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Subject: Wild Pirates rss

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Fritz Schwartz
United States
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Opponents: Kenny, Tina, Sandra, Ice X

After dinner last night, I sat down with Sandra and two of our grand chillens Kenny & Tina to play a game of "Wild Pirates". They were already accomplished deckhands at this game having played several games during the day while I was at work.

The rules are fairly straightforward. There's a deck of cards numbered from 1-9 in four suits. The dealer for each round looks at their first three cards and chooses which suit will be trump for that round. Dealer takes the first lead and the standard Spades-type rules apply (high card of lead suit wins unless trumped--and you can't play a trump unless void in the lead suit, plus you have to play a trump card at such opportunity). The number of tricks won each hand translates into the number of spaces on the board you move. That part is a little tricky because depending on which space you land on you might have to move forward or back on the board or you might get stuck on a certain spot until you can win a certain number of tricks in a round. There are also a few places that force you to take a longer route if you land on them. And the other aspect is that if your move places your piece on another player's piece, that player must go backwards on the board to the most recent "anchor" space.

In our game, I jumped out to an early lead, but got stalled out near the first anchor space. After that, I was either shut out of tricks (moving me up "zero" spaces) or when I did move it was to a space that sent me back a few spaces. Sandra passed me early to take a slim lead over Kenny & Tina until the 2nd anchor space area where they each took turns landing on the other (sending their opponents backward) with Tina getting there last which put her in a lead that she never relinquished. Kenny finished second, Sandra third and I ended up way, way back.

This is a decent little game with a bit of strategy (kinda like O Hell! where you want to take an exact number of tricks if possible) and an excellent one to introduce young gamers to the trick-taking mechanics that will serve them well in numerous card games as well as boardgames.
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