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Top 5 Pirate Games

tiny epic pirates in action

Tiny Epic Pirates by Gamelyn Games

If you want a conflict game where you can attack your friends, steal their loot and bury treasure all whilst upgrading your ship/crew and slugging on some rum, then this may be the pirate game for you. First pirate to bury 3 treasures across the randomly generated map wins. Sounds easy, well it is not when every else is out to do the same thing, your friends can fight you to steal your booty/ruin your plans and your actions are all taken in a randomly generated order too. A little complex to learn but a great game and pirate experience.

Forgotten Waters by Plaid Hat Games

If you want a game that is full of theme, charm and a great sense of humour then this is the game for you. It is normally for 3-6 players, but there is a very good 2 player variant also. Each player looks after a certain part of the ship, has their own character story arc and the app has excellent voice acting to keep you engrossed all the way through. Each adventure can last up to 3 hours but, there is always a chance to save your progress half-way through a level. An absolutely fantastic pirating experience and a very funny game too!!

Ruthless by Alley Cat Games

Here is a simple card game about building your own pirate crew, burying treasure and outwitting your fellow captains in what can be a very confrontational and sometimes ‘ruthless’ game. The gameplay is pretty simple to pick up, there are 5 rounds and each round the players do 2 actions; play a card (usually in order to get income or bury another card) and then buy a card. The cards you play and buy are used for scoring at the end of each round based on a poker style system. So much fun, easy to pick up and always a tightly fought contest.

Dead Men Tell no Tales by Renegade Games (previously Minion Games)

If you want a challenging and super exciting game, then this may be the one for you. Such an amazing and pirate-laden ride. The players are working cooperatively in order to board a ship that is on fire and under attack by a crew of undead pirates. You need to get on the ship, steal as much treasure as you can, try not to blow up/catch fire along the way and then escape with your haul. There is some very tough decisions along the way, that game can be very hard to win and the fire keeps things interesting. There is also an excellent expansion involving a kraken coming to make your life even harder and a set of minis that you can buy for the pirates if that’s your bag (I have them and they are very nice).

Jamaica by Space Cowboys

This is the game that I use the most to introduce people to the board game hobby if they are not used to playing board games. It is super easy to play, is always a fun time and involves plenty of simple but satisfying decisions. Take the short route and get closer to the end of the race or go the longer way round and potentially pick up some treasure that will most probably increase your chances of winning. Each turn a player rolls 2 dice and the player who rolls gets to decide which one is the day dice and which one is the night dice.

Each card in the players hands has a symbol on the left and the symbol on the right (day and night) and the players get what is rolled on the dice of that symbol. The only 4 symbols possible are move your ship (green arrow for forward or red arrow for backwards), food, gold and cannons. When somebody reaches the end of the race, and makes it back to the starting point, then the game is over and points are scored from your finishing position, plus any gold on treasure cards and then plus one point for each gold on your ship. The player with the most points wins. It’s a fantastic game for all board gamers; new and old alike.

Special Mentions

Maracaibo – This game is one that I have the inserts for and have not really played much of yet but, I think it is a fantastic game and with more plays I can see this climbing my list in the near future so I added it just for that reason. It is fun from what I have played but, I still don’t know it well enough.

Celestia – This is one of my favourite games, but it does not really involve pirates in the conventional way as it is set across floating islands where players are sky captains that control the ship on it’s expeditions. Players push their luck and stay on the ship or leave and take points from the island they have made it to. Each captain must be able to play the symbols that they roll on dice, increasing in number the further you go. If they do all players on the ship move on but, if they cannot then the ship crashes. It is a fantastic quick and fun game that everyone I have played it with has fallen in love with, at least 3 people I have played with have immediately bought a copy for themselves.

Merchants & Marauders – this is the game that most other board games mention to me when I talk to them about best pirate themed board games. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to play this yet, but from videos I have watched and reviews I have read it seems like another excellent pirate game."