British vs Pirates - Exocrategames $65.00
Game title: British vs Pirates: Volume 1
Game description: British Vs Pirates is a miniature ship combat board game set during the golden age of piracy. Strategically sail your ship into favorable positions, play skill cards, roll dice and unleash hellish broadsides to send the enemy to the crushing depths! Be aware of your ship's strengths and weaknesses. Sail her correctly and you will be rewarded with victory. The faction with the last ship afloat wins!
British vs Pirates is a team vs team deathmatch wherein the winner is the team with the last ship still floating. A modular board is set up and each player chooses one or two ships and captains and places them on the outer edges of the board. Each ship and captain has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Skill cards are drawn and players take turns taking actions to move their ships and attack other players.
High quality miniatures and artwork
Good choices available each turn
Interesting and thematic skill cards
Somewhat reliant on luck and randomness
Difficult to make a comeback from behind
The components of British vs Pirates are quite impressive. With more than a dozen ships, and 80+ cards, there is a lot of design and artwork to be seen here. There are 6 different styles of ships, ranging from the small swift Sloops to the large floating fortress Line Ships. Each ship has intricate detail showing off the sails, cannon ports, and even the rigging. What’s more is that each base of the ship has a water texture on top and a unique design on each side. Having the large hex base on the ships really help to determine ship orientation during the game. The cards are split into 3 categories. Ship, Captain, and Skill cards. Each large Ship card has full beautiful artwork of the ship above, and a thematic background for the ships detailed information below. Both the Captain cards and the Skill cards use this same design as well. Information is easy to read on the cards, and each graphic fits the thematic description as well.
The default game mode, Annihilation, is a team vs team deathmatch wherein the winner is the team with the last ship still floating. Depending on the number of players, and the desired length of the game to be played, the board can be set up with three, five, or even nine tiles creating a modular playfield for the battle to take place. Each player then chooses one or two ships and captains and places them on the outer edges of the board. Each ship and captain has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and pairing them up appropriately can net even greater bonuses. Skill cards are then drawn and play begins.
At the start of each players turn, they will perform two preliminary actions, followed by two more actions for each ship they control. To start, they increase their crew moral by one (if possible), then draw up to their hand limit of three cards. Each ship can now take its two actions, either moving, or attacking. When moving, each ship type has a unique speed depending on the wind direction. Wind direction can be changed by players during the game, and is an important part of determining your strategy to outmaneuver the enemy ships.
For combat, you have the option to fire your broadside cannons, or board an adjacent ship. When firing your cannons, you shoot on both sides of your ship, and depending on your targets range, you roll up to three d12 dice in an attempt to beat their ships defenses. While boarding, each player rolls a single d12 die and add their crew moral to the result, high result wins the fight. For each of these actions (as well as movement) you have the option to play any number of cards you have in your hand. These cards can affect nearly every aspect of the game; wind direction, speed, damage, moral, etc.. Once each ship has taken its actions, the next player takes their turn and gameplay continues until one nation is sent to the depths of davey jones’ locker, and the other sails off into the sunset victorious!
An alternative game mode you can play is Merchant Escort. In this mode your goal is to get your Fluyt to the opposite side of the playfield before your opponent does. If your Fluyt is sunk, or your opponent escorts their ship first, you lose.
In addition to these two game modes there is also a Mission Book. There are 15 missions in all, but each mission is a continuation of the previous, depending on which nation won the battle. If the pirates win, you move on to one mission, while if the British win, you continue onto a different one. This creates a unique replayable campaign mode that can have up to eight different endings overall!
British vs Pirates is a fun strategic ship combat game. With a large variety of ships and captains to choose from, there will be many new interesting setups to try out. The variety of cards adds a lot to the choices made in the game, and can make every turn interesting. There are many options to choose from in the game; from ships, to captains to the board layout itself. Whether you’re running through the Mission Book, or just playing through a simple skirmish, no two games will be the same.
A copy of British vs Pirates: Volume 1 was provided free for review by Exocrategames
Brad Taylor has been an avid board gamer for over 20 years. Recently he has been involved in play testing board games, reviewing and editing rule books, and writing review and previews. In his spare time, he organizes a large local gaming group and is involved in board game related meetups and events.