When Bermuda Pirates arrived I was secretly excited. Yes, it looks like a family game and not my usual more hobby affair, but it has magnets. Magnets! Why don't more game use magnets? We all know they are basically magic right? Want more magic in your board games? Add magnets!
Of course, magnets alone a game do not maketh, so let's see what treasure we can discover inside the box.
Opening the box you find one main board with four smaller boards underneath. Whip these out and you will be pleasantly surprised to find that the components underneath are of good quality. Plastic boats and buoys of the four colours, some plastic flags and crystals. This is all arranged in a pleasing insert that holds everything in place. The last piece is a plastic piece that holds the magic magnetic boards together.
Both the boats and the four separate boards contain magnets. The four boards all have these scattered randomly throughout them and holes in all the corners. You spin them around randomly and that push the plastic 'holding' piece through the four holes that meet in the middle. Then the board is laid on top of this and the flags clip into through holes in the main board to hold it all together. Place the matching crystals next to the flags of the same colour and you are all set.
This set up is all the central island and players will take their boat and buoys of their chosen colour and place the boat on one of the corners ready to go get some treasure. The boats are shaped so that they look like that are doing wheelies, but this raised front end contains a magnet. The back of the boat is a curved indent perfect for a finger. Which is handy as you will manoeuvre the boat by pushing it with your chosen finger from that indent.
Starting at your corner you must push your boat to one of the flags collect the same colour crystal and get all the way back to the corner. Of course you can't push over any of the pictured obstacles and you may hit a magnet on the way. If either of these things happen you return your boat to the corner. Whatever happens you always end up at your corner.
If you hit a magnet your ship flips forward and you must return to your corner. Any treasure in your hold will fly off after this! If it lands on the board it stays there but otherwise returns to it's flag. Treasure on the board can be picked up even if you already have treasure in your hold!
Buoys will be Buoys
As a last action you can place one of your buoys anywhere on the board, either as a reminder of a magnet location or to trick an opponent. As the board fills up with buoys and crystals, you will be trying to navigating a increasingly busy board while trying to remember where all the magnets are.
You are aiming to be the first to collect one crystal of each colour back to your corner. This means visiting each side of the island or risking a trip to the open seas. Your first push is full of misplaced optimism as the open board with its central space full of gems calls to you. Unless you're incredibly lucky this will shortly end in a magnetic collision. Then the choice is left about whether to place one of your buoys or not.
For those who want more piratey stuff going on you can play an advanced scoring where you are playing for points and can steal crystals from the other players islands.
Eat My Bermuda Shorts
If it isn't clear by now Bermuda Pirates is firmly in the family game category, but it's another brilliant example of one. Combining a tad of memory, a little dexterity, and some luck into a quick playing experience and more importantly a lot of fun. The components are well made and the way you set up the board ensures the magnetic spots will be in different places each time, although I do worry about wear and tear on the holes in the boards. Hopefully the bottom unseen board will take the brunt of this.
For children (and adults) who find frustration difficult the game will be a challenge. It can be infuriating to see other players succeed while you keep hitting the magnets you thought you remembered! The advanced variant gives you a bit more to think about but is also meaning so that's worth bearing in mind too.
Ultimately this is a good use of magnets in a well priced package that will provide a lot of fun for families. The whole package feels exciting to open up and play, and doesn't outstay it's welcome. The memory aspect is great for a mental workout and it can be a challenge to remember the placements especially those nearer the other players.
Bermuda Pirates Bottom Line
This is a great time to be a gamer. Games like Bermuda Pirates and Kraken Attack are attractive to all families and pave the way to bigger game experiences while not losing their own attraction. If you want to play games with your family then you won't regret buying this one.