|Play Time:||30-45 Minutes|
|Our Recommended Age:||7+ (Parents should play first to determine if their child will be able to play)|
I am more of a ninja fan but second to that would be Pirates…my husband and daughter are pirates. Rather Dashing Games has come up with another fun game that allows you to be a pirate! X Marks the Spot is a Dominoes style game with a bit of a twist of course. Be the first to make three X’s with your Pirate symbol to be the ultimate Pirate champion!…or at least until you play again…
Like I said, we are fans of Pirates…some of us more than others but that’s ok. This game automatically appealed to me due to this and my husband even more so. Rather Dashing makes great games…we know since we have played (and love) all of them…so we figured we would like this one…we were NOT disappointed. I mean who doesn’t like pretending to be a pirate!
The game doesn’t come with much. Seriously, just a stack of cards, 4 Pirate cards with names and their symbol and a bag of “gold doubloons. The box is maybe a little big for the contents but the lid doesn’t rip when I pull it from the bottom part so I like that.
They did put a handy insert inside that holds the cards and doubloons very nicely. It appeals to the OCD person that lives in my head…that isn’t real…ahem…moving on.
The cards are standard card material but are thinner and a little longer than cards you are used to. The doubloons are round plastic disks that are kind of neat. We may or may not use pretend gold coins from our kids pretend play stuff when we play though….and possibly an eye patch or hook…for the kids of course.
The artwork on the cards is simple yet awesome. Some of it looks like something I would cut in vinyl and apply to my laptop (and I kind of want to with the treasure chest and cannon) but some of it (like the Ghost Ship) is haunting and elegant at the same time.
The Ghost Ship is my favorite but my husband likes the symbol for Jack Rackham the best. The Gentleman prefers the Red Pirate, Henry Avery, while the Diva prefers Emanuel Wynn’s Green symbol.
She doesn’t really play much but when she wants to one of the adults “helps” her. She IS learning the game slowly though but some of the rules are a bit tricky to remember when you’re 4.
We are teaching her how to get an X and what can go on top of other cards and what cannot. We leave the extra cards out of it for now but my son gets the game no problem.
In fact it only seems slightly complicated but there isn’t much of a learning curve at all. Unless it’s me explaining…sorry if I get confusing…but here it goes!
Make 3 X’s using your Pirate’s Icons.
First take the four Pirate Flag cards with the names on them and shuffle them. Each player gets one and this is their Pirate icon but don’t show or tell anyone else. Yes they will find out eventually but you could be really sneaky until then! Next pass out 3 Gold Doubloons to every player…or gold coins if you want to replace them. Then…shuffle the cards!
Deal 4 to each player and put the rest in a stack nearby. Make sure you have some room to play and decide who goes first. We use a die normally…or paper rock scissors.
On your turn Draw two cards so you have six. You should always have six at the beginning of your turn. You get two actions which means you can play two cards from your hand. You can place them on the playing area or play an Action Card. You can also Scuttle Your Ship during your turn. For those like me who don’t speak PIrate this means that if you don’t like your cards you can put your whole hand at the bottom of the draw pile and draw a completely new hand.
You cannot play any cards if you do that though so keep that in mind. If you Scuttle Your Ship that IS your turn…but you get new cards so yay. Except not yay if you are me and you Scuttle and wind up with cards worse or equal to what you got rid of…yeah that is how much gaming luck works.
Now when you play your cards there are of course rules. Obviously you want to play them so you make an X with your Pirate’s symbol but there are restrictions of course. Each card you play (except that first one) needs to some how touch another card on the “board”. This CAN be at the corners though which is great and perfect for making X’s!
You cannot just go placing them at any angle though. You have to imagine there is a huge grid on your table with squares on it. Each square is half a card…do you see it?
This is easier than I make it sound. You can play the cards next to each other but again they have to touch and line up but can look like a that tetris piece that sort of looked like a Z.
There are the Pirate icons on the Tile Cards of course but there is also a Ghost Ship which is a wild and can be used by any player for whatever icon they want it to be. This Tile can be placed over any tile and any tile can be placed on top of it. When I say tile I mean one square on a card…which has two.
The Kraken tile is a dead tile. It can only be covered by a Ghost Ship or destroyed by a Cannon and is essentially just in the way. Open Water tiles can be placed over any Pirate Tile or a Ghost ship and any tile can be placed on top. Otherwise it is just sort of there.
Covering tiles or full cards has rules of course. You can ONLY place one icon on top of the same icon and on either just one tile of the two or both. This is only for the Pirate Icon tiles though as the Ghost Ship, Kraken, and Open Water all have their own rules.
If you do cover a tile that bottom tile is now “Covered” and cannot be destroyed with a Cannon…even if only half that card is actually covered the whole card is protected. It also is protected from New Heading.
Cannon and New Heading are two of four Action Cards you can get and play during your turn. Cannon is used to destroy Uncovered cards on the table. Well one anyway. New Heading allows you to take one card, Uncovered of course, and put it in your hand and replace it with one from your hand.
This is great because it counts even if the rules say you can’t do it. Like when my beloved son played this card and put his Pirate Icon on a Kraken to win.
Parlay is similar to the Pirate Code where two parties meet and negotiate terms. In this case it is terms for a trade. Pick another player and make an offer to trade any number of your cards for theirs. They would get to choose so it’s fair but they can also decline your offer and offer a new amount instead.
You can force them to trade one so your turn is not wasted but if they don’t want to then another player can jump in and trade instead.
Plunder is about as Piratey as you can get. You get to look at another players cards and take one into your hand OR take one from the discard pile. You do have to play it immediately though but still…Pirate! My son likes this card…a lot. I think he is turning from Ninja to Pirate…
When you create an X in your icons place one of your Doubloons on the middle part of that X…like a Pirate. It IS possible to get two X’s in one turn and yes you would get to place both Doubloons on them.
That spot with the Doubloon is secure and cannot be touched however the rest of your X might be destroyed, have cards placed on top or otherwise messed with so don’t count on using any of them again after you get the one.
The first player to get three X’s wins and is the ultimate Pirate Captain! Until they lose…My son beat my husband at this game…without him letting him win. This was no end of amusement for me and is now my son’s favorite game…and story to tell.
X Marks the Spot is a great game for 8 and up. The box says 10 but that might be due to sneakiness and possibility of being “mean” in the game. My son will be 7 very soon and has already been introduced to games where you can screw over other players. We don’t go all in on these with him..though we do cover a tile of his or two occasionally. We don’t’ steal his cards though…yet…we are nice pirates…for now anyway.
The is easy enough to learn despite what I wrote up or how much I confused it…and is a lot of fun. We do sometimes add a bit of Pirate slang, or parts of costumes when we play sometimes. I mean who doesn’t love talking like a Pirate! We plan to play on Talk Like a Pirate Day this year. It’s September 19th if you were wondering…which I know you are.
If you like Pirates, fun games and hanging out with your family (or trying to get your teen or pre-teen to join in with you on something) this is probably the perfect game for you.
Show us your Pirate faces and your winning X’s Yarrrgh! @MyGeeklings #XMarksTheSpot @Sir_Barnaby