Pirates beware…it’s Shark Mania!

Recommended Age:6+
Company Site:spinmaster.com
Where to Buy:Target, Toys R Us, K Mart and Amazon
Contents:4 Pirate Movers 16 Coins 1 Die 1 Palm Tree 1 shark fin 23 assembly pieces for 3ft gameplay unit.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Spin Master is behind some of our favorite games and Shark Mania is now one of our Family Game Night Games every week. Shark Mania is a fast paced game of get the gold and get to the island before the shark gets you. There are giggles a plenty while playing this game no matter your age!

This game is meant for ages 6+ but my 4 year can play…sort of. You are one of 4 Pirates shipwrecked in shark infested waters and your gold is scattered around everywhere. You have to make it to the island without getting eaten by the shark very quickly swimming towards you but you are a pirate…and there is gold all over. Be the pirate with the most gold who makes it to the island.2015-03-18 17.40.30 copy

Each Pirate has a code to follow…Pass the die, move quickly, do NOT peek at the number on the underside of the coins picked up and don’t get eaten. My kids sort of forget the part about picking up coins in all the chaos of moving quickly which is perfect for my 4 year old who can’t quite get the moving quickly idea down.

Before I go into the how to and all of that let me explain the parts and pieces. The box is a typical box that opens on the side but doesn’t tear too easily which is good. The shipwreck pieces are all plastic but that nice plastic that we all love in our games. It assembles easily enough for kids to put it together with clearly marked A B and C pieces so you know what goes where.

The platform and boat pieces pop off or flip open to allow the string on the fin to go through and close up easily once you have the shark fin set up. Sometimes they fall over when excited kids (of any age) move their pirate but are easily fixed. The pirates are all different in color and appearance which is neat. Usually pieces are all the same except for color so I like that they took that extra step…and the Red is my favorite.

2015-03-18 17.38.55 copyThe die and coins are pretty standard sticker die and cardboard (but not really) coins. On one side is the pirate coin symbol standard on pirate gold and on the other a number in Red that tells you its value. It also comes with a cardboard ish palm tree that you put on the island by the treasure chest. This is already bent for our game so be careful of too small of hands trying to set it up. It does bend pretty easily.

Now on to the fun part which can also be the frustrating part if you are me and stink at rolling dice…my rolls average 3 if that tells you anything. My Diva sometimes doesn’t look after she rolls and assumes she rolled a 4…but she does catch herself and check it’s just usually it IS a 4! She will love that gift in later games.


Have the most gold AND make it safely to the island. If you are playing with kids 4-5 you should not make the gold a requirement until they get the speed of the game down.


This part takes very little time despite looking like it takes a lot of it. Take out all the pieces and follow the instructions (which fold out neatly from the paper instruction). Nothing attaches in a way that you will have to snap, clamp, push or jam anything in to anything else. The base has a letter A B or C and you simply find the other piece with the matching letter and slide the two parts together.

They don’t slide in far and very little pushing is needed. My 4 year can do it…if you set up the parts next to each other anyway. Once it is all together pull the shark fin string all the way out or not quite as far for more of a challenge.

2015-03-18 19.13.23 copyI believe my son is at this stage but we honestly forget and focus on getting as much gold as possible…he is a pirate at heart like his dad. The Diva and I are Ninjas though so we tend to forget the gold. I like playing with her more…ahem.

Push down gently on the Shark heads and cover them up with their pieces of wood which rest lightly on top. Then close up all the planks and put the shipwreck on the starting end. Scatter the gold pieces fade down around the shipwreck, choose your pirate and get ready for the chase! Youngest goes first..always.


First player has the die and someone pushes the Treasure Chest on the island to start the Shark Fin. Roll the die and choose to either move that many spaces or take that many coins. If you choose to move you ONLY count the empty spaces. So if you roll a 3 and 2 spaces away another pirate is there simply go one past him as your third.2015-03-15 19.26.42-3 copy

If you choose to collect coins you have to keep the ones you touch and you can NOT look under to see what their value is. That is called cheating and is frowned upon in most games. I THINK all of them but you never know. Pass the die to the next player who rolls and makes their choice and so on. The shark is moving the WHOLE time without stopping.

If you are on a spot and the shark flips it you are out and have been eaten by the hungry shark. Laugh, cry or just throw your hands up and go Arrrgh! like I do and watch the rest of the game. If you are playing with 2 players the remaining player has to try to make to the island because if he doesn’t the Shark wins. I named him Jaws after watching him pop out of the “water” and destroy the boat once. It fits…and he has won before.

Granted he won when playing with the Diva who forgets what she rolls, has to recount her moves and otherwise gets distracted on her turn but he does win. All that is left for those who make to the island is to count their booty and see who has more. Oh and that last wood platform is NOT safe. Green island is the only safe spot in the game!

In the event of a tie in gold then the player who got to the island first is the winner. We have never encountered this though it has been close. Also, once you are on the Green island you can NOT get gold. Nice try…but again that is cheating. Yes the Gentleman tried to do that saying that he would make it to safety and then use a big stick to get the gold. Clever…but no.

Shark Mania is a fun game for all ages including teens and adults to be honest. Fast paced, based on luck of the roll and a little strategy this is a great game for Family Game Nights and teaching kids important things like reading numbers, taking turns, goals, not wasting time and of course Pirate Code. At least half my family follows Pirate Code but the other half….well we are more of the sneaky you never knew we were there Ninja types.


“The goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.”
~ Reiner Knizia

Author: sandyz

1 thought on “Pirates beware…it’s Shark Mania!

Comments are closed.