Reviewed by Nicola Mccallum
As a child I loved playing board games and now even as an adult I will still bring out the old favourites. When the opportunity arose to review Space Cowboys Black Fleet I saw this as a good opportunity to invite some friends round for a game night.
The box is attractive in appearance and although it has an animated design it appeals to the older age range of the board game (suitable for 14+). As I had a quick glance of the instructions my first thought was that the game seemed complicated as the rule booklet was several pages and I did need the booklet out to understand what all the cards were and how they could be used in the game.
Although the game initially seemed confusing we persevered and it didn’t take us long to grasp the basic rules. Each player has a merchant ship and a pirate ship. The merchant ships move from port to port delivering goods for which they receive doubloons, meanwhile you use the pirate ship to try to intercept the opponent’s goods where you can then bury the cargo again in exchange for doubloons. Also on the board there are two navy ships which can sink the pirate ships. Each turn involves the player moving a merchant ship, pirate ship and the navy ship and this is achieved though movement cards which are drawn during each turn and each card will give you the number of squares each vessel is required to move. This concept was easy to understand and the instruction booklet was very clear and made it to understand.
A little confusion was had with the two other cards which are used throughout the game, the fortune cards and development cards. Fortune cards can be played at any time to help enhance your moves and development cards can also help to assist you but to use these you have to spend your doubloons to use them. As I said this did cause a little bit of confusion but after a few turns each we all had a clearer understanding and we were all enjoying ourselves.
My first thoughts of the game being suitable to those aged 14 and above I thought I am sure younger ones would be able to enjoy this but after playing this game and its complexity I fully agree with the age range that has been set. Two things grasped me during this game is that it has a definite end. I find that games like monopoly and trivial pursuit can sometimes go on for an eternity and even then most people tend to grow disinterested before they reach the end, although this board game can last for over an hour it is easy to see the progress and it is hard to predict who will win at the end.
Overall a very enjoyable game that has a little bit of strategy involved in it. As a keen player of board games I am struggling to think of another game like it on the market. Overall I give this game 4 out of 5 only due to its complex nature and you do need to take the time to read all the game rules first. This is definitely a game that will be played again and again and will stand the test of time. Now all I need to do is to arrange the next games night.
Available to buy from Amazon here.