Plundering Pirate Kings! A Preview of Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates | Casual Game Revolution

Plundering Pirate Kings! A Preview of Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates

Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates

This deck builder will take you on an adventure across the high seas as you plunder merchant ships and sail into port to trade goods and recruit shipmates. Race to capture a Spanish treasure galleon and be crowned the pirate king.

Are you ready for a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas? It’s currently on Kickstarter, so now is your chance!


The board depicts the Caribbean islands, with three different paths to the Spanish treasure galleon at Trinidad. Each player controls three pirate ships, with each beginning at the start of the three different passageways through the islands.

Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates is a deck-building game, so each player begins with the same set of ten cards. On your turn, you start with five cards in hand and you play three cards. Cards have a movement value on the right and some cards also have a secondary action on the left. When playing a card that has a secondary action you must either use the action or use the movement, you cannot use both.

Some card’s secondary abilities, when used, force the card to be discarded out of the game, while others put the card into play, face up in front of the player, with its ability being usable each round. When you play a card for movement, you move one of your pirate ships one space on its track for each movement point on the card. You may use the movement to either move the ship forward or backward, as you choose.

Along the paths to Trinidad there are detours that will take you to merchant ships, ports, or both. When a ship lands on one of these two, it immediately stops and cannot be moved again that turn. When a ship lands on a merchant, if another ship has not already landed there, the merchant ship is plundered. Each merchant ship location has a certain number of cargo tokens, randomly drawn from a bag (there are five different types of cargo). The plundering pirate takes the cargo tokens and draws a merchant card, adding it to his discard pile.

When a ship lands at a port, the player takes one of three port cards that are face up on the table (immediately replacing it with another from the deck) or they may draw a card from the deck. This port card is added to the player’s discard pile. While a player has a ship in port, she may exchange cargo tokens for one or more treasure tiles (if she has the correct number and type of cargo). Treasure tiles are worth points at the end of the game.

At the end of your turn you put the cards you played into your discard pile and draw back up to five cards. When your deck runs out, you shuffle your discard pile to form a new draw deck.

The game ends once a player reaches Trinidad. Depending on the number of players, you can score points based on which ships are farthest ahead on each of the three tracks. You earn points for your treasure tiles, for certain cards, and half a point per cargo token. The player with the most points wins the game.

Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates


Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates looks grand, like a heavier game, when you glance at it. The board is large and there are a lot of stops along the three tracks. However, once you sit down and start learning the rules, you quickly figure out that it’s a highly accessible game. It’s not hard to learn and turns are fast.

Players have a lot of control over their decks, and it’s interesting to find a deck builder in which you don’t actually have to pay for the cards. When you reach a port you can take any of the cards on offer. But you do have to balance reaching the end and the points you’ll earn for being the farthest along a track, with the stops you want to make along the way. The merchant ships near the end also tend to hold more resources, making the decision even tougher. But powering on through is only so effective, since port cards have some powerful abilities and they and merchant cards will speed your ships up significantly. This balance of when to stop and where, as well as which tracks to push forward on and the sense of racing against your opponents, is clever and intriguing and leads to some exciting moments.

The artwork on the board’s map is incredible as are the pirate illustrations on the cards. All together, the game looks beautiful and captures a fun, pirate spirit. On the downside, when two ships occupy the same space, it can get a bit messy on the board as there is really only room for one ship per space. Also, since ships can move backwards, we did have a moment or two when we had to try to remember if certain ships had already visited certain ports, as you aren’t allowed to visit the same port twice.

When you near the end of a game of Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates things grow intense and exciting. You’re so close, but there are even more tempting stops along the way than there were before, and the player who reaches the end might not necessarily be the winner. There is some great strategy within the game but it never feels complicated or overwhelming. We had a really good time with it and loved the blending of deck-building and board game. Check it out on Kickstarter to see if it’s a pirate’s life for you.

Pros: It feels big but the rules are easy to learn, great artwork, interesting strategic choices

Cons: Nothing to track which ports you’ve visited, spaces on the board get over-crowded when occupied by more than one ship

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.