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Hunter Shelburne
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This is try number 2 at a review, so I'll try and make it worth your time.

The Group: Gaming friends, play CCGs, Risk, Wargames and assorted RPGs and Videogames.

The Game: Pirate's Cove by Days of Wonder

The Challenge: Getting a bunch of guys with absolutely no euro experience (not counting limited plays with a couple of them of Railroad Tycoon) to enjoy a light-ISH Euro.

That is the rundown of what I was thinking about when I got Pirate's Cove for half off sale in the mall. I was tempted to pass it by, but it was PIRATES. I must say, in the 4 months I've owned it, no other game has been played more, not a single one. I'll start with the basics

Components

Box

Nice textured, sturdy box. Inserts have been sneered at with "wasted space", but I am one that really doesn't mind, I have enough room for the box in my collection, especially with the nice artwork.

Bits

Nicely sculpted little pirate ships in varying colors, vibrant colored rings and cylinders for the victory track and your boat stats, and well illustrated Captain's Wheels to pick your island. A+ job on these. Only problem I had, which is more of an annoyance, would be the coincs, I would have rather had different sizes for the different numbers, but its just an annoyance. Another thing I am slightly annoyed with is the lack of weight on the wooded dice, but they are nice to look at and add to the au natural theme going with the bits.

Cards

Slightly small, but overall well done. They have artwork similar to the rest of the game, so that is obviously nice. The information (such as Legendary Pirates States) is well organized for such a small card.

Board

Fantastic artwork, the islands are boldly marked so there is no question what island you are sailing to, the spaces to stack the Tavern and Treasure cards are also well marked, but not so abtrusive to draw your eyes there. The Victory(Fame) track is well placed along the edges of the board, like most euros I've seen, so its elegant but functional. The only gripe I had were the boxes on the board. This is probably because my friends and I were so confused about what they were there for when learning the game, and found out they were just THERE. Probably more annoyed with my ignorance and inability to read than anything

Rulebook/Player Aids

High quality printing and full color, great artwork, but more importantly, EASY TO READ. The book organizes the game into simple sections, easy setup instructions, a rundown of the turn order and the structure of the turn. Maybe even better than this, is the amount of FAQ scenarios for the Legendary Pirate and Tavern cards near the back of the book. Throwing in the player aid sheet that gives you a rundown of the turns and islands, its A1. The graphics and utility of the Pirate Ship cards area also prime. ample room for all the wooden rings to track stats, place for the special Parrots, lots of good here. My problem here is the spot for the Treasure chests, just not enough room for me most of the gmae (but I am a treasure hunter usually).

Gameplay

Here is where I can see some people beeing turned off of the game. I bought the game for the Pirate theme, but I knew enough about it to know it wasn't exactly a "heavy" game. Some people that buy this may not know that, and expect a heavier experience, ala Blackbeard, and those are just not the expectations you should enter with. When you set this up, you get an elegant fame system, and non-sim Treasure hunting, dicefest fighting, slight ship upgrading, and fun player-player interaction. The rundown is pretty simple:

You secretly choose one of 6 islands on your captains wheel, reveal simultaneously, and then put the ship there. You fight any other ship that happens to be there (except on Treasure Island), which could be oppoent ships, Legendary Pirates (which circle the board, moving each turn) or the Royal Navy, which is playable through a Tavern card. You fight it out, the loser can either wait and get a section destroyed, or turn tail and run, going to Pirate's Cove to repair. If they retreat before beeing defeated though, they run the risk of MUTINY on a roll of 1! Then you gain your spoils, all of which is trying to get Fame. You can "plunder" cards, treasure chests, gold and fame. Gold is used to upgrade the ship or buy cards,depending on what island you are at and you bury treasure at treasure island to game fame points.

This is all slightly random, light, and great fun. The system works elegantly, and the look on your opponents face when he picks Hull Island, and sees that the Legendary Pirate is already there is just priceless!

One complaint I have been seeing is that it becomes "avoiding the Legend Pirate". I have not had that experience in the 20+ plays I've had, its usually avoid the pirate early, build the ship, bury treasure, and near the end when it gets tight, certain swashbucklers decide to risk taking on the Black Ship, which I find is fine. This creates some really tense end games, coupled with Loot Treasure cards that give you extra fame points at the end of the game. You just really never know how its going to end, and that is half the fun. The other half is BEEING A PIRATE!

Overall, I have rated Pirate's Cove a 9.5.

This may seem like an overrating by myself, but the amount of plays my group gives this, coupled with the fun factor, the great components, and the fact that I can play 2 or 3 games a night, all make this a near perfect game for me. Coming from someone that likes a bit more meat to my games, I think thats the work of a top 10 game to me.

Hope this is helpful to anyone looking for a great light Pirate themed game, or anyone that may have been on the fence about this game. Its just THAT good.

ARRRR!!
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Hunter Shelburne
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Ha, maybe I should let the computer code for me blush

Fixed the Bold and Italicized, hopefully its easier to read.
 
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Tom Verdonck
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Nice review, thanks !
I played 6 turns in Essen to get a feel of the game and just now received the game in trade.
Your review makes me want to play a full game ASAP.

Arrrh indeed arrrh
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Hunter Shelburne
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LordT wrote:
Nice review, thanks !
I played 6 turns in Essen to get a feel of the game and just now received the game in trade.
Your review makes me want to play a full game ASAP.

Arrrh indeed arrrh


Thats great! Let me know how it goes/

I was just surprised, even with the pirate theme, how well a Euro like this went over with my group. Makes me want to try some more euros with them. I think that Pirate's Cove could be a GREAT gateway game.
 
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Sascha Hoppe
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Nice review. This game should get more love.
 
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Joshua Noe
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Great review. If this was only your 2nd, you should keep doing more like this one.arrrh
 
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Hunter Shelburne
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schuwa wrote:
Great review. If this was only your 2nd, you should keep doing more like this one.arrrh


Thank you very much. I try to make sure I am in a proper mood for doing a review, and have more than just 1 or 2 plays for the "first impressions" review.
 
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John Goodhand
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Weapon wrote:

I think that Pirate's Cove could be a GREAT gateway game.


I was just wondering if you consider "PC" to be a Gateway to more Euro-gaming OR to abandoning all civility and BECOMING a pirate? That thought actually crossed my mind while listening to Jimmy Buffet when vacationing in the islands last year. LOL ;-D

This is an EXCELLENT review. Thanks for putting in the time and effort to post it in such a thoughtful and thorough manner. I have been thinking about adding this game to my collection and you have reinforced the other good things that I have heard about it.
 
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John N.
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We played this game for the first time over the weekend. My non-gamer friends wanted to play it again immediately. We then played it again on Saturday with my brother in law. It was all I could do to make us all try something different.

What was the most fun for us was that at the end of the game no cared too much who had one, just the battles we had fought and the treasure we had amassed, and how elite our ship was, so most of us would go up against the legendary pirate in one of the last two rounds. Fantastic.
 
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Hunter Shelburne
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CharmlessMan77 wrote:
We played this game for the first time over the weekend. My non-gamer friends wanted to play it again immediately. We then played it again on Saturday with my brother in law. It was all I could do to make us all try something different.

What was the most fun for us was that at the end of the game no cared too much who had one, just the battles we had fought and the treasure we had amassed, and how elite our ship was, so most of us would go up against the legendary pirate in one of the last two rounds. Fantastic.


Thats how almost all of our sessions end.

The ONLY big thing with the game is (not a game issue itself) DON'T OVERPLAY. 3 plays at one sitting should be the limit. I know most people won't get that far,but you will get in situations with this one that you want to just keep playing. I usually get a good 2 or 3 games in, and it still hasn't burned out with my group, which is a great sign.
 
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David Seddon
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I actually think that PC is so much fun that any gamer who poo-poos it is really not someone whose opinion you should take too seriously. I mean, how can they not enjoy it? arrrh
 
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Hunter Shelburne
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Admiral Fisher wrote:
I actually think that PC is so much fun that any gamer who poo-poos it is really not someone whose opinion you should take too seriously. I mean, how can they not enjoy it? arrrh


Most likely by saying "Its no Blackbeard"
 
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schmoove_de wrote:
Nice review. This game should get more love.


I love the game and so do do all the people I introduce it to kiss
 
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Ryan Bruns
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Great review of the game. I've been sitting on the fence with this one. But I think you've talked me into it. Thanks.
 
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Hunter Shelburne
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kingofthegrill wrote:
Great review of the game. I've been sitting on the fence with this one. But I think you've talked me into it. Thanks.


Glad to help, you won;t regret it.
 
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Ross Moreno
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Your great review helped me to make the decision to add this to my cart. I can't wait to try it out
 
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Hunter Shelburne
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oldfirebush wrote:
Your great review helped me to make the decision to add this to my cart. I can't wait to try it out


Glad I could convince another soon to be privateer arrrh

Hopefully Days of Wonder prints that Expansion soon, I really want to see what it adds.
 
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