My Top 10 Pirate-Themed Games

Games mentioned in this video include some that Jamey hasn’t played (Dead Reckoning, Rum & Bones, Skull King, Rattle Battle Grab the Loot, Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Black Fleet) and some he has played but didn’t put in his top 10 (Seafall, Merchants & Marauders, Port Royal, Islebound, and Francis Drake).

1. Libertalia
2. Brotherhood of the Coast
3. Treasure Island
4. Celestia
5. Dead Man’s Draw
6. Forgotten Waters
7. ShipShape
8. Jamaica
9. Jolly & Roger
10. Maracaibo

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Intro animation by Jeff Payne


  1. Jack Sparrow fan. My list 🙂
    Merch&Marau should be the king. But needs serious rule development. WIP.
    Sea Rovers (has never come out/ Villain author/ too bad 🙂
    Captain's Log (overpriced/ bad-looking/ Merch&Marau spin-off)
    (Its rulebook will be used to rebuild M&M though)
    Dead Reckoning: incredibly overpriced/ merchants win-pirates enjoy game/ Merch&Marau knock off in its expansions.
    (Its rulebook will also be used to rebuild M&M though)

    Games like:
    – 21 Mutinies
    – Dead Man's Doubloons (Jamaica on steroids)
    – Tortuga 1667 (a good party game with min. 3 players)
    – M&M Broadsides (with rule-development)
    – Extrao. Adv: Pirates ( good no-three-big-things-in1time life-like lesson 🙂
    – Libertalia (1st Ed. kinda piratey trickster game 🙂
    – Letter or Marque (with rule-development)
    – Plunder: very good base of a big pirate game with rule development
    – Francis Drake (seabattle will be built in)
    – Dutch Golden Age (on the shelf, haven't tried yet)
    – Mutiny! (on the shelf, haven't tried yet)
    – Pirates Cove (got a complete graphics/ components redesign)
    – Blackbeard: Golden age of Piracy (HC)
    – Colonial (HC)
    – Winds of Plunder (HC)

    No.1: Black Fleet (The most fun 🙂 30% rule-developed/ graphics-redesigned. And 40+ additional development cards made.
    Hope it helps you, mateys 🙂

  2. Whenever I play a pirate themed board game I use this album as background music. to a YT video but the whole thing is on Spotify) If you’re into metal and pirates you can’t go wrong with this one !

  3. Plunder is my all time favourite Pirate game…

  4. We need to finish Charterstone so we can play Forgotten Waters! We are on game 5 of Charterstone. Also want to play Maricaibo so badly . Looks like the perfect game for me

  5. My GF loves that game, but haven't been able to find it anywhere here in Finland. I managed to secure used Libertalia from local board game store this week, going to put that on the table next weekend 🙂

  6. Hey jamey, i have a friend who loves lovecraftian themed board games but i am not a big fan of them because i feel like there are too many cthulu games with very similar mechanics and themes. My question is if you had to make a cthulu themed game, how would you do a different spin on it? What kind of game mechanics would u use and how would u use the lovecraft mythos?

  7. One of my favorite little card games with a great little theme is LOOT, by Reiner Knizia and Gamewright games. Idk if it’s still in print but it’s a clever game of collecting these merchant ship cards with different gold coins printed on them which are worth points to the player who wins these cards at the end of the game. Once a player wins a merchant ship card it is placed facedown beside them. It’s a great game with hidden points that always ends up to be an easy clever game to learn and teach but is also difficult. It’s been a long while since I’ve played it so idk how well the pirate theme fits with the gameplay but when explaining the rules through theme people get the game, anyways LOOT is great and I highly recommend looking it up and giving it a try. Edit: Of course now is a tough time to recommend games to play but, LOOT is a fun game even if you’re just living at home with one other person, I believe it plays 2-6 players.

  8. My group LOVES Forgotten Waters, and Francis Drake hits the table a bunch too. Need to try Libertalia 😊

  9. Great list! I really enjoy pirate-themed games. I just backed Dead Reckoning, it looks pretty good and Ian O'Toole is providing the art. The man is a genius.

    What are those two games behind you? Pendulum and Genesha? Are those games you are currently playing?

  10. Jolly Roger a game of piracy and mutiny is in my overall top 10

  11. Libertalia is fantastic! It went over incredibly well with every member of our group. Only sad we didn't discover it sooner!

  12. Jamaica is fun, but I'm not crazy about the movement mechanics. Quick to learn, once you get through the very large treasure map sized rules! (However, Boardgame Geek does have an 8×11" sized download of the rules).

  13. My first play of Libertalia I won a 6p game selecting my own cards completely at random. It made me not want to play again.

  14. Another favorite of mine that I happened to stumble upon is Tortuga 1667, by Facade Games. Four to nine players, best at five or seven. Very pirate-themed game with some "take that" mechanics – which I typically don't enjoy in some games, but have a lot of fun in this one! Highly recommend!

  15. I haven't played many pirate-themed games, but my favorite is Forgotten Waters. It is in my overall top 10 right now too! I enjoy Islebound as well & Catan Seafarers & Dominion Seaside have light pirate touches (two of my favorite classics). Tortuga was fun, but we rarely have enough players to play it at best counts. I'm tempted to back Dead Reckoning & Libertalia is on my wishlist! Thanks for another great video!

  16. Sea of Clouds is a different game. Cloud 9 was the old version; it's hot air balloons 😉

  17. Hands down the most immersive pirate simulation out there is Merchants & Marauders! Dead Reckoning looks great, though it's been supplanted from the "must have" position on my wish list by Forgotten Waters.

  18. I formally declare “I cut, you choose” to be called “I split, you pick.” going forward! It sounds so nice. Let’s make it happen! Great video Jamey. I think Tiny Epic Pirates will be my #1 pirate game. Dead Man’s Doubloons is pretty fun.

  19. Oath of the Brotherhood by AEG is a worker placement and another great pirate-themed game with a great mechanism where more locations on the board are revealed as the pirates explore the area.

  20. I was hoping Libertalia was on this list. Such a fun game. Supposedly supposed to be reprinted when I asked but nothing in the year since I asked on Twitter. I hope it comes back bc this one is worth owning. Just got Ship Shape recently and have not played it yet.

  21. I would recommend spending more time with Maracaibo. It does fit the pirate theme as players are privateers (pirates for hire) running around the Caribbean doing pirate-ish things for money. The map as a rondel is brilliant as all players play chicken with each other until one thinks they have the win and race to finish it. The mechanics are elegant and all work together logically.

  22. I like Loot, Dead Men Tell No Tales, and the Dead Mans draw app is good, we need a pirate vs Viking game. 🤘

  23. Hi Jamey,
    Have you played Pirates Den?
    It is a great lightweight game for the family, my two 4 year olds can even play with my wife and I, and the game can be finished in just 15-20 minutes.

  24. Great list as usual, two others I would suggest worth considering are Dread Curse and Chrono Corsairs.

  25. Im so happy to see Libertalia get some love. It has been one of our most played games over the years. It hasn't seen consistent play for a while but if I am playing with a group of 5 or 6, it is my go to game. I was surprised Merchants and Maurauders wasn't on your list.

  26. I know tastes differ, and I am in no way downplaying yours, but I think Francis Drake is terribly underrated. Certainly the most underrated pirate game of all time.

    Anyone who has not tried it, you really should. It may not be your thing, but you are doing yourself a disservice not at least trying.

  27. Great video Mr. Stegmaier! When we got halfway through, I thought my favorite pirate game wasn't gonna make the list. My favorite pirate game is definitely Libertalia, I also enjoy Jamaica but haven't played most of these. I'm interested in Dead Wreckoning though, I've saved it as a remind me, but haven't decided just yet if I'll back it. Already backed Ascension: Tactics so we'll see if I go in on another. Definitely looks like a fun pirate experience though.

  28. Forgotten waters just arrived this week. Looking forward to playing it with a groups socially distance style. Glad it made your list.

  29. This was a great list! I love pirate games! You have got to try out Dead Men Tell No Tales.

  30. I also played Libertalia in BGA and loved it. I wish they would reprint it

  31. Dead Reckoning is on my backing list. So is Tiny Epic Pirates. Thoughts on this series of easily accessible games and Pirates, specifically?

  32. I'd love for your sandbox game to be pirate themed. There really isn;t one in existence, apart from perhaps Merchants and Marauders, but that one is hard to get now, and obviously not a Stonemaier:) Here's hoping…

  33. I like your lists, but I feel like it'd be more authentic if you weren't just promoting Pendulum.

  34. I am surprised Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates is not in your list. Is a nice little race/deck building/resource gathering game… with missions. Maybe not at the top of the list, but i am sure it deserves a mention.

  35. I agree on Libertalia. Have you played Pirate’s Cove?

  36. Rattle, Battle, Grab The Loot is pretty cool. Dropping dice in the box to simulate sea battles, upgrading your galleon with cool attachments, and the components are great, including metal coins.

  37. André Luis Santi Coimbra de Oliveira says:

    I love the real-time game A Tale of Pirates, the surprises you add to the gameplay in each chapter are very nice.

  38. I think thematically Merchants & Merauders with the expansion takes the cake

  39. Funny enough the word viking means pirate…
    A lesser known pirate game is The Pirate Republic. Great game.

  40. What is "keekstarter"? There is an "I" in there.

  41. In Treasure Island the pirate would presumably be Long John Silver.

  42. @Jamie: Just out of curiosity: Did you know, plan or had even Contact or the Idear to make a Stonemaier Version of Libertalia? At the time you made this video?

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