Bluffing games and deduction games are widely popular nowadays. It was very recently where it seemed every game had one or both of these aspects in them. After awhile, you start to compare which ones you should keep and theme can keep them in your collection. Well here is a pirate theme one and while I don’t care about pirates, I had to give this a try.
Aaarrgghhhh, be my matey after the jump!
Oh Captain! has everyone taking the pirate role. The ship has crashed on an island and the captain orders his explorers (pirate crew) to go into a cave and get the goods. Eventually the nomads will come and whoever has the most gold wins.
Each explorer starts with a gold purse card and three gold coins while the captain has five coins. On an explorer’s turn, they draw one card from the neat cave standee. At this time, they decide what they will tell the captain it is from five different items. The captain can either buy the card for one coin or let the explorer keep and use it.
Here are the main five cards and their actions…
- Lizard – Steal a coin from a player.
- Musket – Discard another player’s card.
- Grappling Hook – Steal a player’s card.
- Lantern – Flip-Up another player’s facedown card.
- Nukha Egg – Negative 1 point per egg at end of game.
*The other two cards in the game are purses which are just points & Nomad/End card.
When the captain decides to buy the card, he pays one coin and flips it over to reveal what card they actually got. If the explorer was telling the truth, the captain can use the action of the card, otherwise, they just keep the card in front of them as loot.
When the captain decides to let the explorer keep it, they keep the card facedown and use the ability of what they said the card is on another player of their choice (you can never target the captain). At this point, the targeted player can either let the card action happen or challenge it. If they challenge it, the card is flipped over to see what it is. If the attacker was truthful, they fulfill the card’s ability and steal a coin from the target for doubting their integrity. If the attacker was lying, they keep the card face-up, not use the ability, and give one coin up to the targeted player. How dare they lie about their treasures, right?!
The captain isn’t always safe though. At the start of an explorer’s turn, if they have more coins than the captain, they may pledge support (by donating one coin to captain) or mutiny (by taking the captain bottle and a gold coin from the bank). So anyone can be a captain if they get the money for it.
There are some additional tweaks to the gameplay. Everyone has a special ability and whoever has the most Lizards, Muskets, or Grappling Hooks at the end of the game gets four coins each. I’ve played it a few times and haven’t noticed any abilities being overpowered despite them seemingly like they would be.
First things first, the packaging is absolutely on point. Presentation on how the box opens is off the wall. Expect a video soon on this because it is well done. All the pieces and components are well made, fit perfectly in the box, and even comes with shiny card backs. The first player/captain token is a plastic bottle with a rolled up paper in it. Could’ve easily been a cardboard token but this makes it stand out. Components definitely exceed the price with this game.
The game is more than the pieces in the box, it is similar to Sheriff of Nottingham but it is more streamlined. At first it may seem bare bones on what you do, but trying to scheme with bluffing on the card you want to use but making sure the captain doesn’t want it can be challenging. This game gets straight to the bluffing and talking which is what you want in these types of games.
Though the rulebook doesn’t say, I am curious how the game would lend to “house rules” of bribing the captain to take a card or not take a card. It might not work since currency limit is pretty low but it would be interesting to try after you’ve played the game quite a lot.
My only negative thing would be that it can initially come across as shallow at first and that could turn people off. Here is a game where you just draw a card and claim what it is. But the depth in that action can grow the more you play. I see people’s brain gears turning more and more when it gets closer to the end of the game.
Oh Captain! is a very fun, blufffing, card game. I am hesitant to label it a party game but I supposed it is light-hearted enough to fit the bill. There’s no walking the plank but this is one booty that I’d be happy to share with others!
Genre: Bluffing/Card Game
Player Count: 3-6
Duration: 30+ minutes