Rainbow Pirates? Ah-harr mi hearties! Did ye be lookin fer a card game that combines sea fairing buccaneers who love bubble baths, vibrantly coloured kittens and their moms? Then halt ye search of the briny deep yer landlubbers for here be the loot ye seek!
Rainbow pirates has, in my opinion an adorable an eye catching theme, the artwork is super cute and I always love the contrast of vivid rainbows against a black background.
A game for 2 – 5 players we often play this as a family on a gloomy afternoon as it’s quick to pick up and easy for the younger kids to get to grips with.
Shiver me rainbows!
Rainbow pirates is made up of 120 cards, some in rainbow colours, each colour is assigned to a number and these cards are primarily used for scoring points by placing them in your island. Then there are the black cards which feature a surly bunch of pirates or pirate paraphernalia which are used to try and thwart your opponents well laid plans! The game ends when either the draw cards run out or one player ‘goes out’ then the player with the most treasure points on their island wins!
This game has fairly simple play structure, on your turn you can do one of 3 things you can either play cards into your island, rearrange any existing cards in your island or play a pirate card to do something dastardly. You may only play cards from your hand and cannot use cards already on your island.
In the middle of the table you place the draw pile, which consists of a pile of face down cards and two face up cards which everyone can see.
To play cards onto your island you need to have them in groups or runs of at least 3. So either three or more of a kind (this can even include 3 black pirate cards but remember once they are on your island you cannot use their skills) or 3+ consecutive numbers. All cards are worth 1 point, the only exception to this is the rainbow pirate which can be played on its own and is also worth 5 points.
To rearrange cards already in your island, you simply move them to make whichever runs or groups you see fit, picking up to your hand any cards not left in a group of 3 or more. For example if you had a run of 3,4,5 and three 6s you could add one six to the 3,4,5 but then would need to pick up the 2 remaining 6s into your hand.
If you choose to play a pirate card you get to complete whatever action is on the card. These can be anything from stealing a card from other players to trashing a card on another’s island or simply bringing back a card from the discard pile – sneaky! The small glimmer of hope versus the pirate cards is that they can be bribed with their favourite thing which are featured on the various coloured cards. For instance the island thief wants to steal a card from an opponent’s island, but he loves his mom so can be blocked if another player can play the red mom card from their hand. The cannon operator can’t resist the kitten on the orange card, and the ship loves a bit of the glitter rain that’s featured on the purple card etc.
You always end your turn by drawing two cards into your hand, these are either two from the face down pile or the two face up cards.
Plundering, Loot & Doubloons
Quite simply you now play to have as many treasure points on your island by the end of the game, which can end in one of two ways. Rainbow pirates can either end by any player ‘going out’ or when the draw pile runs out. For a player to go out they must have 2 full consecutive rainbows in their island (hence the need for rearranging) but also get rid of all other remaining cards in their hand, if they manage this the game ends and they get 5 extra treasure points, but that doesn’t guarantee a win.
Theres a few extra little rules, such as you must play rainbow pirates and any groups/runs you have as soon as you are able. Also the 3 actions you can complete on your turn (play cards to your island, rearrange, play pirates) you can do as many times as you like in whatever order you wish. And my personal favourite, you need to give a big ole defeated pirate ‘ARRGGHHH’ when someone plays a pirate card against you and it isn’t blocked.
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
Rainbow pirates is quick light hearted family fun, but there is some need for clarification on some rules such as whether or not you can play a pirate card to empty your hand, but knowing it won’t work against that player (for instance to steal from another player who holds no cards)
Also with players being able to play any of the 3 actions on their turn as many times as they like, your often left reaching for the rum while you wait for their turn to finish! Often if a player falls lucky on cards they can get into a long and laborious loop of playing, rearranging, stealing etc etc, quickly putting them far ahead while others watch on losing interest. It was obvious after just a few play throughs that the game would flow much better if you were limited to the actions you could complete, for instance once you have rearranged your cards I don’t believe you should be allowed to play any more from your hand into you island that turn. I also think there should be a maximum number of pirate cards played anyone turn too. It may also benefit from a few extra pirate cards that could disrupt the other player’s islands.
Overall this is a nice looking game to have in your stash, it’s more or a family time game than a games night vibe and with a few house rules as I mentioned above it can play much smoother. It’s very much luck based on the draw of the cards, so not an awful lot of skill involved but it’s a lovely vibrant theme to get the kids interested and who can resist pirates who love bubbles!