Every Christmas we have an evening that we gather together with family and friends - this year I wanted to bring back a bit of nostalgia and decided to buy a couple of board games. My youngest daughter is a very traditional holiday person, she loves the togetherness of the Christmas season and finds it important to dictate that no one be allowed to sit on a computer for Christmas Eve. This year we purchased a number of things that would keep everyone off their computers and the Game of Life Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest was one of them.
This game is a lot of fun and it is playable by 2 to 6 players. The premise of the game is to be the Pirate who completes the voyage across the board and reaches the end of the game while having acquired loot, treasures and ships and who has the most at the end of the game.
Ideally you wish to be able to obtain the Captain Jack Sparrow card as he gets paid the highest "salary" ( I was him last evening) and you also wish to obtain the Black Pearl ship as this ship is the most expensive and thus is worth more to boost your final worth at the end of the game when the winner is determined.
The game play was about an hour and a half long - but frankly a lot of that was silliness - playing any kind of board game with my family is usually filled with a lot of laughter and goofiness and last evening was no exception.
The game comes with ships, Life Cards, Ship cards, Captain cards, enough money to make any Captain rich, and a number of Life tokens which carry a dollar value and which you try to collect throughout the game to increase your worth. There are also cards called "Pieces of Eight" and when you collect these if you also have the Life Tokens that match them, this doubles their dollar value. You can also obtain Life tokens from players throughout the game and can score anywhere from 1 to 4 but there are a few chances for you to gain extra tokens if you are a particular Captain as well and the cards tell you whether or not this is possible.
As you move around the board you can lose at poker, have ship repairs, be taken captive and have to pay fines to either the Treasurer or to another player. I spent most of the night paying ;) but you can also Raid other players - by spinning the dial to determine whether or not you can beat the player you've chosen to Raid. If your number on the dial is higher than your opponents after you have combined the Combat battle value of your particular ship (values are from 1 to 4 - the Black Pearl being the highest combat value), the opponent then spins to try and beat you. If he doesn't beat your spin value then you spin the dial again to determine the amount of money the opponent owes you - which can be any value from $100 to $1000. I lost this one every single time! If the opponent does beat your spin value however; you receive no money and the opponent has won the Raid and doesn't lose any money.
In the end you add up all of your cash on hand, your token values, your ship value and whomever has the most money total wins the game.
Overall, this was a great game and I think we will end up playing it fairly frequently. Everyone enjoyed themselves a good deal and given that this game was more than half the original price, it was a winner all the way around! Only a few issues with this particular game but they were nothing that made it unplayable by any means - the spinner is meant to be clipped into the board so that it doesn't move when spinning however the game we have, the clips didn't want to stay seated and the dial which you spin had to be held down on one end otherwise the spinner would easily pop out of it's anchor and the spin would not complete properly - again a problem only I seemed to have, which of course everyone found truly hilarious! Other than that though the game was well put together and was very enjoyable.
This evening we'll be trying to play the newest version of Life - the electronic version that is equipped with Visa cards and electronic spinner - called Life Twists and Turns - I'll review it once we've given that one a go.