What is Libertalia, Who makes it?Libertalia is a pirate themed board game for 2 - 6 players. Play proceeds over 3 cruises (rounds) with each cruise broken down into 3 day/night segments plus a return to the harbor. Players are dealt identical hands of 9 cards from a deck of 30 possible choices. These cards comprise the choices for the crew looting the islands on the cruise each day. Let's take a look at the basic's of the game before jumping in:
- Game: Libertalia
- Company: Asmodee Games
- Website: http://us.asmodee.com/ressources/jeux_versions/libertalia.php
- Players: 2 - 6
- Play time: 45 minutes
How's it play?
Following the completion of the Night phase on the 6th day the ship returns to port and players resolve any port powers for crew members in their pirate dens. Den's and graveyards are then discarded, loot is tallied and then returned to the "booty bag", and end of cruise scoring takes place. New loot is drawn for the next cruise, 6 more cards are drawn to form the next hand, and play proceeds until 3 cruises are complete.
Each player begins each cruise with 10 doubloons, and can earn more doubloons through abilities on their crew members. Scoring comprises adding the total doubloons at the end of a cruise, moving the score tracker, then resetting to the starting 10 doubloons for the next cruise. It's important to note that only 6 new cards are dealt during the second and third cruise, indicating your hand can be comprised of additional cards held back during earlier cruises.
What's innovative or different? What's fun?
There is also some thought and fun in picking specific types of booty at specific times. One piece of booty, the Sabre, allows you to murder one of the crew members in a players den to each side of you. Another, the Spanish Officer, kills off your own crew member before they make it back to your den at the end of the day. These two selections are useful in cases when you pick them up and also when you can force your opponents to choose them by taking an earlier pick of booty during the dusk phase.
Anyone who is a fan of pirates will also enjoy this game. The crew members on each card are a lot of fun to read, and the flavor text is very in theme with a variety of pirate movies and books. My own group and family thoroughly enjoy declaring "AAARRRRR" when revealing our played cards, taken directly from the Table Top play through of the game.
Overall quality of the game
The game quality is excellent across the board, with a nice thickness to the card decks, thick cardboard on the booty tokens, and a fairly durable pirate ship board. The rule book is very easy to understand and the layout is excellent, both on the text being easy to read and follow and containing many excellent pictures and diagrams.
Recommendation and thoughtsI love this game, my family loves this game, and 3 game groups I've played with also love this game. What is more interesting, my mother-in-law who only likes a few games (Yahtzee, exploding kittens, Quarriors) really enjoys this game and has requested we bring it on vacations to play. Overall this has enough complexity to keep hard-core games like me entertained and engaged while also having a simple enough game-play that lighter gamers such as my wife can enjoy playing. I am pleased to see how seamlessly the game combines those two play styles allowing both types of players to be involved in the same game sessions without becoming frustrating.
This game has a strong recommendation from me.