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Pirate Den is a fun pirate themed game that sits as a filler in your collection. The game is all about stealing, burying treasure and sticking a knife in the back of the other players.
The game is super simple to play: play one card from your hand. Yet, so much comes out of this super simple decision. The cards either take loot (in different colors and different timing), buying your loot to get permanent points, or steal from someone at the table. You need to know? think? read the mind? of your opponents and out play? guess? them to victory. And if it all else fails: steal from them!
In order to enjoy the game, you have to be okay with people stealing from you and "bad luck" just killing your game. Technically, there is very little luck as everyone is playing cards and that drives the game play.
Some people may not like all the bluffing and back stabbing. The game is simple to play, but you may not always have control over what you are doing. This is going to frustrate some gamers. The card quality isn't great and you need to be secretive about what you play, so sleeving the cards is likely going to be mandatory at some time.
The game plays quick. We've played in as little a 5 minutes, although I think 15 minutes is more reasonable (the box says 30). This is one of those games where when you look at it you don't think much of it, but after about 2-3 minutes everyone is laughing and having a great time (except for that one guy who gets mad when others attack him). If you are looking for a good filler with players being able to attack each other, then this might be the game for you. Oh, and it doesn't have a secret agenda or a traitor: that is a relief for a filler game to me.
The components are pretty good. The box is way bigger than it needs to be. It could have been a ton smaller. The gems are colorful and very nice. And I love the gold nuggets are huge and nice. The cards are a little thin which means you may want to sleeve these. The player mats just sit there and are fine. The art work is alright, but not too my style in parts.
The rules are very simple and the game is very easy to play. It is a light filler that plays very quickly. The rules are crystal clear and easy to pick up and to teach/learn. The game is really about the bluffing and out thinking the ones you are playing against.
Flow of the Game:
The first player to get 5 or more buried treasure tokens during the upkeep phase ends the game. Then, you get 5 points for each buried treasure and 1 point for each loot token.
The game has 5 phases:
1. Draw Tokens - Draw 3 Tokens per player that is put in the center.
2. Select Cards - Each player chooses a card in secret to play.
3. Reveal Cards - At the same time.
4. Resolve Actions - This is performed in order of initiative.
Each card has a different action and are performed in the following order:
A. 0 Bury - You get all previously discarded cards back and you can turn in 5 loot for 1 buried token.
B. 1 Attack one - Each card is a different color - take all tokens of that color
C. 2 Attack two - Same as above, but two colors
D. 3 Attack All - collect all remaining loot
E. 4 Steal - Take all loot of color on the card from the person who has the most. Take That!
5. Upkeep - Take loot and discard cards that were played.
Should I buy this game?:
This is a fun little bluffing game with a pirate theme on it. Gamers looking for a fun little filler will be very happy. Non-gamers or lighter gamers will find a fun game that will give them a lot of laughs. There is wide appeal for a game like this. It can fill a niche for a lot of people. Simple and fun.