How to play Dread pirate: Board Games

If all games were judged solely on their production value, this one would take the prize. Join me as we explore the booty of a game that lends itself to… creative deliberation when it comes to what the rules mean.

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“Sneaky snitch”
“Rollin at 5” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


  1. I'm a tad slow, I thought you were Zorro at first. Those coins would make good movie props.

  2. I have this game and the components are just beyond incredible. Game needs your own home rules to spice it up but we did have family fun as per rules. I wouldn't go off the map to wrap around to the other side–/that type of short cut just isn't in the spirit of sailing around the layout, while thing comes in a beautiful wooden box..production value is off the charts.

  3. I also have this game, and the components quality is indeed fantastic; possibly the finest I have yet seen. I have the treasure chest version, which is even nicer than the bookcase edition. I did notice that you didn't mention the Dread Pirate cards in your review, or the wind cube. Those add a bit more to the game.
    The rules that come with the game I agree are lacking. Go to the game's page at, and there are several good variations to the rules, such as Port Royal, The Lost Navigator Stones, Bounty Hunter, The Ghost Ship and etc.
    Another way to improve the game is to add cards and/or rules from Buccaneer's Revenge or Master & Commander, both from Front Porch Classics, the same company that made this game. All their games feature quality components but sometimes lack in the game play department. But add in custom rules and you can raise this mediocre game up to a very good one.. 🙂

  4. Even thou it made me not want to buy the game, nice review, congratulations.

  5. Game is fun enough. We bought pewter cobs from St. Augustine mint for it to add to the treasure pile which I like. I have always been puzzled by the off the map thing too, and so I just enter at the nearest block.

  6. Don't forget whenever you pass a little triangle you have to draw a card

  7. I've had dread pirate for I believe a good 15 years I turned it on to my grandchildren and they absolutely love it we haven't played it for a couple of years and your little refresher course really was enjoyable hearing thank you and now we'll play dread pirate because we forgot how to God bless take care be safe keep covid-19 safe I hope all is well thank you

  8. I’m working on a brand new pirate game brother

  9. Get some round magnets of the same diameter as the base of the ships. Get enough for each ship to have 9 magnets available. Paint 3 of them white, 3 of them pink, and leave 3 black. White is for sails. Pink is crew. Black is for cannons. Ships start with zero magnets. At a port, you may purchase a magnet of your choice for 3 treasures. A black cannon magnet gives a player +1 on die rolls for combat. A white sail magnet gives a player a +1 to movement rolls. A pink crew magnet gives a player a +1 to their die roll when raiding a port. Ships may have up to 3 magnets, in any combination chosen by the player, per ship. When in combat, players may elect to lose a magnet rather than losing treasure. Also, if a ship would normally be sunk, instead, it loses all it's magnets.

  10. What are the other anchors for? Does anything happen when you land on them? Like by scurvy cave or howells rest etc..

  11. This is my own custom rules. I played with my daughter when she is starting 3 years old. Simple rules i dun have problem explaining and she has no trouble understanding at all. I started with no color stones in the beginning. When she is 4, i introduced the color stones rule. The full rule is now the following and she is still playing till now:

    Dread pirate
    Simple rules
    – Put all gold on dread island, 4 different color gem stones on respective port islands.
    – Put pirate flag on dread island
    – Each player pick color ship and choose a home port. Take a bag of any color.
    – Each player throw 2 dice to navigate ship. Can only move horizontal or vertical squares per step. Diagonal square is considered 2 steps.
    – Each player must collect stones of different color before can visit dread island. Must be presented and discarded on doubloon island. The number of sets of different color stones determine number of times he can throw to collect the gold.
    – Each player must visit a different port each time to collect the stones.
    – To collect stone, player must be at the port, and throw 1 die (if port is neutral) then see how many stones he can collect. If the port is owned by another player. Both players throw 1 die, and if visiting player wins he gets the number of stones as shown on his die. If the owner player is at home, he gets to throw 2 dice and visiting player throw 1 die. Player wins if any of the die is higher number. This 1-1 die or 2-1 die rule stays regardless either side is a pirate.
    – Players can meet each other to conduct trade(war). Pirate gets to throw 2 dice, normal player gets to throw 1 die. The player the highest numbered die wins and gets the number of stones from losing player’s bag(cannot see or choose color). If the loser was a pirate, the winner now becomes the pirate and there can only be one pirate.
    – The first to reach dread island becomes a pirate.
    – As a pirate he gets to throw 3 dice instead of 2 dice to navigate, and 2 dice instead of 1 die during trade(war)
    – Player at dread island throw a die to determine how many gold he can take. He must present a set of 4 different stones to get a throw. The stones are then discarded on doubloon island. Immediately after taking the gold he must throw the dice again to force navigate away towards any other port island.
    – During trade(war) if the attacking player wins, he gets the number of stones based on the higher number thrown. If he lose, he lose the number of stones based on the lower number thrown. Player at home gets to throw 2 dice instead of 1. This 2-1 die rule stays regardless of if either side is a pirate.
    – If either side is at the port of not his own. Then the number of dice to use is just based on the normal trade(war) rule. Conduct normal trade(war) before visiting island. Only one ship can be at the port any one time.
    – After collecting the stones at a port, he must visit another port before can come back same port again.
    – Player who dun have enough stones to pay can use gold coins, otherwise lose the ship. (Game over, or can state a rule to respawn at home port, or choose to have 2 respawn chances only).
    – Game over once one of the following happen: the only player survives, or all gold has been taken, or any of the color gem stones on the port islands are exhausted.
    – Player with the highest number of gold wins.

  12. We just rented an air b&b and it had this board game we are definitely adding some home rules which involve taking shots if you lose a battle 😎

  13. This is one of those obscure unheard-of games that only I liked growing up and no one ever wanted to play because I'd always win. Which led to me becoming bored of it and never playing again.

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