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28 September 2021
Gamelyn

Meeple V Meeple Pirate Review

Tiny Epic Pirates offers all you want from a pirate game in a tiny box. You spend your turns dividing your actions between recruiting a motley crew; exploring uncharted seas; attacking merchant ships (and other pirates!); plundering towns and selling loot. Your aim: to earn so much gold that you can bury it in a sand dune! Hur-arrr!


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There is a lot stuffed in the box: a full-size 16-card randomized gameboard, seven plastic ships, custom pirate and deckhand mini-meeples (complete with pirate hats and bandanas!) a deck of crew cards, some cute mini-cannons, and some gold doubloons!

The game is equally well packed with excellent ideas. For each player, the available actions (explore, plunder, trade, fight and recruit) are set out at random in a wheel. Playing the next action in order is free but later orders require you to deploy a deckhand meeple to each order you’ve skipped, locking them out of play until the next time around the wheel. As deckhands can also boost speed, damage, and generate gold taking them off these tasks is a tactical choice.

There is a lot stuffed in the box: a full-size 16-card randomised gameboard, seven plastic ships, custom pirate and deckhand mini-meeples (complete with pirate hats and bandanas!) a deck of crew cards, some cute mini-cannons and some gold doubloons!

The game is equally well packed with excellent ideas. For each player, the available actions (explore, plunder, trade, fight and recruit) are set out at random in a wheel. Playing the next action in order is free but later orders require you to deploy a deckhand meeple to each order you’ve skipped, locking them out of play until the next time around the wheel. As deckhands can also boost speed, damage and generate gold taking them off these tasks is a tactical choice.

They are also “jostled” off tasks by moving into stormy seas or being hit by enemy cannons. The mechanic works really well. Combat is also handled neatly. On attacking you roll dice and score a hit for each roll that matches a number on your captain or crew. If you get more hits you win, can level up and get any merchant booty. Any player losing a fight is rewarded with a “sure fire” cannon in compensation. These allow you to pick the number on one dice. This is interesting too: having repeated numbers on your crew is generally risky but with sure fire tokens those repeat numbers become very powerful! Crew recruit choice is critical as they also provide bonus actions. These occur after specific standard actions and often provide powerful boosts of move, actions or gold.

Tiny Epic Pirates is a teeny tiny treasure trove of swashbuckler fun that far surpasses punches well above its tiny size in terms of scope, tactics and feel. Most excellently Epic indeed!!

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