Tuesday, June 09, 2009

#8: Piraten auf Schatzjagd

Piraten auf Schatzjagd (Pirates on the High Seas)

  • designer: uncredited
  • publisher: Ravensburger
  • date: 2006
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 1623/7.02
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $44.95 (Amazon)

I've owned a couple of games with huge boards: for a while, I had a copy of Battlemasters (which was kind of like Battlelore for Juniors), and I still have a copy of Torpedo Run awaiting a major SuperGlue intervention in my game room.

But nothing compares to the beautiful & massive roll-out seascape that greets you each time you open the coffin-sized box that contains Pirates on the High Seas. As you can see from the picture above, it's gorgeous.

Of course, the parakeet in me goes nuts over the pretty bits: two big ships with various plastic target parts - including a cargo hatch that pops open when hit & dumps out a treasure chest, a fort/tower with the same kind of treasure hatches, a chunky spinner & a bunch of thick cardboard pieces for keeping track of missions & hits.

And the cannons... mustn't forget the cannons. There are three of them: one for each ship & one for the fort. They fire small rubber-tipped projectiles at a very nice velocity - not "Red Ryder BB gun/you'll put your eye out" velocity, but sufficient to trigger the targets.

"But is there a game in the box?" you ask. Actually, there are two: a beginners game (that's really intended for your age 5-6 players) and an "advanced" game that isn't really all that advanced. Both games use the same basic rules - on your turn, you spin the spinner, which gives you a certain number of moves (turns & forward movement) and shots (times you can fire your cannon or the cannon in the fort.) Hit your objectives (which vary on which version you're playing) and get back to your dock before the other player.

There's some potential for blocking another player with your ship (which is actually an iffier proposition in the advanced game where you can hit the same target multiple times for "credit".) Other than that, however, your shots don't have any real effect on the other player. (This doesn't count, of course, the times you hit the other player himself with the projectile.)

The other thing they packed into the box along with the bits & the game is a whole treasure chest full of fun. My eldest son goes through phases of wanting to pull this out & play it... and got frustrated with how short some of the games are. So, we invented a "2 mission card" variant which runs a bit long but is still fun. (There are even some really wacky - and WEALTHY - people who have two sets so they can play 4 player games of this.)

The age warning is really about the dexterity to shoot the cannon successfully - I'd say a nimble 5 year old would be right in his or her element here.

The price at Amazon, btw, is very good. The list price is $70 and the shipping on the Amazon order is right around $5 for a box you could use as a foot locker if you were unexpectedly drafted.

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