Review: Pirate’s Cove

Rating: ★★★★☆
www.piratescovegame.com

Pirate boardgames, much like pirate children’s books, have the distinct advantage of freedom. They’re free to ignore the limits and dictates of history, and are at their best when they shamelessly embrace the colorful fun and mythology of the pirate life.

Pirate’s Cove does a splendid job of doing exactly that. Players each adopt a pirate ship, and then take it in turns to sail across a colorful map, plundering towns and each other along the way. The entire game takes place in twelve “months”, with each month being a full round of turns. Players secretly elect where they intend to sail by using a ship’s wheel dial, and then all display their dials at once – any player going to an island alone gets free reign to conduct their business there, while if two or more make the same landfall, combat naturally ensues. Continue reading

Review: Boulder Dash

Rating: ★★★☆☆
www.firststarsoftware.com/bdtp.htm

Now here was a fun little discovery – “Boulder Dash: Treasure Pleasure” allows you to choose your hero, either a boy or girl. You guide that hero through a number of levels of puzzles as they collect enough jewels to go to the next level. The puzzles start simply enough, but quickly become more difficult as new opponents are introduced in the forms of spiders, pirates, and weird glowing things.

There’s not really much to go into for a review, as this game is a 2-D console format, like Donkey Kong or Pac Man. The graphics are cute, the puzzles can be challenging, and you can develop your problem-solving and motor skills. I’d definitely recommend this for cabin younkers, so check out their free trial.

Review: Loot

Rating: ★★★☆☆
www.gamewright.com

There’s something to be said for games that can be played in only a few minutes. Loot is one of the easiest to learn, and easiest to play, pirate games I’ve come across in a long time. It’s played entirely with cards, primarily representing merchant and pirate ships of varying wealth and strength, respectively. Merchant ships are put into play, and players take turns pitting pirate ships against them, with the strongest attacker adding the merchant to his booty pile. When the cards run out, the booty is tallied, and winner determined. And that’s it!

While not as involved as many pirate board and card games, Booty benefits from a rapid gameplay that takes on a uniquely fun rhythm – almost like a good game of checkers or jacks. Intended for agest ten and up, the artwork is of course silly, fun, and piratey – and the card material of a high quality. And best of all, it can be played in only a few minutes time, so even pirates with short attention spans can take part.

Review: Pegleg Tango

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Captain Bogg and Salty
www.boggandsalty.com

 Buy the CD
Genre: Original pirate songs and tunes.
Rating: G
Target Audience: All Ages.

Captain Bogg & Salty’s first album, Bedtime Stories for Pirates, is without a doubt one of the finest pirate albums ever made. It’s silly enough to entertain the young, yet clever enough for the old. But what I like best about it is that you don’t need to listen to the lyrics to know that the songs are a) piratey and b) funny. It spews pirates and laughs from its very core, and thus induces me now and then to dance about the living room whilst flailing my cutlass in meriment (a practice for which my son has scolded me.) Continue reading

Review: How I Became a Pirate

Rating: ★★★★★
How I Became a Pirate
by Melinda Long and David Shannon

Best Pirate Book Ever! OK, so I’ve said that before, but there’s just something magical about children’s pirate books. So many adult-oriented pirate books get bogged down in things like murder, scurvy, moral and legal issues, and all that nonsense. But quite often a good children’s book comes along and reminds us that historical fact notwithstanding, pirates are COOL. Period. So yeah, I love pirate kid’s books, and this is especially true when they’re well written and beautifully illustrated. This one is both, and then some. Continue reading

Review: Bedtime Stories for Pirates

Rating: ★★★★★
Captain Bogg and Salty
www.boggandsalty.com

Buy the CD
Genre: Original pirate songs and tunes.
Rating: G
Target Audience: Kids, but HIGHLY recommended for all ages

Usually when someone makes a sing-a-long pirate album you get the distinct impression it was made by children’s entertainers trying their best to pretend at being pirates. As such, its appeal tends to be very limited. Continue reading

Review: Treasure Planet

Rating: ★★★☆☆
A surprisingly fun (and even touching) version of Treasure Island that, if not loyal in the strictest sense, manages to stay true to the original spirit of the book. The imagery is very good. At times it’s amazing. John Hawkins, the Doctor, and the Captain are all nicely portrayed. And Long John, you ask? You may hate me for saying this, but in its own weird way I think this is the best version of Long John Silver I’ve ever seen. He’s both endearing yet sinister, believable as a pirate and yet he still manages to show paternal affection for Hawkins. Making him into a cyborg was a very clever, and highly appropriate, touch. Sadly, any genius that went into creating Long John was offset by the dopey lameness of the Ben Gunn android, but such is life.

Review: Treasure Island – 1950 (starring Robert Newton)

Rating: ★★★☆☆
I must confess that I never saw this movie as a kid. Or if I did, I don’t remember it. As such I’ve no sense of nostalgia or childhood fondness attached to it. If you do, that’s fine – we love what we love, and we don’t need to justify it. But having seen it for the first time as an adult, I just don’t think it was all that great. Jim Hawkins was much too young to believably outsmart everyone, and his pudgy baby-face only made it all the more silly to watch. Long John was a giant, one-legged grease ball, more goofy than anything else. And the pirates, with their peculiar jaunt and super curly hairstyles, were just plain silly. I suppose the story was more-or-less loyal to the book, but it all had that dated and muted feel that is so common amongst older Disney movies.

In a word, “eh.”

Review: Captain Abdul’s Pirate School

Rating: ★★★½☆
Captain Abdul’s Pirate School
by Colin McNaughton

Best pirate book ever!!! OK, maybe not everyone has the soft spot for kid’s books that I do, but this one’s a dandy. When Pickles, a young girl, is forced to enroll in pirate school by her father, she dutifully logs the day’s events in her diary. She and her classmates carefully study the piratical arts, but then learn that Captain Abdul, the principal, has deviously schemed to ransom his own students back to their parents. Not to give away the ending, but Pickles and her friends do a right fine job of turning the tables on the fiend. Continue reading