16 December 2015
Piracy, trading and treasure in the 18th century
Space Cowboys | Pickup and deliver | £43.99 | 3-4 players | 60 minutes | www.spacecowboys.fr
Black Fleet is a game of piracy, trading, and treasure, set in the early 18th century “Golden Age” of pirates. It has amazing components: wonderfully detailed little plastic ships, real metal doubloons, and a huge and colourful board, showing the Caribbean sea split up into small spaces, punctuated by desert islands.
Players each receive a pirate ship and a merchant ship, which can carry up to three small wooden cubes representing trading goods. Players also get a set of four “development cards”, and one “victory card “. Each has a cost in doubloons: buying a development card gives you its special power, such as the ability to move ships further; buying the victory card (which can only be bought after all the development cards) is how you win the game.
Each player’s merchant ship starts next to one of the five ports on the board, and loads up with three of the goods that the port sells. Players draw a hand of two movement cards and on their turn, play one. The card enables the player to move three ships across the spaces on the board: his own merchant and pirate ships, and one of two navy ships that are controlled by all players. Moving a pirate ship next to another player’s merchant means you earn doubloons, can steal a good to bury as treasure later (for more doubloons!), and maybe sink the merchant; moving a navy ship next to a pirate sinks that pirate and earns doubloons; and if a merchant can make it to a port with one or more goods, they too can be sold for doubloons.
Players can also acquire and play Fortune cards, which, like the development cards, give special powers. With lots of interaction, this is a good, solid, family game. (Beresford Quimby)
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