Game of the Week: Loot

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Avast, scurvy dogs!  Although International Talk Like a Pirate Day has ARRRReady passed, all ye scalawags can still celebrate the adventure of the high seas.

LOOT is a quick game, playable in about 20 minutes.  The instructions may seem a bit wordy at a glance, but the rules are easy to remember after playing one round.  Players begin with 6 cards.  On your turn, you may lay down a merchant ship (if you have one), play a pirate ship on someone else’s merchant ship, or draw another card to beef up your hand.  (This is one of the only games we’ve seen where you either draw or play on your turn, but not both).  Players may play pirate ships to defend their own merchant ships, and any card that makes one round without contest goes to the last player who made a move on that ship.  Admirals and Pirate Captains nearly guarantee victory on a vessel and are thus available in very limited supply.

Merchant ships have different values, so players have incentives to save up their pirate ships and wait to compete for more coveted merchant ships.  On the other hand, a thoughtful player might snatch up all the low-valued merchants while everyone else is too focused on a single high-value ship.  Yet another player may use most of his turns to stockpile useful attack ships.  There are several useful strategies to consider in this game, and it is best suited for players ages 10 years and older.

2 to 8 players makes this a fun party game, especially if you all use maritime slang and wear pirate hats.

Official Site

Game of the Week: In a Pickle

Friday, September 12th, 2008

In a Pickle is a game that will expand your imagination.  Players hold cards marked with nouns both tangible (pickle, portrait, zoo) and intangible (universe, chaos, space).  Some are also ambiguous (pickle – food or conundrum, head – cranium or bathroom, etc).  Each turn requires a person to play one of their cards onto another card which could fit into the played card.  As you can see in the picture, there is juice in a pickle, a pickle is in the supermarket, and the supermarket is in a parking lot.  The player to place the fourth card on a stack claims the whole stack, unless the next player can continue the stack by playing an even "bigger" card. 

This makes for some very interesting imagery:  There is artificial flavoring in the turkey which has been placed in a hole that I found in the fog which is only found in my memory

You might think you’ve stumped everyone by playing the universe card, but the next player can play the portrait card – hey, haven’t several people painted the universe?  (All plays can be challenged, so be prepared to explain yourself!)

2 to 6 players

Ages 10 and up (for reading and concepts).  Adults will enjoy this one, too.

New Playmobil Pirate Stuff

Friday, September 5th, 2008


The Galleon sailed into harbor flying the flag of the empire. The soldiers at the lighthouse began bringing down fresh supplies to the dock. But this was no ordinary treasure ship laden with Incan gold. It was captained by none other than the Dread Pirate Roberts. The captain and crew kept themselves and their cannons carefully concealed below decks until well within range. Then when the element of surprise was at its height Roberts gave the order. The crew sprung to action as the Jolly Roger unfurled on the highest mast. The Galleon’s true identity revealed the soldiers at the lighthouse were completely unprepared as the cannons opened fire.

 Playmobil’s latest Pirate Ship is a master of disguise. It comes with both Jolly Rogers and Spanish flags. The cannons also can be hidden away below decks. Even the figure head can be changed from a menacing skull to subtle piece of golden scroll work to complete the deception. The four man crew is armed to the teeth and ready for adventure on the high seas. Playmobil #4290 $125.25

Playmobil’s Lighthouse Fortress is a beacon of safety in the troubled Caribbean. The battery powered Lighthouse guides ships safely to the dock. While the Captain and his two guards ensure the safety of all with their cannon and the threat of the dungeon underneath the Lighthouse. Playmobil #4294 $62.75