SNAP Review – Pirate Blast!
Avast me hearties! It’s time for a seafaring battle to claim Monkey Island. Where be your cannons?
I can’t find any cannons, but I brought some monkeys!
This is a snap review for Pirate Blast: Battle for Monkey Island.
This is a fast-paced, silly card game for 2-4 players ages 8 and up. Pirate Blast was created by Little Darlings Games – we reviewed their game Race to Stupid last year.
Race to Stupid had basically no art at all. What about this game?
Since Pirate Blast! is intended for a younger audience, there’s plenty of colorful characters here. Monkeys, parrots, dolphins, are all presented as friendly, boldly colored illustrations, with no text anywhere on the cards.
Although the contents of each player’s decks are identical, they’re color-coded to make it easy to set up and get started.
We actually have two versions here: the standard box has decks in red, blue, green, and black, while the Tropical Edition has orange, purple, yellow, and light green.
Every player gets their own 5-card “ship”, with two options for sail patterns – helpful if a skull and cross bones is too scary! But either way, the sails on the boats match the player colors.
Pirate Blast! is all about lobbing cannonballs at your opponents and being the last ship afloat. Each player sets up their ship and shuffles their own deck of cards.
Players take turns clockwise flipping the top card off their personal deck.
If it’s a cannonball, place it on another player’s ship wherever you want.
A monkey can grab a cannonball from your ship and throw it at someone else. Dolphins carry away a single cannonball from your water line. Parrots hang on the mast and can block a single cannonball aimed at you. Bananas distract monkeys; coconuts knock parrots off their perch.
Some cards just put more even more randomness into the game. The bottle of rum makes you discard off the top of your deck, the octopus lets you steal off the top of everyone ELSE’s deck… and the pelican lets you “swoop in” and immediately use a card from the discard pile.
If your ship is covered in cannonballs at the beginning of your turn, you can flip ONE MORE card off your deck. If it’s a monkey or a dolphin, they take away a cannonball and stay alive! Otherwise, you’re out of the game.
The game usually ends when only one player’s ship is still afloat. If there are still two or more players left when the cards run out, then whoever has the least damaged ship wins.
What did we expect from Pirate Blast?
We expected this to be a kid-friendly game that pretty much anyone could play. It takes 2 minutes to learn and usually less than 10 minutes to play.
It seemed like the kind of game that is mostly about having fun together and being silly, since the gameplay itself is mostly luck.
Keeping the cards completely text-free is both good and bad. There are nine different card types you might flip off your deck, and that is just enough to make it tough for adults to remember what they all do.
There’s a lot of randomness in the game – about half the cards you flip might give you a meaningful choice; usually where to send a cannonball. And in a two player game, there aren’t many real choices at all.
[Andrew] Honestly, the surprise from me on this one was that there actually might be some strategic decisions if you’re playing with more than two players. If you can remember what players have flipped, you might put a cannonball on the water line because you know they don’t have any dolphins left, or you might pick a player’s boat to put a banana on because you haven’t seen their monkeys yet.
Given that you end the game with a large central discard pile, I expected cleanup to be a pain. But I was pleasantly surprised; this is where the colored player decks really make a difference. Simply flip all the cards over and it’s simple to sort them out by player color.
The colors in the Tropical Edition were kind of same-y, so I would recommend sticking with the regular edition unless you REALLY want a second set of colors for more people to play.
Which does lead us to one last point, you can combine the two sets if you want to support more than four players, or even two of the standard box.
Pirate Blast! is a fun game for kids to play. It’s fast paced and a little silly, and since so much of it is luck, younger kids will still have a good chance of winning against older siblings or parents.
I’d say that Pirate Blast! is best for ages 6-10, while still providing some entertainment for the rest of us. At four players cannonball cards bounce back and forth across the table, but players are rarely knocked out early and games stay short. This really isn’t a game for your strategic gamers, but it’s not really supposed to be.
What are we going to rate Pirate Blast! Battle for Monkey Island ?
We’re going to give it 2.5 cannonballs out of 5.
Find it at your local toy store or buy it direct from RaceToStupid.com.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Pirate Blast! Batle for Monkey Island from Race to Stupid LLC for this review.
Pirate Blast! Battle for Monkey Island
Number of Players: 2-4 (up to 8 with a second box)
Age Range: 8+ (we say 6-10)
Playtime: 10 minutes