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Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest


Paolo Mori

Stonemaier Games

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Lutz Wildt writes about the game:

As a child, I loved watching pirate movies. Throughout various eras of film history, the portrayal of these buccaneers has evolved. From nefarious thieves to honorable benefactors, and from somewhat crazy to shrewd captains, they all shared bravery in the face of the odds of the seven seas. Some adhered to a code of honor, fairly sharing their loot, while others tried to cheat their crew to claim the treasure for themselves. It was always exciting to watch their adventures unfold. Sometimes, I wished I could join them on their journeys to make some grand loot.

[Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest]

Fortunately, there is Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest from STONEMAIER GAMES! So I can make up for my omission from back then! Even in gaming eras, the portrayal of pirates changes. Back in 2012, this game originally came out as Libertalia. Whereby classic uncouth pirates have done their booty business. STONEMAIER GAMES has released a revised and expanded version 10 years later, this time with Sky Pirates fighting over the most valuable treasures.

In Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest, the players try to make as much booty as possible with their pirate crew consisting of 40 cards. The players' card sets are identical. This means that each player has a set of 40 consecutively numbered pirate cards that are identical to the opponents' sets. The game is played over 3 rounds (voyages) in which the players travel to different islands, each of which they send a pirate to. The earlier he lands there, the better it can be. Or maybe not? After all, all pirates spend the whole day there!

[Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest]

Sounds a bit confusing, but it's actually quite simple! All players start their first journey, which leads to 4 islands, with exactly the same 6 cards. These cards are drawn at random by one player and everyone else picks the same cards from their deck. Each card represents a specific crew member and can contain Daytime, Dusk and Night actions. As soon as the first island with its Loot Tokens is reached, the players choose a card face down and send it to the island in ascending order after it has been revealed. Then, if available, all Daytime actions are carried out first in ascending order. Afterwards, and this time in descending order, each player takes a Loot Token from the island, performs their Dusk action and places the card in their ship. All Night actions that are on cards that are already on the ship or triggered by Loot Tokens are then carried out simultaneously. After the first voyage is completed, all Anchor actions on the cards and loot are carried out. There are also plenty of points to be scored if you have planned well, collected well or have the right crew members on the ship. Once this is done, all players pack their collected Doubloons into a treasure chest (Score Dial) and start their next journey, this time to 5 islands.

In my initial encounter with the game, I assumed that all players would consistently play the same cards, leading to a somewhat unexciting experience. After all, the loot tokens on the islands were already revealed from the outset. However, reality surprised me! Each player approached the game board from a distinct perspective. While some focused on securing Doubloons, others aimed to collect valuable items by the end of each round. The diverse actions offered by the cards, combined with their varying quantities, opened up numerous tactical possibilities. It wasn’t solely the action printed on a card that mattered; the timing of that action was equally crucial. Take, for instance, the Cabin Boy (bearing the number 5): if positioned as the leftmost card, he’d earn a modest 3 Doubloons. However, he may not take a Loot Token in the Dusk Phase...

[Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest]

From the second voyage at the latest, it is no longer so easy to predict which cards an opponent will play, as each player has 2 cards (probably different ones) left over after the first voyage. Another 6 identical cards are added and the second voyage begins, during which three cards are left over, which are included in the final voyage, this time with 6 islands. The variations get bigger and bigger and the longer journeys make it more and more exciting!

The actions of the Loot Tokens are also very varied, as they are scored either in the Dusk or Anchor phase and there is also a second set available that can be used either completely or partially. I also particularly liked the solo mode, as there is another set of cards available for this, in which the cards have three functions that allow a crew member and a pilferer to be brought into play depending on the loot tokens drawn. A very elegant solution that makes the solo game intuitive and creates a lot of excitement.

[Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest]

All to say, Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest is a very well-made new edition! We don't even need to talk about the excellent quality of the game material, which we have come to expect from Stonemaier games. In any case, I'll be happy to go on a raid again, whether alone or in a larger group, it makes almost no difference to me! After all, Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest is always a great game!

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