Producer– Stronghold Games
Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 minutes (2-4 players)
TL; DR-A great mix of a Euro and a party game 91%
Basics- Yer, mateys it be time to crew the ship! In Piratoons, each player takes the role of different pirate captains trying to crew, equip, and build their ships. The game is played in six frantic rounds. First, three pieces of ship and five pieces of equipment and crew are placed face down on the cardboard lid of a treasure box. Then the bottom is put on, the box is flipped, and the pieces revealed. Players then have less than 30 seconds to place meeples as quickly as possible on the tiles. Players can place meeples on as many tiles as they can or want and even on tiles with other players’ meeples! After time is over, each unused meeples earns that player one coin. Next, the player with the most meeples that is not tied with another player wins that tile. After the race, the tiles are dumped overboard! Ship pieces sink (are discarded) while everything else remains available. Each player can then bid on the remaining tiles. Players secretly choose an amount of coins to bid and reveal. Players who are tied can’t bid, but all other players pay their coins, and in order of most coins to least, select one tile. After that, players rearrange their ship, and the next turn takes place.
After six rounds, players score and lose points. Players get points for the most and second most sails, ship pieces, tiles, and money, while unorganized ships, missing tiles, and open slots lose points. Players then spend tiles in pairs and three different tiles in an area for extra points. The player with the most points is the best pirate and winner!
Mechanics-This is a solid American game, but it’s mechanics gives it enough Euro-tendencies to keep this Euro-gamer entertained. I really love how this game plays. Honestly, the time you have to select pieces is almost too long, but it does give slower gamers enough time to place their pieces. The bidding phase is an excellent addition that adds some welcomed depth to the game. All together, this is a well executed game. 5/5
Theme- This is a great, fun party crew building game. You don’t necessarily feel like you’re building a pirate crew, but you feel like you’re building something in a frantic fashion. The rules do make the game fun, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that pirates don’t follow rules. These are only minor problems, but they do take away a bit from the game. 4/5
Instructions-What I mentioned above is all you really need to know. But, end game scoring could use a bit more work. I’ve had multiple people tie in the end game scoring, and some of those situations are not covered in the rules. Overall, the rules work well, but could use a bit more clarification. 4.25/5
Execution– I don’t play too many party games, but this is the best executed one I’ve ever played. The treasure chest that flips the tiles is the best example of the production quality. The layer of cardboard holds the tiles amazingly well. I’ve seen too many tile flip/party games where tiles fly everywhere during the reveal. The color of the tiles easily helps players see what they go on the ships. The art looks great and funny at the same time. And any game with nice, chunky cardboard makes me happy. It’s a well crafted game. If you want to see all the pieces of the game, check out my unboxing here http://youtu.be/0ZHSiAueMTA 5/5
Summary-I don’t really like party games, but this one gives me a party game with enough thinking mixed it. The mechanics are fun. But, the theme suffers a bit as players are pirates, but are penalized if they act like pirates. The rules are good, but need just a but more to be great. However, the execution is the best part. what’s in this box is amazing. Overall, if you’re looking for a party game, but need a hint of Euro, this is the game you’ve been looking for. 91%