Yarrr Har Hunt: X Marks the Co-op Spot
You’re a fun-loving, G-rated pirate who just wants to earn their semi-honest living discovering valuable treasures by working harmoniously with your equally fun-loving crew. Peaceable Kingdom promises you bounty galore in Yarrr Har Hunt, a board game for 2-5 players designed by Sabrina, Dave, and Hazel Culyba.
The object of the game, like many cooperative games, is to collect a number of treasures before a timer runs out. Player movement is controlled by drawing from a bag of shell-shaped tokens. Most tokens have a number of pips printed on them, and you can move up to that many spaces. Some shells are colored, and these allow you to jump to a matching-colored space on the board.
Printed around the board (like a pirate treasure map) are spaces marked by colorful items like spyglasses, boots, shovels, and barrels. Face-up clue cards to the side of the board show to which of these spaces you currently need to travel. When someone reaches that space, collect the card, and flip over the next. After collecting three clue cards, you also collect a treasure. If the group collects all the treasures (their number is pegged to the number of players) – you all win.
The timer in Yarrr Har Hunt is the crew’s pirate ship, shown as returning to the island to pick up the crew. If the shell you draw has a ship icon on it – you move the ship one space closer to shore.
If the ship reaches shore to pick you up before you’ve found all the treasures – you all lose.
The strongest mechanic in the game is also its most cooperative. Instead of moving yourself, you can choose to give the shell you draw to another player. We love that this rewards selflessness in our kids. It also trains them to think strategically instead of focusing on moving their own piece. Kids will often need help from an adult to enumerate all the possibilities for a shell and keep track in their minds of which one seems best.
We played Yarrr Har Hunt with a 3-year-old, 6-year-old, and 8-year-old; the 6-year-old probably had the most fun, and we’d say 5-7 is the sweet spot in age range. Peaceable Kingdom’s co-op games are always a big hit with our littles because they really enjoy beating the game with daddy instead of against (losing to) me. And you as a parent will find it easy to apply real-life lessons to the in-game decisions they make.
We had fun following the instruction book’s suggestion to talk like a pirate while playing. Read the bio for your chosen treasure hunter, and you could even play in character. (Bonus points if you have a stuffed parrot to put on your shoulder).
Yarrr Har Hunt only takes 15 minutes to play. We found it best as a quick, fun, after-dinner game to pull out while everyone is already at the table. But after a few enjoyable plays in a row when we first got it, Yarrr Har Hunt has mostly stayed on the shelf. It loses out to other, stronger Peaceable Kingdom entries like Gnomes at Night and Race to the Treasure.
It’s not as engaging for grown-ups as those other games, and yet Yarrr Har Hunt is almost too challenging for the early elementary age range. Kids might have an easier time playing on their own if they start with a small bank of the colored shells to use when they want, instead of having to randomly draw them at just the right time.
Avast Ye Lads and Lassies
Overall, Yarrr Har Hunt is a solid, but not spectacular game for family night. Anyone with littles who are particularly interested in pirates should definitely give it a try.
The Family Gamers received a review copy of Yarrr Har Hunt from Peaceable Kingdom.
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Yarrr Har Hunt
Age Range: 5+
Number of Players: 2-5
Playtime: 15 minutes