Swashbuckled! is a game about pirates. Produced by Fun-at-Home Games based in Orem, Utah, this is a self-published game by a local designer. Overall, it's an average game and mainly consists of rolling dice and moving a pirate ship around a board. There are some interesting game mechanics, but the game play can drag on.
To kick things off, players lay out a large game board depicting a map of the world. Everybody begins with 10,000 pounds, a wooden pirate ship with colored sails and two wooden lighthouses. The object of the game is to be the first pirate to earn 100,000 pounds and sail back to port.
To earn money, players must deliver goods to ports around the world. First a player begins at a random port and draws a cargo card that features a commodity such as gold, spices or diamonds. The player then randomly determines where the cargo must be delivered on the board. The player then attempts to deliver the cargo. Upon completion, the player is paid depending on what cargo was delivered and how far the cargo had to travel. The longer the journey, the more money a player gets paid.
The typical turn involves rolling dice and moving your ship. However there are some interesting rules that spice up the game. For example, a cargo card may secretly indicate that you are a pirate, which gives you permission to attack other players and steal their cargo. Pirates can also look for Treasure Island where 50,000 pounds worth of treasure awaits.
Another game factor is a deck of world event cards. Each time a player enters port, the player draws a world event card, which limits movement through random zones on the board because of whirlpools, typhoons or war. Pirate cards give special advantages to players who draw them and give clues to the location of Treasure Island.
The game is easy to learn and has colorful wooden components. There is a fair amount of bookkeeping to tally up cargo expenses and delivery commissions. The game often gets repetitive when rolling and moving, so it's nice when random events come in.
I would recommend this game for adults and teenagers who don't play a lot of board games. It's a good starter game. The designer, Dick Bennett, actually created it to give his kids something to do instead of playing video games. Visit the website at swashbuckled.net.
Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.