Josh Jenkins
United States
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One of the three games I wanted most for Christmas, mainly for the fun in playing with my son, Harrison, was Pirates on the High Seas, published by Ravensburger. Needless to say, I was quite pleased that my wife was able to purchase it on Amazon at a reasonable price and have it under the tree on Christmas.

The components for this game are absolutely amazing. The massive pirate ships are sturdy plastic, beautifully painted and constructed in such a way as to have "break away" bits that constitute many of the "targets" in this game of ship-on-ship (and, err, a tower) combat. The play mat is massive, around 30"x60", and the real working, spring-loaded cannons are a hoot.

Harrison and I played our second game today. The first had been on the floor in our foyer and my poor knees couldn't take the crawling around -- not to mention the humiliating beat down he put on my ship.

This game, I convinced him to take advantage of the massive table in our dining room, and we set up with about 35 minutes of available play time before we had to go pick up his little sister at daycare.

Because of our need for haste, you'll see me assisting with the movement of his ship a lot in the video so that he didn't have to crawl all over and around the table as much. Also, he's still having a little trouble processing the fact that the ships' free turn is after it has made a forward movement. Of course, games like Silent Death and Wreckage have a different mechanic, so I can't blame him for the confusion.

We play the basic version of the game, in which the object is to use your cannon to blast free a treasure chest (either from your opponent's ship or the tower), knock down the front sail of your opponent's ship, and then do ONE of the following things: Blast free a flag from a ship or the tower, or knock off the opponent's lantern or masthead.

In this game, I took the early lead, getting a "tower" icon on the spinner and moving the tower down to the available corner near his ship to blast his sail down.

I also drew second blood, eventually blasting the flag off his ship from across the table in a shot that will live on in legend.

He then was able to maneuver and fire on the tower, blowing a treasure chest out into the water where his crew of cutthroats fished it onto the deck.

A little bit later, I was able to get a treasure chest of my own from the tower, destroying the door on the other side of the building to earn my booty.

I had all three of my objectives, and I needed only to get enough ship movement from the spinner to turn my ship around and head into my harbor to claim the victory. Somewhere along this stretch, while I spun for tower after tower, Harrison was able to get a bead on my ship's flag and blast it (also drilling me in the forehead where I sat in the corner of the room).

Still, I had too commanding an advantage at that point and was able to get enough movement icons on the spinner to pull my ship safely into harbor, laden with treasure and trophies.

Because he was bitter, Captain Harrison decided to take one final potshot, destroying the treasure compartment of my ship in a volley of fury, but it was too late for him, the damage was done, and on this day I was the superior pirate.

This game will put off folks who don't like games that could be mistaken for toys, but it's quite fun to play. The advanced game adds still more wrinkles with different missions for each pirate and other items to be claimed.

It's a refreshing change from some of the more dice and card-laden games, and given how quickly it plays, I suspect it'll hit my table (and, alas, probably that floor in the foyer) several more times.
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