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The Meeple Guild: Argh! Where be the treasure matey?

Be the better pirate and find the best treasure.
pirate game 72
A board which allows multiple layouts help with replay.

YORKTON - There are games that you get to play which you wouldn’t automatically pick off a store shelf. 

The Last Bottle of Rum by designer Quentin Vernet and publisher Lord Raccoon Games is one such game. 

Theme wise it suits our little group nicely. The Last Bottle of Rum is a pirate board game for two-to-five players, where you play as a pirate looking to trade its treasures for the very last bottle of rum of the archipelago. 

While pirates is an auto-draw for us, the game, released only last year, had not been on our watch list, but once a copy hit the table, we found a game that had its charms. 

To begin with, the artwork of Baptiste Michard is great. The character boards depicting the various pirates in the game are particularly brightly illustrated and the characters having lots of whimsical character. 

The characters are the first indication the game is one, despite rum being in the name, skews toward family entertainment, with the game rated 10-plus. 

Jumping ahead a bit, the game would be higher on a list for a family with children in the nine-13 age range. 

In the game a number of hexagon tiles are laid out face down. Not every tile is used in every game, and the random layout, gives the game some freshness in terms of re-playability. 

Players take turns moving their tiny wooden pirate ships around the board, flipping hidden tiles as you ‘sail’ onto them, and collecting treasure, facing danger, or simply finding open water to traverse. 

Adding to the game players draw cards which can influence affairs when played. 

Ships may also be damaged, and depending what damage they taken it might reduce movement, or the amount of treasure which can be carried, or impact the ability to shoot your cannons. 

There is some player-to-player interaction; shooting of cannons or stealing treasure, but it’s quite limited, so no hard feeling for in-game actions. 

The game plays two-to-five, which is nicely versatile. 

However, like many games, when you have limited ability to impact others, if a player gets ahead, the others are forced to focus as much attention as possible on the person in the lead to impede their progress. They can feel a bit ‘hunted’ although they are likely to sail to the win anyway. 

The one issue here is a rulebook that is a bit out of sync. You don’t always find what you seek in the spot you expect, such as the goal of the game being deep into the book. 

Other in-game issues – can I dump a smaller treasure to keep a better one just found – simply aren’t there. We as rather veteran gamers, house-rule things rather quickly, but as a family game you want everything answered as succinctly as possible. 

In the end, this game is among dozens we’d play if someone put it on the table, although we might not pick it off the shelf ourselves. 

That said, it should be reiterated, as a family game, this one would rate higher. 

You can check out The Last Bootle of Rum at