The island seemed to be abandoned, when Farr and his companions sailed to it. Seagulls circled above the palm trees and all was quiet. No trace of civilization nor some inhabitants. But Farr knew very well, what he saw, when they were away at sea. Far away on the horizon was a glowing small dot, which none of his experienced men saw. Just him. They said it was just a delusion, but he knows precisely, what he saw.
He was sure, that someone else tries to find Jim Flynn’s treasure. He did not know how they learned its location, but he was sure of it as the boat got closer and closer to the shore. Finally the hull scratched on the sand and the sand could jump ashore. There were all his best men: Stant, Toad, Pallen, and also threatening Wink. Along with them, captain dragged a boat onto the shore. Finally he was able to direct his attention to the scenery. Somewhere in there is hidden a treasure. And he is ready to find it, no matter what..
In the card game Raiding Parties, you become the head of a group of pirates, who have run into a resistance. In particular, they are competing with another crew. And its not just an ordinary competition, its to the death. You have to deal with the threat, that they will steal your money. You answered on the call of opposing captain floating under the bone flag. You agreed to send single ship ashore, where they should compare their strength. The decision falls on you. But the ship can carry only a few men of your crew, you must carefully choose, which men should you send into battle.
The author of the game is a novice in preparation of board games, Nick Pace. The cards are embellished with illustrations of man, whose name is associated with the world of pirates more than enough – Don Maitz. His name has a real meaning, when it comes to a world of drawing and pirates. Just look at Don Maitz official site .
Raiding Parties is located in a really dark box. With so many black shades, you cannot enjoy all the drawings on the cover. Once you open the small box, and enter through the upper side, there are two decks of cards waiting for you. The box is well made and the cards are held side by side without problems. Along with game cards, there are also rules hidden inside. And they are really hidden, as they are printed on the cards, so you will vainly look for a folded sheet of paper.
The rules are situated on three double-sided cards, where are briefly described the basic principles in pinpoint and you will find also some examples there. Three cards is very little space, so at first you will have a little difficulty understanding the game and how it works. Fortunately, everything is really simple, once you get the game layed out and try a sample test.
But back to the contents of the box itself. Two packages in the box are actually really two separate piles. One is full of playing pirate cards and the other will serve as a complementary system and its called a hit deck. Both decks of cards have beautiful illustrations. The pirate cards have also text with description, while the second package consists in its essence of classic cards. But they are also decorated nicely in the middle of the card. Yet still these cards can be separated into four classical groups – spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs. Interestingly, unlike ordinary cards, they have their number value written in their upper right (instead of left) corner.
Raiding Parties is a little deckbuilding game. The players agree at the beginning about values of the deck, which can they build from the offer. This determines not only the number of cards, but also the length of the match. The rules propose three basic assemblies – the value of 20, 30 and 40 gold. Value 20 offers a fast game, where neither forts nor ships are allowed in the deck. Larger battles then include either one of them (30) or both (40).
Individual cards with pictures of pirates have its value written in the lower left corner on the chest with gold. Their sum cannot exceed the limit set on the game, when you are preparing your deck. The only other restriction is limited cards. You can easily recognize them by an X written before their name. Each package can have only one copy of those cards, no matter what. They are far too powerful to be present more than once.
Since this is also deckbuilding game, it is good to own more than one package of Raiding Parties. For two players is one package usually sufficient, but when you add more opponents into the equation, you will also definitely need more cards. The positive news is, that currently the game is again on the Kickstarter server, trying to gather finance for a second deck of whole new cards, prepared by the author Nick Pace. We hope to see them sometimes in the future on our editorial desk. And yes, that means we like the game a lot!
So now we have cards ready. You need also few more tokens (not included), which will indicate wounds of your mates. Each of the pirate fighters has, in addition to price in gold, also a number of lives. This is shown in the lower right corner over skeleton image and its value can vary from one to six.
And how do these game mechanics actually work? A complete game consists of a series of short death fights, which can always be won only by one side. Players gradually draw cards from their decks and send them to horrible death, until is someone finally left with no crew. The player who survives the longest, is the winner.
Players shuffle their assembled deck and draw three cards into their hand to start with. The fight is ready to start. Opponents take turns. When its your turn, you start it by drawing one card from your deck, which is here called The Locker. Now it comes to the second part of your turn (the main one) – you must play one of your cards in hand and put it into play on the table.
Each of the played cards can be used once per turn and attack any opponents characters with it. The game offers two types of attacks – shooting and close combat. Individual characters have their abilities written on cards. You will easily know firearms by the ring in front of name of weapon.
All shooting, close combat and other activities use the second deck of cards – hit deck. Each of the skills has several suits or numbers / letters next to each available ability name. Now you must hit the deck! You turn the top card of the second deck, and if the symbol matches at least one of the conditions (suit or number), the attempt was a success.
Attacking an enemy from a distance will only get them injured, while close fight is always to the death. If you use firearms, you first mark the target, and then verify the success of your attack in the hit deck. If you are successful, opponent is hurt. He now has two options – either he can try to dodge the shot and avoid injury, or to accept it and answer with his own shooting attack. Now the Exchange of bullets is over.
More interesting is the close fight. First player in turn marks the warrior, which he wants to challenge. The defender has now chance to respond to incoming threat with one shot from a gun at a distance. No matter if he succeeds or not, the fight goes on (if the attacker survives shooting). They both now clash into themselves. Players are now exchanging blows and retaliations until one of their characters falls lifeless to the ground.
All living characters stay on the table, until they are destroyed or until the end of the game. Gradually they collect tokens of damages until they meet the number of their lives. Then their corpses are removed. In his turn, each player may use all characters, which are alive. But he may do only one action with each of them. Action counts as such an event, which wants to hit the deck.
Raiding Parties is a card game, that is really nicely built around an elegant and simple system. Battles are controlled by the player’s pure strategies, because they always determine the target of his attack and therefore success. Chances of success are governed purely by probability, which can be relatively easy to calculate. Each card has some suits and values. And from there you know their exact distribution in a classic deck of cards – from one value, there are always four cards as they are thirteen from one suit.
More types of attacks, as well as the possibility of dodging the attack, allows many different tactical decisions. In the game, of course, you will find also other skills, which we have not spoken about. The specific cards can have special abilities, allowing you to twist tightly defined rules – play more cards, attack when dying, breed new pirate or fire cannon.
Everything fits together beautifully, creating a great experience of living the battle of two groups of pirates. Each player starts with a free hand and its only up to him, which cards will he select into his deck. The more you play the game, the more you get familiar with the way, that cards interact. You can have a lot of copies of a single card or bet your winning on variability.
Rules deserve one special article. In the original version, they are not very understandable, and with some actions, you must use a little of imagination. Some options are not described thoroughly on these text cards. But you will find detailed description of most situations on the Internet. They were created directly by the author of the game. You can download this high-resolution image from: http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1284973.
In this game, cards graphic processing means a lot. Pictures leave really great impression and help you to evoke the feel of a real pirate battle perfectly. Don Maitz has done a truly masterful work. You can see this easily on the surrounding pictures.
The game is simple and has elegant rules suitable for quick matches. And not just for games among adults, but also for all child pirates fans. Children quickly learn to distinguis icons and the abilities of pirates.
Raiding Parties is an excellent quick card game, that deals with the theme of pirate battles. You can set the length and content of the battles yourself. You can also prepare your set of pirate warriors, which will represent you and defend your honor. But waits.. Do pirates actually have any honor? I guess not. Then.. for the money and fame – to arms!
And once again one last reminder in the end – if you are interested into Raiding Parties game, you should login to Kickstarter server, where second deck is right now supported. And you can even gain a first set of cards there too..