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The latest entry into the category of games that can fit into your pocket is Dice of Pirates by Thing 12 Games, a sequel of sorts to their game Dice of Crowns. The proposition is simple: roll seven dice, hope for the best outcome, and make intelligent choices with whatever you happen to get.

Dice of Pirates comes with seven dice. Each six-sided die has two mutiny ship faces, two black flag faces (representing an attack), one Kraken, and one gold. You begin your turn by rolling all of the dice available to you. Certain combinations can end your turn immediately—three Kraken (however you may end up with them) means your turn is over and you gain nothing. Conversely, three gold means that you can claim a gold token which represents a point towards victory.

When a mutiny ship is rolled, that die must be passed to another player. If that other player rolls a ship or skull, the die returns to you. If they roll a Kraken, they can place that on any other player and it remains there until that player’s turn ends. If they roll a gold, they can change it to any face and give it back to the original player. Giving back a gold-faced die awards a plunder token to the player who handed the die back.

The black flag allows the initiation of combat. All dice with a black flag on them are used in a sub-roll, each die representing a ship in an attacking fleet. A Kraken means that ship is sunk and is not rolled again. A gold means that you could steal one gold from the player you are attacking. A black flag acts as a “roll again” option, and a ship is passed to the other player who can now use it to roll defensively under the same rules. Once all of the attack dice are locked in, the gold is evened out: if you rolled two gold and your opponent rolled one gold, you would net one gold. The aforementioned plunder tokens can be used either offensively or defensively to swing the odds in your favor.

Play continues until one player reaches enough gold tokens to be declared the winner. In essence, Dice of PIrates is an upgrade to Dice of Crowns along with a shift in theme from a medieval setting to a pirate setting. If you still don’t quite grasp the rules, Thing 12 Games has a video of the game designer explaining just exactly how it works in around five minutes:

Pledging $1 to the Dice of Pirates crowdfunding campaign nets you no rewards but allows you to support the project. A $5 pledge gives you access to a print & play version of the game (which includes 3D printer files for dice, sticker templates to be used with blank dice, and an instruction PDF) along with all other digital rewards. Everything else involves physical rewards which will incur shipping charges beyond the intiial pledge. $10 (+$5 shipping to the USA, $8 shipping to everywhere else except Russia & Brazil) will get you a single copy of the game at 33% off of the retail price along with all stretch goals. $25 (+$8 USA shipping, $14 shipping to everywhere else except Russia & Brazil) will add a copy of Dice of Crowns as a reward. Alternatively, you could pledge $30 (+$10 USA shipping, $16 shipping to everywhere else except Russia & Brazil) and get three copies of Dice of Pirates to hand out to friends.

At the $75 (+$15 USA shipping, +$24 shipping to everywhere else except Russia & Brazil) “The Lookout” pledge level, you’ll get a 3D printed prototype of the game before the final product is released to other backers. Of course, you’ll also get a retail copy of the game once the manufacturing is finished. A large 3D printed ship is included with this tier, and 3D printer afficinados can also make use of the included 3D printer files for the dice. Only one of this tier remains at the time of writing, so if this interests you, you had better snap it up quickly. Lastly, retailers can get a dozen copies of the game for $90 (+$15 USA shipping, +$24 shipping to everywhere else except Russia & Brazil), but they must provide proof that they are a retail establishment to Thing 12 Games.

Add-ons are also available. If you’d like to get a nifty playmat for the game, you can get one by adding $15 to your pledge plus an additional shipping cost (to be calculated later). You can also add a copy of Dice of Crowns to your order by upping your pledge by $15.

Dice of Pirates Contents

This is everything that will be in the tin of Dice of Pirates.

The $10,500 stretch goal (which adds a plastic pirate ship to every copy of the game), the $14,000 stretch goal (which upgrades the dice to 16mm silkscreened dice), and the $18,000 stretch goal (which upgrades the dice to engraved dice) have already been unlocked. If the campaign hits $24,000, the tokens will be upgraded to engraved resin tokens. Lastly, $30,000 is a mysterious “Plunder the Crown” stretch goal with no real details behind it. More stretch goals may appear if the campaign breaks past these last two goals.

This is the third Kickstarter campaign being run by Thing 12 Games; their first two were successfully funded. Their previous campaign had a shipping success rate of 98%, a number that they seek to improve. Thing 12 Games will be partnering with fulfillment companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom to facilitate shipping in those regions. Ultimately, they hope to minimize delays and have the whole process go much smoother.

Dice of Pirates is a simple dice game that can fit in your pocket and be played in about 15-30 minutes. If this sounds like the sort of game you’d love to get your hands on, swing on over to their Kickstarter campaign and make a pledge. The Kickstarter campaign for Dice of Pirates ends on Monday, October 23, 2017, at 11:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

What do you think of Dice of Pirates? Do you like games that are mechanically simple or do you prefer a more complex experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!

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