Port Royal Review - Casual Piratey Goodness
- Game Type – Card Game, Family Game
- Number of Players – 2-5
- Mechanics – Card drafting, Press Your Luck, Tableau Building
- Difficulty – Easy
- Release – 2014 (AKA Händler der Karibik
- MSRP - $19.99
Port Royal a colonial era pirate themed game which was voted Family Game of the Year in 2015 in an Austrian Competition is a Press Your Luck card game that is easy to learn, has a lot of replay value, and is fairly quick to play.
The 120 card deck all have a coin on the back and unflipped cards serve as the currency in the game, and your job is to get coins to buy crew with the goal of being the first to get 12 influence points by getting better crew or by getting sufficient crew to claim Expedition bonus cards. A turn consists of turning over cards until you find one that you like but if you reveal two ships of the same flag your turn is busted, hence the Push Your Luck element. You want to build up your means to make money to buy crew, and you want crew to get you moving toward your influence point end game that grant you various bonuses to help you on the way. Once you choose a card, the remaining cards are made available to the other players in order but they have to pay the person whose turn it is a coin in order to buy them. So pressing your luck can also get you more money because you may draw a card someone else wants enough to give you money for it.
The rulebook is straightforward and made in full color with decent durability paper. You will need to use it regularly as many of the crew skills are more clearly explained there, after you play a couple times you will likely remember them though.
You can't really go wrong with pirates. The theme isn't particularly deep, but with a casual family game it might be weird if they got deep into pirate lore.
Open the box, shuffle the cards, go. Clean up is equally simple. Although since you play with both sides of the cards you might need to flip some back around when shuffling.
Just cards. I actually love the simplicity of having the card back serving as currency. It is a small box game so easily fits on the shelf, and can be stored sideways like a book without messing anything up inside the box.
Another great casual/family game from Steve Jackson games. It is very affordable and can easily be brought out with the family and taught with a single play through with enough variety that you can play it repeatedly with different results. It would serve as a decent palette cleanser between more serious games on a game night, although the games are a little longer than most filler games. For the price it is a solid addition to your collection.