Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates!
We had already seen Extraordinary Adventures a couple of times on websites like boardgamegeek, and it looked like a lot of fun! So we were happy to receive a review copy from Forbidden Games. As big fan of pirates, we were ready to create some adventures.
How to Play.
Extraordinary Adventures is a really easy game to learn. For the setup you choose four ships with the same color of your choice, and place them on the three starting spaces. St Augustine, Havana and Gran Granada. Randomly draw out cargo crates from the supply bag and place them on each merchant ship on the board equal to the red cargo squares shown on the map. Then take three times the number of players plus on of the treasure tiles and place them face up near the board. Each player takes the ten cards with their color on it and shuffles them, you can take five cards in your hand. After that, you shuffle the merchant deck and place it on the board, shuffle the port cards and place it near the board and place three port cards face up. Then you are ready to play. If you play the advanced mode, you can also take the meeples with your player color and place them on a port of your choice on the map.
The goal of the game is to collect the most victory points. You as a captain have three ships to control and three routes to sail. Each round you start with five cards in your hand and you can play one card for each ship. You can either move your ship with the number on the card, or use the second action on the card, like move three spaces on the blue track instead of two. After you finished your round, you discard the three cards and take three new ones. If you can’t take new cards, shuffle the discard pile. There are two different kinds of advanced cards. Discard out of play cards tell you to discard the card you just used out of play. This card has a skull and crossbones icon on them. You only have to discard them if you use the secondary action. You can always use the card only for movement. Play to table cards are placed permanently on the table, these cards give you upgrades for the rest of the game, such as more movement for example.
If your ship lands on a merchant ship, you can choose to plunder it. You will get all the cargo of that ship and also draw a card from the merchant deck to put on your discard pile. Once a merchant ship has been plundered, any other player can’t plunder them again. You can also visit ports. When you visit a port or plunder a ship, you can’t move that ship anymore that round. If you land on a port, you may select one of the face up port cards or take the top card from the pile to add to your discard pile. As you take those cards, your deck will grow and you will be able to move your ship faster. If you have enough cargo to buy a treasure, you can also buy as many treasures as you can afford. Simply match the colors of the cargo boxes to the colors printed on the treasure tiles to claim them. Treasure tiles can give a lot of victory point which can determine the winner of the game in the end. If you are playing the advanced mode, you can move your ship to a port where your meeple is located and save your pirate. If you can afford to buy a treasure on the spot, your pirate will double the amount of victory points on that treasure. But if another player moves their ship on a port containing your meeple, they capture your pirate and they will be worth two victory points at the end of the game. If you can’t purchase a treasure while saving your pirate, you can still rescue them, but they will only be worth one victory point at the end of the game. If the last treasure tile is claimed, you can one time draw new tiles for the same amount of players.
The game ends if a ship reaches Trinidad, then the scoring will begin. The player who reached Trinidad first will get the most ending points and claim one treasure tile for free if there are any left. the player who is second on the track will also receive some points, but less, the third player even less and so on. If you have any cargo left, this will score you one half victory point per cargo box. The player with the most victory points wins the game.
Playtrough of the game.
We had a lot of fun playing Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates! and we know now why this game gets good scoring. It is an easy game to learn and to play, but you still have to think what move you are going to make to try and get the most victory points. All the cargo boxes are placed randomly, that means all the colors are scattered everywhere. You need to collect the right colors for the treasures so you need to think and choose what ships you want to plunder and what ports you want to visit. But you can’t slack off. If your opponent gets to the cargo first, you can’t claim it anymore which gives you less cargo to spend for treasures. We found it very fun to try and get the right balance between racing to the end, and stopping along the way to try and get the most recourses and meeples.
What we didn’t like was the length of the game. We both stopped quite a few times to collect resources and build our decks which naturally made the game longer. But because you do the same thing over and over again every turn, we were happy when we got to the end to score the points.
Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates! is a nice light game with a great theme. The quality of the meeples and components are really good and also the player board is well made. The player board is particularly big, but it lays nice flat on the table and doesn’t flip up at the edges. This would really set back the gameplay. If you like light racing games with a little strategic thinking, this is a nice game to add to the collection.