Take a look below for our list of pirate themed board games to help celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day! (Or any time you feel like sailing the seven seas for some pirate-y action!)
The Settlers of Catan, now referred to simply as Catan, has been credited with being responsible for the board game boom in recent years. It is certainly a fan favorite of many gaming groups across the world, but it is very difficult in places for the younger set.
Fortunately, Catan Jr. fixes all of that by providing a very similar gameplay experience while eliminating the trading aspects of the game and using a fixed board as opposed to movable tiles. This allows kids to develop and refine their own strategies.
It also doesn’t help that the game is given a pirate theme which is much easier for children to understand and identify with.
Loot is a card based strategy game where players set sail for adventure and control fleets of pirate ships as they compete to grab the most treasure. It is a simple game that is super inexpensive and packs a lot of punch. We especially like the fact that it includes rules for team play to help broaden the possible game experiences.
What happens when you combine the card matching familiarity of Uno with the chaotic, ever shifting rules of Fluxx? Piña Pirata!!
In Piña Pirata, players control a hand of cards containing one or two anthropomorphic pirate-animals. Each card is played into a central pile, with the basic rule being that you must play a card with a pirate-animal that matches one of the ones on the previous card. If you cannot play a card, you draw a new one. The first player to play all their cards wins the round.
The twist? The game starts with two “extra” rules, randomly drawn from a set of tiles. Each round, the winner draws two more tiles and selects one rule to add (the other they keep for scoring). The game continues to get more and more chaotic as rules are added that modify gameplay, give certain cards special powers, and make each game feel different and unique.
If you want a game that allows you to play the part of pirates, the merchants they raid, and the naval ships that hunt them, all at the same time, look no further than Black Fleet.
Black Fleet is an incredibly family-friendly game of “pick up and deliver”, with a whole bunch of “take that” thrown in. Players use cards from their hand that designate their movement values for three different ships – their large merchant ships, their smaller pirate raiders, and then the neutral Imperial Navy ships. Each player is trying to acquire gold by picking up goods with their merchant and delivering them elsewhere on the board, stealing goods from other player’s merchants with their pirates, and sinking pirates with the Navy ships.
As players acquire gold, they are able to spend it to “buy” one of their unique player powers, and once all their powers are purchased, trigger the end-game condition. These variable player powers can drastically change the strategy that each player may use from one game to the next and lead to tons of replayability in the game.
Walk the Plank
Walk the Plank is a programmed-movement/action-selection game that plays in about 20-30 minutes. Players are trying to shove their opponents meeples down the “plank” and into the water where they will be consumed by a cartoonish sea monster, while simultaneously trying to keep their own group of pirates out of harm’s way.
Players select three action cards from their deck, place them face down, and then go around the table revealing and resolving the actions one at a time (each player resolves card #1 in order, then card #2, etc). Chaotic fun ensues, as players are suddenly not where they intended when their next action comes up, but are still forced to execute on it. This is a fantastic filler game for any game night.