Tom’s Top 10 Pirate Games

Yarrgh! Tom Vasel be list’n his Top 10 Pirate themed games!

00:00 – Introduction
01:07 – Honorable Mention
01:42 – #10
02:23 – #9
02:49 – #8
03:18 – #7
03:53 – #6
04:24 – #5
05:01 – #4
05:38 – #3
06:19 – #2
06:58 – #1

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84 Comments

  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. https://youtu.be/MESI1okOHp4(Link 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. Agreed on Merchants and Marauders and Jamaica, others not at all. Why people are playing board games ? To interact directly with real persons. Why then using a app on a phone to play them ? What a dumb idea…

  4. I thought this was about pirated games from China… silly me (-:

  5. Tom, what about Black Fleet? It's kind of a basic family level game, but I thought you liked it. Moves fast and is pretty fun. Nice board and plays the piratey theme pretty well. Did that turn into Pirate's Cove?

  6. I wouldn't really call something that requires 2x 500$ cell phones in order to play a "Boardgame"… even if the concept is cool.

  7. So disappointed in the hat choice for this video. Not that it's a bad hat, but come on, it should have been a Tricorn.

  8. 1. Jamaica
    2. Rum and Pirates
    3. Jolly Roger: The Game of Piracy & Mutiny (Only played half a game)
    4. Dead Men Tell No Tales

    Games I want to play:

    World of YoHo
    Dread Curse (I own it, haven't tried it yet)
    Francis Drake
    Rum & Bones
    North Wind
    Black Fleet
    Libertalia (hesitant as I don't like Citadels)

  9. Weapons and Warriors nod! Yes! Yes! Yes!

  10. I was surprised Merchants and Marauders made Tom's list at all since it's designed for grown-ups.

  11. The auction + area control game Pirate Loot has a somewhat pasted-on pirate theme, but is very fun.

    The Blackbeard strategy game (whether the old hex-map of the Avalon Hill version or the cleaned-up area movement version from GMT) is perhaps the most "hardcore" pirate game.

  12. I should have liked to see Dread fleet on the top 10 quality game.

  13. Tom, I think you have an extra 0 on Merchants & Marauders.

  14. Blackbeard is awesome, still get plenty of playtime from my group and has been since the early 90's

  15. Djeco's PIRATATAK is and always will be my favorite pirate game. Simple, fast and fun, everyone (ages 5+) will love it.

  16. Tom, a game called Pirate Republic by designer Tom Butler will be hitting KS next month. Looks to be a Merchants & Marauders killer. Super excited.

  17. Black Fleet is my favorite/definitive pirate game, you actually plunder other ships. I don't understand why Black Fleet isn't talked about more? It has wonderful components, looks great, easy to learn, and fun to play. Sad that it didn't even warrant a mention in the video. Black Fleet is so underrated. 🙁

  18. Did you not consider Islebound a pirate game? I could see it either way but I know you love that one.

  19. Do you consider Sol, which came out last Essen, as a pirate game?

  20. Uh.. Port Royal almost has no pirate theme. You're trading with those ships. There are Sailors and Captains that can be used to repel ships you don't wish to trade with, but within the game, they aren't pirates. While I think Port Royal is a spectacular game, it's not a pirate game at all.

  21. I adore port royale but i never thought of it as a pirate game. Black fleet should be on there.

  22. 10) Pirates of the Spanish Main Constructible Card Game – Not a great game, but the sheer volume of playable ships terrain options and intriguing mechanics make the game fascinating simply as a world. If you play the game as more of a pirat activity than a game with winners this can be absolutely tons of fun. Maybe it's just nostalgia on my part, but this will always hold a place in my heart.

    9) Pathfinder ACG: Skull and Shackles – a great entry into the Pathfinder ACG series, skull and shackles does a better job of making you feel like you are playing a pirate than most of the other games. It does sort of move towards fantasy as much as it does pirates, which knocks it's rating a bit, but still a very piratey fun game.

    8) Dead Man's Draw – Light on theme, but the ease of play makes up for that in spades. A very simple push your luck game that can easily feel like you're a pirate playing a pirate game. The use of Take-that mechanisms – something I'm not usually a fan of – adds a lot to the theme. If you lose it's because you were playing bloody pirates.

    7) Sewer Pirats – light on theme but criminally underrated. This is an excellent little family game with adorable little animal models. Mostly set collection it still carries a very unique theme of animals in the sewers braving the tides of gruesome flotsam to bring back the strangest booty one's ever heard of.

    6) Pirates of the 7 Seas – This one took a hit from the poorly received Rattle Battle grab the loot which borrowed the dice throwing mechanism from this game. A much better implementation of the dice tray mechanism, this takes the action selection mechanism from Libertalia and adds a lot more theme. Another Winner from the team that brought out Mysterium.

    5) Dread Fleet – Simply stunning models in a fairly light two player game. Rich with both Theme and Back story this is probably the most accessible of the Warhammer line of games. If you're not into the model building aspect of Miniature games this can be a bit inaccessible, and the price is a bit high, but damn does it feel fun playing this gem.

    4) Dead Men Tell No Tales – Excellent fantasy Pirate Cooperative game. This sets the scene of raiding a boat full of skeleton pirates on fire and puts you into the role of the raider. Reminiscent of the best scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean series it adds it's own story and thematic touches to make a truly awesome experience. Suffers some negative points from the fact that some rules are a bit obtuse. An early Deign from Kane Klenko who has since brought out the excellent Fuse and Covert.

    3) Jamaica – what more is there to say about this classic family game. plays 3-6 players well, easy to understand, tons of thematic elements. Jamaica is probably the least well known modern classic, but that's changing due to the dice tower's strong support for the game. This Years expansion promises to push the game further into the limelight.

    2) Francis Drake – Some would say this spot should go to Merchants and Marauders, and maybe it would if I'd played the game. That said I love this game and it's my number two favorite worker placement game (Yedo takes the top spot). Tons of pirate and privateer theme this one is wonderful for it's historical theme. sailors trading where they can and pirating where that's the better idea really plays out the most fun aspects of historical pirates.

    1) Black fleet – This is far and away the best pirate game out there. Not historical, but Historical pirates really would not be as much fun. here you can fight, cheat, steal, and beat your opponents up without any reason for anyone to get mad, since everything comes right back. The development system in the game really adds to the feeling that you are a unique pirate. You can get screwed in the game, but that's what you should expect from a pirate game.

  23. no Black Fleet ? why ? in my opinion this game definitely replaced Merchants and Marauders

  24. Merchants and Marauders is the TI3 of pirate games. It's expansion "seas of glory" make a super rich game even richer.

    It is the definitive pirate game, with tons of flavour, choices and freedom for the player. No two games are ever the same, and it's really not that long. 3 players is the ideal number tho.

    The game is not at all complicated, its very intuitive and the only confusing thing is the combat (because of the funky rule book). But after the first combat everything is made clear and instantly becomes automatic. It is also the most exciting combat system with dice in amerithrash board games.

    And I'm sorry to say this, but don't streamline epic games Tom. Good, fulfilling games are beefy beasts. Reviewers who complaing about the lehgt of a game should know that this is an extremely biased assumption. Lenghty is not viewed by all boardgamers the same, and most of the times, the game is lehgty cuz you have like a million other games in your collections and only get to play a certain game once in 2 years…. so naturaly you dont have the muscle memory to smoothen the game flow and reduce downtime.

  25. I'm surprised that Sindbad was not somewhere on the list. It's not my favorite game, but it has a nice mix of trade routes and piracy. Thematically, it's good. It just involves pirates who are not from Western Europe, which might have caused it to slip under the radar.

  26. Given Tom's irrational hatred for the industry's number one designer, I knew Rum & Pirates would not be on this list. 😛

  27. I really enjoy Black Fleet and was a bit surprised it didn't even get a mention. It's a fun game and the components are fantastic, from the metal coins to the beautiful and large ship models. I don't think Tom is a fan of the pick up and deliver mechanic, which would explain why he doesn't even mention it.

  28. All great Pirate games. Try Skull Tales. Great pirate adventure game.

  29. Islebound, from Red Raven games, probably fits your Merchants and Marauders light need. The end game focus on home port development over map/wealth control feels misplaced, but I'd recommend it.

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