There be treasure waitin' for ye, arrrrrrrr! And there be enemies waitin' too! Pirate Versus Pirate is a game where players send their pirates out to collect coins and attack their opponents.
Pirate Versus Pirate is similar to Ninja Versus Ninja in that both give you six units, you roll four-sided dice to move, and combat is one of the two ways to win. (They're also both from Out of the Box Games and illustrated by John Kovalic.) The main differences, apart from the pirate theme, is that Pirate Versus Pirate can be played with two or three players, and both work equally well.
In Pirate Versus Pirate the players face off on a triangular board. In a two-player game each player's pirates start at their rowboat in two corners of the board, while the four treasures (three silver pieces, one gold piece) are in the third corner; with three players, each player gets a corner and the treasures are in the center of the board.
On a player's turn they roll the dice (two four-siders, with bones and skulls on them) and move one pirate that many spaces. Pirates have to move the full roll, they only move to adjacent triangles, they can't move onto a triangle more than once in a turn (no backtracking!), and they can't pass through other pirates. If a pirate can end their turn on the space of an opponent's pirate, the opponent's piece is removed from the game. You can win by being the last pirate standing.
You can also win with treasure! The first player to get two silver pieces, or the one gold piece, to their rowboat wins. However, this has its share of challenges. When a pirate moves on or over a space with a coin, that pirate picks up the coin. Once a pirate has a coin, though, it can't attack other pirates, collect other coins, or move onto a space with another coin. The pirate can drop it off at his side's rowboat -- but has to end their move on the rowboat space designated for that coin. And while a pirate can abandon a coin on the board, they have to do so at the start of their move -- and they can't get a new coin or attack another pirate during that turn.
I really like how Pirate Versus Pirate took the core mechanics of Ninja Versus Ninja and changed enough to make a very different game. Getting treasures is very challenging, from clearing a path to the rowboat to clearing a path to the gold coin (it always starts blocked by silver coins) to protecting the pirate with the treasure since they can't attack. There's skill in figuring out when to attack or when to go treasure hunting, and luck in the roll of the dice. Pirate Versus Pirate is pretty quick, easy to learn yet challenging too, and a lot of fun.
Ovarrrrrrrall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch