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Subject: In Defense of Pirateer... rss

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Gene Rozen
Ukraine
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Pirateer is very similar to parcheesy, in the beginning, when all your ships are still at your home base, there is a very limited range of movement and one of your dice have to roll a 1 or 2 to get out, since 3 ships are crowded inside one after the other and can't pass through one another, you'll have to contend with lady luck and possibly a several frustrating turns before you can deploy anything.

Movement is handled by rolling two dice, each die allows you to move one ship in one direction the number of squares that you rolled.

With that said, having a player deploy a ship before you do is not necessarily a handicap. The purpose of the game is to reach the center island and pick up a gold dubloon to take back to your home port. Since the port is behind the starting positions of your own ships you will need to move all 3 of them out of the way before you can reach it. The movement of the treasure ship is limited, it's a huge risk to pick up the dubloon while your other ships are in the harbor, it will become a sitting duck. At that point other players will have the "trade winds" to their advantage. Trade winds are 2 sets of squares going from one side of the board to another, and are the only squares on wich you can move diagonally. It allows opposing players to reach the other side of the board relatively quickly, increasing the risks associated with trying to get the dubloon to your home port.

Taking that into account, here are some positives and negatives:

Postives:

Easy to learn: The instructions are 6 pages, almost entirely pictures. If you don't have many gamer friends this is definitley the game of choice if you have a small window of opportunity to convince people to ploay.

Minimalist: Pirateer requires the board, a gold dubloon token, 2 dice, and 3 tokens per player. There are no chits or scores to keep track of and can be played in a tight space, small table, just about anywhere public. This is a huuuuge plus for me as I have a pretty small studio and don't have much space for really elaborate games.

Decisions: The hardest decisions to make are the ones where the outcome is uncertain, Pirateer has alot of those. Do you pick up the dubloon now or do you wait until you get that last ship out of the harbor? Do you sink the enemies treasure ship and take the dubloon as your own, thus limiting your own ships movement or do you wait for someone else to sink it so as to leave 1 less enemy ship and another equally gimped enemy? Do you sink another player's last ship, or do you keep him around to increase the chance that one of you will hunt down the third player's treasure ship?

Political: With 4 people this game becomes downright nasty. Players will squabble amongst themselves until someone decides to pick up the dubloon, at wich point he becomes the universal target. Players with one or two ships remaining will ally and attempt to weaken the person that still has all 3. The average game lasts about 30 minutes and alliances will shift 5 times in the interim.

Negative:

"IT'S ALL LUCK": Certain people will ceremoniously scream this statement every few minutes. While it's by no means the game's fault, it does tend to annoy quite alot. The game is not all luck. Players very few resources and alot of hoops to jump through. Even a string of 4 or 5 lucky rolls does not necessarily guarantee victory. You'll spend alot of time pondering "Can I risk moving my ship so close to the other players?" "Can I risk picking up the dubloon?" "Can I afford to tie up one ship to block the enemy harbor?" "Is it better that the current player has the dubloon? Will it be worse for me if player B gets it on a lucky roll the next turn?" You can't decide what the dice will roll, you candecide if the risk is worth it.

Abstract: Pirateer is entirely mechanical, the pirate theme just provides the artwork to give it a pretty package. If you're looking to flex your imagination or to pillage the high seas you'll be thoroughly disappointed.


These are just my two cents. If you're looking for a very tense game where the risks almost never seem to be worth the payoffs and the loss of a single ship can dramatically shift the balance of power, you might want to give this a try. If you want a game heavier on the theme, or a game that's more forgiving, Pirateer might not be for you. arrrh
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Richard Irving
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The problem with Pirateer is not really the game--although it really is about as mediocre as you can get.

The problem is with the designer/publisher, a complete asshole named Scott Peterson. If you thought the Card Chess guy was bad, this idiot flamed anyone of the USENET group rec.games.board. (Ask an internet old timer what USENET is?) who had made any comment on his game or mentioned the old Avalon Hill. (He had a feud because his game was rejected by them.) He never apologized and claimed he was drunk when he posted. He even tried forging libelous posts and when his ISP was contacted and they confirmed they were from his posts, tried to say someone was using his computer to frame him!

There are so many great people in the gaming business who deserve (and need) your money more than that first class jerk, Scott Peterson.
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Paul Szilagyi
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Speaking of flaming people....

Don't you think it would have been nicer to post this seperately, in the Pirateer forum, as opposed to tacking it on to the end of someone's review? A new user, no less.

I got a couple of these when I was a new user (and it's not long since...) Yay, someone responded to my post... oh.

Granted, this Peterson person may be a jerk... and he's behind the game, but that's got nothing to do with THIS review.
(Which, BTW, was well-written... even if many won't agree with its basic premise.)

Myself, I'm on the fence... which is why I read this to begin with.

-ZZ
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Tim K.
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Didn't he go to jail for murdering his pregnant wife? It all makes sense now.
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Craig Hallstrom
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I played this game for the first time last night. It followed about 4 hours of other more intense games and while we weren't quite ready to be done for the night we wanted something light. Sometimes a game with luck involved in it is 'non-confrontational' enough that everyone can relax - particularly after an otherwise heavy night.
I quickly developed a reputation of being completely incapable of getting any necessary rolls. While my opponents pounced all over me, I fumbled along with awful rolls. I quickly lost 4 games in quick succession and found myself laughing about the results.
The review above in excellent.
In summary is it a great game - NO.
But I don't want to always play a great games.
Can it be a whole lot of fun - YES.
Will I play it again as an end of the evening cool-down game - YES.
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Steve Boks
United States
Unspecified
Georgia
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Great review. Not the best game ever, but one that is always greeted with enthusiasm in my household. I can't understand why people rate it so lowly. Absolutely agree with the risk evaluation comments above.
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Joe F
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Our gaming group uses this game as filler. We either pay it while waiting for more players or at the end of the night for a quickie. I find the game to be enjoyable and a break from heavy strategy games.
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Teresa Denks
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arrrh arrrh arrrh I picked up Pirateer in the gift shop of the maritime museum where I volunteer, so I'm approaching it much more as a sailor than a gamer. Most of us volunteers joined the museum to sail tall ships, including dressing up for occasional Pirate Sails, but during the winter we downrig and do maintenance, which means when we meet in a bar on Saturday evenings, we've just spent 8 hours painting, tarring, and rustbusting our vessels. We started playing Pirateer this year, and appreciate the fact that it's quick to learn, quick to play, and seems to go well with beer. And as sailors we argue about the effects of the winds, handling characteristics of different nation's vessels, tides, prize crews, etc. We find it a great addition to our end-of-day socializing.
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Destiny's got her hand way, way up in their puppets! It's an unpleasant tingling! The deepest of wriggles!
United States
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Well, once again we find that clowning and anarchy don't mix.
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It's a light, fast, filler that's easy to learn and fits in well on a family game night. That's a nice sort of game to have on hand.

It's not very piratey. And the designer's an ass. Who cares? Certainly not me.

Nice review.
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franklin johnson
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EvilTimmy wrote:
Didn't he go to jail for murdering his pregnant wife? It all makes sense now.


I met him at several game conventions when he was selling it out of his home. He seemed ok. I remember thinking how good the components looked for a homebrew game; he was apparently a graphics designer, so his product looked way better than most home-made.

Don't know about his usenet posts, but... DID he commit the crime you say?!? Have you any references or more information?
 
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Stuart McIntyre
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FrankLJ wrote:
DID he commit the crime you say?!? Have you any references or more information?


Not necessarily the same Scott Peterson:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Peterson

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Timothy Young
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StuartMc wrote:


Not necessarily...




lol
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Adam Cooperman
United States
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rri1 wrote:
The problem with Pirateer is not really the game--although it really is about as mediocre as you can get.

The problem is with the designer/publisher, a complete asshole named Scott Peterson

...

There are so many great people in the gaming business who deserve (and need) your money more than that first class jerk, Scott Peterson.


By all accounts Steve Jobs was quite the asshole. Does this mean people shouldn't buy iPhones?

I disagree that Pirateer is such a mediocre game. It's by no means world-class, but it is non-linear and strategic and that elevates it above "mediocre" in my opinion. There are better games, but there are certainly much worse.

OP's review was excellent and accurate.
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Dwight Fidler
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askeeve wrote:
By all accounts Steve Jobs was quite the asshole. Does this mean people shouldn't buy iPhones?


Yes.

Pirateer was a neat concept and I'll have to play it again. I recall there being some circumstance we didn't know how to deal with and wasn't covered in the rules which caused the game to be shelved - probably along with the heavy amount of luck. I don't think any of us hated it, we just didn't really love it. I did think one could probably use the board and pieces to make various games though.

The anniversary tube was pretty nice.
 
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Flavio Sousa
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PipBoy3k wrote:
[...] If you're looking for a very tense game where the risks almost never seem to be worth the payoffs and the loss of a single ship can dramatically shift the balance of power, you might want to give this a try. If you want a game heavier on the theme, or a game that's more forgiving, Pirateer might not be for you. arrrh


Thank you for posting your review.

I'm intrigued by these lukewarm reviews. I haven't tried it yet but Pirateer seems to be the greatest pirate game ever. Sure it's not exactly complex or sophisticated but board games don't have to be complex or sophisticated, they have to be fun and what could be more fun than pirates and stealing other players' money?

I need simple games for my students (13 y.o.) and I know they love pirates. Should I spend a small fortune on Pirateer (the game is a rarity these days) or not?

Thanks in advance, guys!
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