So I’ve been trolling around BGG for the past few years or so and I’ve played/purchased hundreds of games, although I’m not one for logging plays unfortunately, and to be honest, I’ve purchased more games than I’ve actually played, but I have yet to actually write a review for a game. Oh I’ve played plenty of games that I absolutely love, and regularly still play many of those I love dearly, and I’ve said I was going to write a review of certain games I really like, and even a few that I utterly loathe, but I never have, until now.
Here are the reasons why I am so compelled to make Raiding Parties my very first review here on BGG:
I really like the game
My son LOVES the game
I really want the game to succeed
Let me start by saying that I had the pleasure of learning the game from the designer himself, Nick Pace. Nick happened to be at my FLGS this past Saturday while me and my gaming buddies were there for an L5R hullabaloo (basically I was teaching the game to my friends in an attempt to get them to like L5R). Nick was there demoing Raiding Parties and one of my buds, Court, who happens to really be into Pirates, insisted that we try the game with Nick. This was after our game of War of Honor (L5R multiplayer) and I had just broken out 3 boxes of boosters for us all to have an L5R booster opening extravaganza. Court didn’t even care about the L5R boosters and B-lined it to Nicks table to play Raiding Parties. Eventually, and I’ll admit begrudgingly, Court pulled me away from the booster opening tirade to try Raiding Parties, and I am very glad he did.
This game is great! In minutes Nick explained the game and we were off playing. By the end of the first game I was able to play it without any help and I was also able to teach the game to my son later that day. The game is incredibly easy to learn, play, and teach. Currently you are a bit limited in customization due to the cards available in one pack, but if you purchase more packs, that limit is completely removed, and if Nick is able to release additional packs, which he already has several developed and why I have a vested interest in this game succeeding , the skies will be the limit as far as expandability and customization is concerned.
I was fortunate enough to walk away with the only remaining copy Game Depot (FLGS) had available that day (Sorry Court! ), so I brought it home and taught it to my 7 year old son who picked it up immediately. We played several games that night, and he keep beating the snot out of me! My son absolutely loves this game. He can’t stop talking about it and wants to play it constantly. This is a major plus for me because it’s been tough finding a game my son really, really likes (He has Asperger’s by the way). He’s played several games with me and likes most of them fine, but he keeps defaulting to making up his own games with his own rules because there just hasn’t been a game that’s caught his eye and kept him interested, until Raiding Parties.
The game itself is really quite stunning. I was incredibly impressed by the quality of the cards and the beauty of the design work. This really looks like a top quality professionally produced game, not a self published game that was funded by a kickstarter. The artwork is amazing! Getting Don Maitz (THE man for pirate artwork!) was pure brilliance on Nicks part and a very wise investment.
The game consists of 2 decks of cards. A Deck of “Pirate” cards that you use to build your individual decks and a second deck, the “Hit the Deck” deck is a standard set of playing cards, any deck of standard playing cards will work for the game but this deck has some cool original pirate artwork, and it is used as the randomizer for the game.
The gameplay is quick and fun, so its relatively easy to teach to non-gamers, but also has an element of strategy in the deck building portion that I can see will keep it fresh and interesting for advanced gamers (as long as new packs are released!). Each Pirate card has a gold cost to it and each player picks your pirates to build your deck to a predetermined deck size (20 or 30 gold for the starter set). Generally each pirate card has a ranged attack and a melee attack, some cards have a special ability, such as “Evade” or 2x attack, that works with itself or other cards (some pirate cards have no special ability at all). Each attack has any combination of Hearts, Spades, Clubs, Diamonds, King, Queen, Ace or Jack
For example a Pirates Pistol attack could be - "Pistol: Heart, Club, K, Q". This means the Pistol will hit the pirate your pirate is attacking on a flip of any Heart, Club, King or Queen card when flipping a card from the “Hit The Deck” deck, essentially giving this attack a 50-something percent chance of hitting. I’m not sure what percentage the King and Queen cards would work out to be, but it’s easy enough to say it has 2 of the 4 available suits, so it has about a %50 chance to hit. In fact, I got in some math lessons with my son when we were playing !
That’s pretty much it! You lay down a pirate card each turn, some cards let you put down additional Pirate cards or do other special things, you go through and attack with each pirate card you have out, and whoever kills all the pirates from the opposing players deck first wins! It’s that simple!
Beautiful production quality, amazing artwork, easy to learn and satisfying gameplay, potentially infinite expandability and all at a $15 price point makes this game a no brainer for any game collection.
So far, I really only have one gripe about the game, and it may not even be a legitimate gripe, I’m not sure, but I really wish the Pirate deck was available on its own, without the “Hit The Deck” deck of playing cards. You really only need one deck of the playing cards so if you want to expand your collection to increase your customizations options, it would be nice to have the pirate deck available individually for $6.99 or something like that. Like I said, I don’t know if this is a legitimate gripe because I don’t even know if this is available separately or not. Maybe Nick can shed some light on that?
In any case, I still give this game:
Thank you Nick for showing me this little gem of yours!!
- Last edited Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:52 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:17 am
Hi Grant, that is a great review. I have been playing it a bit recently and have really enjoyed it. They are running a kickstarter for set two at the moment. I have backed it, it looks great and has some clearer rules with it as well. I will be doing a short review of the game myself, but will also flag up this in depth one. Thanks
Tidying out my gaming cupboards to get over the flu - and I found this game in a drawer, unplayed.
Having now read your review, I was reminded of why the Kickstarter appealed to me all those years ago, so will deffo be giving this a spin this week.
Thanks for your passionate summary, albeit very belatedly by me.