Pirates! Play Test Reactions


At long last! I am writing!

Pirates! the Devil & the Deep, is cool; I’m awful about names, so I doubt I’d come up with anything else, but if I do, I’ll let you know.

I’ve read through the blog. My first thought is I really really really like how much is kept secret – that creates a really cool tension. Not only are movements secret but what is on your ship can be secret, too, and I think that’s really brilliant. How many guns? How many crew? How many cargo? Etc. That’s brilliant. The blog really helped me see how much secret information there is. The less my opponent knows about me, the better. And really puts you into that brain space of thinking, “What do I do in this situation?” It really makes you watch everything the opponent does like a hawk. Could their maneuver mean this? Why are they going that way? Etc. I love that. A lot of games let people see everything. They’re fun, but it is cool to have games where you don’t know and have to guess. 

I also like the customization at the beginning. I like picking how much cargo and how many guns and how many crew. That’s really fun, because you start to develop your own strategies. Preferred methods. Etc.

The card system seems interesting – that the type of damage is randomly drawn from the deck. I’m very curious to play that and see how it feels. I think that’s a good way of speeding up the process. And I think it totally pushes the players to imagine themselves on board the ship. Oh no, the hull’s been breached!!! But there’s a fire, captain!!! The speediness of the combat helps to give you the chaos too, forcing you to think faster. Thinking out loud: could the cards be too punishing? What if someone takes a bunch of hull shots right away and loses what matters most? All their cargo gone? Or all crew? And to counter that thought: is there really such a thing as being too punishing? This is war after all! I guess that’s like real battle, especially at sea! Naval combat is brutal and impartial to all. One well placed shot is enough to sink. So perhaps the card system isn’t too brutal, perhaps we need to understand that naval war is brutal! And maybe you get sunk quick, but the game is speedy enough to set it up again and have another go! 

Are there ever any misses in the deck to give the one being hit that brief sigh of relief? (Only to get a fire with the next card lol.) Especially at long range, at least in the movies, you always see the cannon balls plunk into the water. Of course, I don’t know a whole lot about historical actual age of sail battles, I just love the Master & Commander movie lol. I do know, when a ship gets broadsides on you, that’s a guarantee of something hitting you, I’d think. But I don’t know. 

All that to say, I’m excited to try it. I can already tell that this game has the fluidity a lot of people long for in an age of sail game. Better to play and get an understanding before saying much more about the mechanics – I don’t know the intricacies of them yet until I play! And I’m looking forward to it.

I like the idea of negotiations when you get into a certain range. You can even do stuff like giving cargo over to a pirate to evade being boarded or captured. If the pirate player is really mean, they may still try to fight after stealing goods lol. Negotiations make things interesting and gives the players that moment of direct interaction while still maintaining secrecy. Maybe the pirate thinks the Dauntless has more cargo than they are saying they have and in negotiations is demanding more. That can be fun. A little bluffing here and there.

New box art looks cool. I like the card deck!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *