If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you’d know that I have a love/hate relationship with most children’s games. Mostly because it’s difficult to find one that my kids will like and be willing to play more than a handful of times. And because for my wife and I, most children’s games are heavy on theme and light on gameplay. That brings us to today’s review of Bermuda Pirates from FoxMind games. This is a dexterity, pick-up and deliver style game. Is Bermuda Pirates a game that we will be adding to our collection? Let’s find out!
Each player chooses a color and starts with 1 magnetic boat and 3 buoys of that color. Starting with the first player, they will push their boat from their dock to the center island and will try to collect 1 of the 4 different color treasures.
Players can only use 1 finger to push their boat and it can only be pushed from behind. As a player pushes their boat 1 of the 3 things will occur:
1) the boat gets caught by a hidden whirlpool (the boat is attracted to a magnet on the underboard),
2) the boat runs aground on an obstacle
3) the boat safely returns to their home dock with 1 or more treasures.
If the player is caught by a whirlpool or runs aground, their turn ends immediately, and their boat is placed back at their dock. If the boat was carrying treasures, those are placed back to the center island (unless a whirlpool flicks them onto the board and in that case, the treasure stays where it lands).
At the end of a player’s turn, they can place or remove 1 of their buoys to mark hidden whirlpools or trick opponents, but cannot directly block docks or other boats.
The game ends when one player collects each of the 4 different color treasures and has safely returned them to their dock.
Bermuda Pirates does two things well that are usually a must for most children’s games: the rules are easy to learn, and the components are excellent. Easy rules are a plus because that means the game gets to the table quickly and that makes most kids happy. What will also keep kids happy are the magnetic boats and underboards that are a unique element to Bermuda Pirates and most kids find the magic of magnets fun.
What really surprised me was two things about Bermuda Pirates. The first is that there’s a nice amount of tension. This mostly comes from not knowing where the whirlpools are and obviously not finding them. During our plays, the kids, my wife, and I were all holding our breath during our turns, hoping boats wouldn’t (and sometimes would) find those hidden whirlpools. If found, your boat usually catapults the treasures off and mostly onto the board, ending your turn. Treasures left on the board can be picked up by any players on their turn which also adds to the tension as players try to gather them.
The second is that it’s a challenging game. Bermuda Pirates blends many mechanics like dexterity, pick-up and deliver, memory, and push your luck into one game. You don’t usually find many children’s games that include more than one or two mechanics. So, pushing a boat from behind with one finger might not seem challenging but trying to avoid the whirlpools, obstacles, picking up treasure(s) and not losing them is easier said than done. All in all, it’s not easy but it’s entertaining and fun.
My kids were cool with playing Bermuda Pirates many times in a row, but my wife and I did tire of it because you’re essentially doing the same action every turn. So, I think adults will find Bermuda Pirates somewhat repetitive and may feel like it overstays it’s welcome after a few plays. I usually classify those games to my kids as “good ones to play with your friends” and limit the family play to a maximum of twice in a sitting.
The last thing that I found (not my son) to be negative is that collecting treasures doesn’t always take skill. Let me explain. If your boat finds a whirlpool, the boat usually catapults what it’s carrying. If the catapulted treasure lands near or next to an opponent’s boat, they can usually collect with minimal effort and skill. On two occasions treasures were catapulted onto my son’s island and, per the rules, is a legal way to collect it. I was not a fan and house-ruled that was no longer legal. I know, I’m a no-fun Dad.
Bermuda Pirates is a children’s game that most kids should like because it’s easy to learn and fast to the table. Most kids will love the magnetic boats and board and, hopefully, won’t mess with it during the game too much. Bermuda Pirates has a nice amount of tension that engages all players and overall the game is challenging but still a fun time for all involved.
There are two things that are holding Bermuda Pirates back from scoring higher. Adults will likely tire of this one because it feels the same from game to game, but your kids might disagree. Treasure collecting can sometimes take no skill and be gathered by blind luck. Again, adults might not enjoy that, but your kids might not care.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A children’s dexterity, pick-up and deliver game that should appeal to kids and challenge players of all ages.
• Can feel repetitive for adults
• Luck can be a factor for collecting treasures