Personal Ranking: #27


Time to Play (in my experience): 30 minutes


Age Level: I’ve played this with people as young as 7


Difficulty Level: 1 (less than 5 minutes to teach, less than an hour to play)


Type of Game: Push Your Luck/Tableau Building. In a push-your-luck game, you see how far you can go without busting (Blackjack would be a classic example). Tableau building games are where you have your own personal set of cards in front of you that have lasting effects. 


Game Setting: Caribbean/age of pirates.


Brief overview of how to play: On your turn, you flip over cards until you wish to stop or you bust. If you bust, your turn is over immediately. Otherwise, when you stop you are able to either take 1 ship card for its money value or use your money to purchase a character card. Then, every other player may do the same, but they have to pay you one coin if they take a card. After each player takes a card or passes, all remaining cards are discarded and play passes to the left. The first player to 12 points triggers the end of the game. 



You bust if you ever draw a second ship card of the same nationality (and can't fight it off). In this case, the second American ship would bust me.


How many players does it play?: 3-5


Ideal number?: 4 or 5


Why do I love/recommend this game?:



Just a stack of cards for the set-up


Quick set-up time: Shuffle the deck, deal each person 3 cards (for their coin value), and begin.


Variable strategies: There are several different strategies to pursue in this quick card game. You can build up your defense strength, you can go for goals, you can go for powerful ability cards. Several different avenues to pursue.


Incentive to push-your-luck. The more cards you make available not only increases your possible cards to get, but also the more cards that other players might buy from you. Also, if you reveal 4 or more different nationalities of ships, you get to take more than one card on your turn.



A better look at the cards. 


Easy to teach/easy to play. All of the powers are pretty easy to understand, and the rest of the game flows easily. If there is a question about what a card does, you can simply explain it when it comes out. 


Potentially exciting endings. Because the game end triggers with one person getting 12 points and the others getting another turn, there can be a “I might as well go for it” on the last turn or two. I have seen some amazing endings to these games. 



Is there anything offensive in this game? Anything at all?: Well, it is about pirates, but it is in the stereotypical “sugar-coated” way. 


Final word: I have had great success with Port Royal with a variety of groups. Because it is a “push your luck” game at it’s core, it levels the playing field a bit, but there is also enough to do to mitigate your luck to give you some control in the game. The quick set up time to this game, makes it a great game to pull out when you don’t want to be bothered with setting up a larger game.



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