I just got my copy of Treasure Fleet last night. I have played it several times at my gaming group and I just had to get it. I just played a two player session with my wife and she liked it alot too.
Treasure Fleet is a game for 2 to 5 players and plays in about 20 to 40 minutes. Each player is a pirate captain that is attempting to attack of set of 4 Treasure ship cards of different point values. After four rounds (the rules call the rounds "sailings") the player with the most points in captured treasure ships wins the game. Treasure Fleet is a rather quick playing game with alot of tactical depth.
The game comes with 124 standard sized playing cards. 5 player decks comprising 18 cards each. The player cards come in five different colors and most of the cards depict one to four cannons which indicates an attack strength. Each player deck also contains a "Boarding Party" card which acts as a sort of Trump card of infinite attack strength. There are also 38 treasure ship cards with point values ranging between six and twenty-two. There is a "Lookout Card" which is simply used to show who the start player is and a "Governor" card which is worth 16 points and can be captured at the very end of the game.
The cards are good quality cards with pretty good artwork. The rules that come with the game are good and have pictures to illustrate some of the card play. The rules only explain how to play with 3 to 5 players. The Two player variant is posted on the Publisher's Web site.
The game consists of four rounds or "sailings". In each "sailing", four treasure ships are randomly drawn and laid out on the table. These Treasure ships of various point values are now available to be attacked and captured by the player who plays the highest strength attack cards on them.
Now here's one of the things that sets this game apart. Before the Pirate captains can begin attacking the ships that have been laid out, they have to "Load their ships" with three of their player cards from their player deck. In a Four-player game, each player deck includes a "boarding party" card that acts like a trump card, two "one cannon" cards, four "two cannon" cards, four "three cannon" cards, and two "Four cannon" cards. ( A Five-player game contains an additional three cannon cards.) So before anyone takes any turns, they must try and decide what Treasure ship card/s they may want to play for and what "Cannon cards" they are willing to use to win those ships.
Then the start player is chosen randomly and is given the "Lookout Card". Any player that is not to the immediate right and left of the player with the "Lookout Card" can load one extra "Cannon Card" at the beginning of the "Sailing". The player with the "Lookout Card" now begins attacking "Treasure Ship" cards by playing a cannon card and pointing it at one of the Treasure ships on the table. The next player in clockwise order then plays a card in a similar manner. Once it gets back to the player with the "Lookout card", the "Lookout card" is then passed to the next player to the left and that player now starts by placing their second cannon card on a particular treasure ship and so on. In this manner, the players attack the treasure ships. Once each player has played the three cards they had chosen earlier, each ship is "captured" by whoever had the strongest attack cards pointing at that ship. If there is a tie then the Treasure Ship card "Gets away" and is not captured by anyone.
After four "Sailings" are played in this manner, each player will have one "Cannon Card" left over. These cards are now played to see who captures the "Governor Card" that is worth 16 points. At this point whoever has the most points wins the game.
The game also includes a couple of extra cards that can be used to add an extra layer of depth to the game.
There are two "Cursed Ship" cards that can be shuffled in with the "Treasure Ship" cards. When a "Cursed Ship" card is drawn and laid out with "Treasure Ship" cards during a "Sailing", each player must play atleast one "Cannon Card" pointing at the "Cursed Ship". Any player that does not play a cannon card at the "Cursed Ship" will lose one of the treasure ships that they won in a previous sailing. If a player doesn't have any treasure ship cards then they have nothing to fear and need not play a card at the "Cursed Ship". This has as a mild balancing effect to the game.
Players can also add a "Storm Card" to their player decks. "Storm Cards" can be played on a "Treasure Ship" card and will have the effect of discarding all the "Cannon Cards" that have been played on that ship thus far in the sailing.
My Feelings on the game
I like to consider myself a hard-core gamer. I love heavy games like Caylus, Tigris & Euphrates, and Power Grid. But I also have a deep appreciation for elegant games that have simple rules, play quickly and yet produce alot of tension and stimulating, thoughtful play. Treasure Fleet definitely embodies these qualities.
Treasure Fleet is a fast game with alot of fun tactics that involves timing, card management, and bluffing. The theme works beautifully. There aren't that many really good pirate games, but Treasure Fleet is a real winner.
I really like this game. I was very surprised at how much fun it was the first time I played it. It's a very strong game. My wife played it with me for the first time today and she really loved it too. She's not really a gamer at all. My gaming group is wild about this game. We play it every week.
I give this game a solid 9.0
Yes, it really is that good, IMO.
Treasure Fleet can be purchased on-line at:
Great stuff, added to my wishlist. One day too late for the secret santa, but maybe my guy hasn't looked at the list yet.
Here's the link for the 2-player rules (they are difficult to find!).