As you can tell from my previous reviews of subQuark’s games (Mint Tin Mini Skulduggery, Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse and Mint Tin Aliens), I love mint tin games. The love and effort Kate Beckett and David René Miller put into every game makes them very special indeed, and Mint Tin Pirates is no exception of course. It offers lots of pirate fun in a small tin that you can easily take with you, that is easy to learn, quick to play and has a small footprint, so can be played virtually anywhere. I believe Mint Tin Pirates was subQuark’s first game, and it already showed that it is possible to squeeze a lot of fun into a small package, something that the whole line of subQuark games shares.
The game is a mix of set collection and dice rolling. On your turn you can discard and draw cards, trying to make pairs, which you then play to carry out attacks on your opponent. Most of these attacks throw an opponent’s pirate off their ship and into the sea, but you can also fire canons which deal damage to the opponent’s ship, and their ship will sink if it gets hit too often.
There are also cards that allow you to fish all pirates out of the sea and scoop them into your ship, irrespective of if they were your or your opponent’s crew. In fact, you can even swipe one of your opponent’s crew from their ship to yours. The bigger your crew, the longer you will survive in battle. After all, pirates are loyal and as soon as they are on your ship, they will do anything to avoid being thrown to the sharks.
Mind you, there is a bit of a consolation, because when your last pirate is thrown into the sea, your ship becomes a ghost ship. You take the ghost meeple and place it on deck, but unfortunately ghosts aren’t very good captains. From now on you have a reduced hand size, meaning it’s harder for you to get the pairs you need to attack your opponent, but at least you’re still in the game, even if it’s just as a ghost.
The twist comes with the dice though. Simply playing a pair of cards isn’t enough. Each ability has a different amount of difficulty attached to it. You roll two dice, add their results together and the total decides if you’re successful in your attack. So you’ll find that firing your canon is actually quite easy, while attacking with bombs is harder. So there is a lot of fun and excitement in the game which is created by the randomness of the cards and the dice rolling. You can try and build your hand to carry out attack after attack, but if the dice just don’t roll your way, then you will still lose.
There are a couple more rules, but as you can see, there isn’t much to the game. It’s very easy to learn and very quick to play as well. It takes very little room on the table, so you can have it with you when you go out and about. It’s also ideal as a quick filler game while you’re waiting for food in the pub or in a restaurant. The components are really good quality, as always. The cards are a lovely nice stock and feel lovely in your hand. The wooden meeples and damage counter cubes are small of course, so they can fit into the tin, but still look lovely on the table. The dice are also small, but roll nicely and make this game lovely and compact.
I can really recommend you taking a closer look at the game. It stood the test of time and really fits in with all the other games in the subQuark line-up. It is such much fun to play these games and they’re great for anyone, irrespective of how much experience they have with modern tabletop games. So take a look yourself and see if it is for you.
Let me finish by saying that I was sent a copy of Mint Tin Pirates free of charge by subQuark, but that doesn’t mean this is a sponsored review. What I have written is my personal opinion and not influenced by being sent this game for free. Now that you know, you can, of course, make up your own mind.
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