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Subject: Avoid, Me Hearties... rss

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Dither Dither
Australia
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I am noticing in my occasional visits to stores selling board games that there usually is a shelf or two dedicated to a range of the flashy red boxes associated with the Clementoni range of kids games.

Given no one has yet reviewed "Ahoy, Me Hearties" I thought it appropriate to at least post a warning regarding the likely disappointment with this game.

Ok, I have already given away my thoughts, but first; the good things.

The box design is nice and bright, the components are clean and colorful and made from a good sturdy cardboard. It all look quite promising, especially with the Pirate theme.

Game premise is simple. A board with a circular path of different colors. Home bases in each corner of the board for each color pirate. A single die with faces that match the colors on the board. Some cardboard gold coins. A spinner to determine whether you get 0, 1, 2 or 3 pieces of gold on your turn. Individual pirate chests with spaces for 10 gold coins, which when first collected make you the winner. Finally, two cardboard palm trees and a cardboard pirate ship that sit on some small plastic stands to give a 3D perspective to the scenery.

Sadly, what seems not to have been included was play testing. The sum is very much less than the parts. The basic game play you can probably guess, and its seems that is what the designers did, instead of sending it off to be critiqued.

This is one of the few games where my 5 year old son stops after a single play. With Monza, Hisss, Chutes and Ladders, Gulo Gulo and even the poorly produced Lola's Pink Milk Game, we tend to repeat the game a few times before it goes back in the box.

Why the game fails is not only are there no choices to make, but unlike similar games (such as Snakes and Ladders), there is insufficient interaction with bonus / penalty items to give it some random uncertainty and hence make it interesting. Sure, you might land on a pirate or their home base, but especially with only two players, this does not often happen before someone reaches 10 gold coins. The ultimate determinant of the winner is simply who spins the highest numbers.

One of the few positives with the game is that it is over quick. Although, you can be guaranteed even in that short time to have accidentally knocked over the cardboard pirate ship at least 3 times (alas - the ratio of "height" to "plastic stand width" is such that the centre of gravity can be easily shifted, so a slight bump of the board or table tends to topple over the ship, something that readily occurs with younger children).

Its annoying, as with a bit more thought and a few good tweaks, there could with these components be a reasonable game here. However, when the game publishers use a side of the box to stress the "educational benefits", and that the game has been designed to support "National Curriculum Maths", then you already have been warned this game will be devoid of any real fun.

There are now many fantastic board games to play with younger children. "Ahoy, Me Hearties!" is not one of them.
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Martin Manning
Australia
Adelaide
South Australia
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err... I like boardgames!?!
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D'oh! I bought overtext even though I have nothing interesting to say.
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Good review, It's helpful to know which games to avoid, particularly in the kids games market, where I suspect playtesting and quality are much less important (meh - they're kids, what do they know?). I have a 4 month old daughter, and have been picking up the odd game here and there for when she's a bit older. I have Gulo Gulo and Duck Duck Go, and am thinking about getting Kids of Carcassonne. I won't be getting this - and I love pirates.

 
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Mick Weitz
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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No one in Iowa City plays wargames?
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Thanks for the tip! Anything that reminds me of Captain Feathersword must be avoided...

Good Gaming~! Mick
 
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