you can take, so hand management is important. And you'll want to improve your hand by recruiting more powerful crew and by nabbing powerful Elite cards. Pirate Republic's combination of upgrades and deckbuilding give every game a strong arc, so that win or lose you can expect to leave the table with a memorably rewarding experience.


The Board's Eye View team has only had a relatively short time so far with the preview prototype of Pirate Republic: Africa Gambit shown in our 360 so we've not had the chance to play a full campaign. We're eagerly looking forward to battening down the hatches for a full 16-game campaign when Pirate Republic: Africa Gambit fulfils to backers at the end of its upcoming Kickstarter campaign. It launches on Kickstarter on 11 June. Click here to check it out.


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han gu
han gu
14 de jun.

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