The Meeple’s Eye View is an in depth review of one of the many games in our board game library.
As a famous pirate you have enjoyed sailing the seven seas, plundering where you pleased and amassing a great stockpile of stolen wealth. All you want to do is retire on your own private island so you can enjoy your wealth. But a pirate’s life is not a kind one, and some of your fellow pirates are looking to retire as well…
Number of Players: 2-6
Game Time: 45 min
Age Appropriateness: 14 and up
Game Type: Card Game, Simultaneous Action Selection
Game Play: Libertalia offers players the chance to amass a fortune as a pirate captain. With the help of your crew, your goal is to plunder a fortune large enough to retire on.
It will take all of your cunning to best your fellow pirate captains. By playing the right card at the right time, you can secure your victory!
Each player choses a color and takes the corresponding Pirate Den, Score Token, Crew Marker Card, and deck of 30 Character Cards. Each Character Card is individually numbered and has a special ability. During the first round of play, each player will start the game with the same nine cards as every other player. One player will draw treasure tiles randomly from the bag and place them on the board according to the number of players.
The game takes place over three campaigns, and each campaign is divided into six rounds. During a round, each player will choose one of their cards to play and put it face down. Each player then reveals their card, and places it in ascending order on the game board with the other players’ cards. Each card’s special ability is resolved in ascending order. After resolving this phase, each player – in descending order – must take one treasure token and add it to their den. Finally, during the night phase, each player takes their character card and adds it to their den. It is worth noting that some character card’s special abilities trigger during this phase.
After six rounds the players enter an intermediate scoring phase and tally up their doubloons, move their score marker, and return any character cards from their den or discard pile. Each player will still have three cards that they did not use from the previous round which are kept and can be used in later rounds. This means that you can save cards between campaigns to be used later. Players are now ready to start the second campaign. After three campaigns are completed, players tally up their final score and whoever has the most doubloons at the end of the game retires with the most wealth and is the winner!
Component Quality: Libertalia is a pirate game dripping with theme. It features high quality cards with fantastic pirate inspired art and witty pirate quips. The cardboard tokens are of high quality and are very durable. The game board and scoreboard are of the same high quality as the cardboard tokens. Libertalia also includes a full color rulebook. The only component that concerns me are the pirate dens which are printed on thin cardstock and could bend if not treated with care.
My Take: If you are looking for a pirate game to fill in that hole in your library, look no further! Libertalia is easy to explain and plays quickly. In fact, all of the times we have played Libertalia we inevitably play multiple games. It is that fast and fun! I enjoy deciding which of my nine cards is going to be the best in a given situation. Playing the right card at the right time can completely thwart someone else’s turn. Which is terrible for them, but hey, you’re a pirate right?
Each round you must spend carefully plotting your turn and considering which card to play now and which card to hold on to for a later round. At the same time you have to consider what everyone else will be playing and plan accordingly. Each of the character cards interact differently with the others, which invites new and interesting strategies. This is my favorite pirate themed game – I can’t stress this enough!
Expansions and Replay-ability: There are currently no expansions to Libertalia, which doesn’t bother me. One of the things that draws me to any game is its replay value. This is something that Libertalia definitely has pinned down! You will only ever see 21 of the 30 cards in your deck each time you play and you will never see them in the same order. This is one game that I will always play and often suggest!
Karington Hess is a lifelong gamer whose passions for hospitality and all things game-related led him to Ravenwood Castle, where he served as an Innkeeper before joining The Malted Meeple. When not pouring beers, crafting milkshakes, or teaching boardgames, Karington can be found behind the DM’s screen, weaving intricate stories for his fellow gamers.