One Board Family: The Pirate's Flag Review
Steer your ship into uncharted waters as you race to become the first to nab the Dread Pirate’s flag. But wait! The game doesn’t end here. Can you be the first to deliver the flag to the Dread Sea? In The Pirate’s Flag, your opponents will do everything in their power to take it away from you. Happy sailing!
Capture the Flag
The Pirate’s Flag from CardLords is a capture the flag style game with some really great production value. Players choose a ship and are assigned a captain at the beginning of the game. While players are racing to retrieve the pirate’s flag, the majority of the action will take place after the flag is retrieved. After the flag is retrieved at the edge of the board, the game challenges players by reducing ships movement from two dice down to one die.
In this hobby, the term “roll and move” can seem like dirty words. It brings back the thoughts of games with simple mechanics where you hoped to land on the right space to win. The Pirate’s Flag uses the roll and move mechanic with lots of ways to mitigate die rolls and change the outcome of your turn.
Each player can hold a total of five cards which can help you move further, nab the flag from another ship, change die rolls and even pull another ship toward you. I was really blown away at how each of these cards had a unique purpose as the game went on. Players can only play 1 card per turn unless the card has a red captains wheel on it. Players can also play cards as a response to disable or nullify an opponents card, so choose wisely.
After grabbing the flag at the end of the map, players sail back to the starting point to claim victory. During this part of the game, players will do anything in their power to grab that flag. When you pull into the same space as the flag holding player, you can battle them by each player rolling a single die. You may say, “so you just have to luck out on in stealing the flag?” Nope!
This is where managing your cards is so important. Having the right card to add +2 to your roll or taking away points from an opponents roll is critical. Players can even change what space they are on by playing a card before the battle rolls are made. The winning player takes control or retains control of the flag.
The Pirate’s Flag is a great family game. The game has been an excellent fit for the kids and adults. The artwork on the cards are fantastic and impress me every time we play. There are six pirate ship tokens are all different plastic molds and each have a small hole to hold the pirate’s flag.
With the great production that CardLords put into The Pirate’s Flag, it was a little disappointing to see such basic dice included with the game. It would have been so fitting to have themed dice with a skull in the one spot or even a rustic finish on the included dice.
Cards are really valuable during the game and you’ll only gain a new card by passing a dock which are represented by yellow lines on the board. Players also have access to a single use special ability based on which captain they have. It’s rare to feel helpless because there are so many card options in the game. Watch out because playing all your cards might mean that you are at the mercy of the die rolls.
The Pirate’s Flag becomes a very competitive game once the flag is retrieved. We’ve played this game at 3, 4, 5 and 6 players and have enjoyed it at each player count. Your higher player counts get more chaotic which is great with the right players. Everyone at the table is gunning for the player carrying the flag.
This is an excellent fit for families looking for a game with light strategy and lots of card options. Since some cards have a decent amount of text on them, kids under 9 may need a little help from time to time. For us, The Pirate’s Flag was a big hit and a game that will definitely see lots of play with our family and friends.
Card Lords provided us with a retail copy of The Pirate’s Flag for this review. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game.
Simple mechanics with lots of card options
Game components are top-notch from the illustrations to the ship tokens
Cards do an excellent job of offsetting bad die rolls
Games can feel like it’s a battle of who has better cards
Dull and basic dice lack the polish of the rest of the game