Mint Tin Pirates Overview

This is one of two posts which are identical in some parts. They are meant to provide background to game reviewers who have offered their valuable time to take these games for a spin and share their thoughts about them. This one is for Pirates and the post for Aliens is over here.

The Story

learn-more-piratesTwo pirate galleons cross paths and a battle is launched!

All ye scurvy dogs on deck!

But rough seas mean that a little luck goes a long way.

Cannons do the greatest damage, that is when their powder isn’t wet or they don’t miss. But cannons take long to load and you’ll be able to do more attacks by tossing hand mortars, throwing dirks, or firing flintlock pistols.

But those aren’t the only tricks these pirate captains have!

Summon a lost pirate from the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker or even persuade an enemy pirate to join your crew!

And, even in the heat of battle, fate can smile down upon this lowly lot and uncover treasure! No pirate can resist treasure – especially if it contains voodoo that helps them fight!

Once you destroy the pirate enemy, you’ve won! Or have you?

The Pirate Ghost gives one last chance and can be a formidable opponent!

Who’s This For

This light and fast game is great when you and a friend (or pirate enemy!) have a few minutes to burn when ordering lunch, hanging out waiting for others, in the kitchen cooking with family, or even camping.

The play is easy and allows for conversation.

Casual is what this is all about and 10 minutes is all you need. Avast, ye matey!

How It Plays

Game setup is quick with players choosing a color and a matching galleon card. Each player takes their pirates and places them on their galleon. Place the pirate ghost and the gold treasure between the galleons.

Roll the kraken bone dice to see who’s first and shuffle the cards well. Deal 5 cards to each player, face down, and prepare to attack!

Each player can discard 2 cards at the start of each round to try to make a better hand. Pairs attack and a gold doubloon acts as a wild card.

mortarCards also tell you how many of that one are in the deck and its chances of success with markings in the top right.

When you play a pair, see if your attack is successful by rolling the dice. If your roll’s total matches any of the card’s bottom numbers, you succeed!

A pair of knives claims an enemy pirate that you place at the bottom of the sea next to your galleon. Same for a pair of pistols and hand mortars. Hand mortars have better odds than knives and pistols.

A cannon attack is slow but powerful. Odds are that you’ll damage their ship and send an enemy pirate to the watery depths of Davy Jones’ Locker! A successful cannon takes an opponent’s pirate and also moves their damage counter.

Place any pirates you claim to the side of your galleon, laying down. Arr, ’tis a hard life at sea!

Use a gold doubloon to complete a pair but use it wisely to the best advantage.

A pair of Davy Jones’ Locker cards can reclaim any lost pirate and place them as part of your fighting crew on your galleon.

A pair of treason cards claims an opponent’s pirate as one of your own, but this is a rare feat to pull off.

Luck isn’t only about how accurate your attacks are – rolling doubles claims the gold even if your opponent already snagged it! And gold brings you good fate in the form of an additional card to play with. But . . . lose the gold and you lose the extra card too.

The first to lose all of their crew, but still be afloat, gets a last chance with the Pirate Ghost!

Many a fierce sea battle has been won by the Pirate Ghost, even though it has less resources, so be ye warned!

Be ye a clever pirate captain and read the game’s enclosed instructions to get all of the specifics. =)

Ending the Game

This is easy! The first to lose all of their crew, even the Pirate Ghost, loses the battle. Also, if your galleon sinks, you lose!

But only this battle, your paths may cross again . . .

Interrupted Early?

If your lunch burrito arrives too soon and the battle isn’t over, you can still determine who the winner is. Each standing pirate, even the Ghost Pirate, is worth 2 victory points. Each pirate you have claimed is worth 1 point. Add a point if you have the gold.

What’s Next?

A Kickstarter scheduled for September 30th and possibly making this game available to purchase online.

There are no current plans to distribute this via game distributors, but retailer packages will be available for friendly local game stores (flgs!). That’s partly to keep the price low and because these are “homemade”.

Games will also be donated to shelters, hospitals, and charity auctions.

Games can lift the human spirit, imo.  =)


This game was born from a lunchtime conversation with Stephen Langs who also happens to be my kid’s books illustrator. I happened to have a couple of meeples and dice in my pocket (doesn’t everyone?) and we challenged each other to come up with pirate-themed games.

We both came up with fairly different games, so why aren’t both here? Two words – manufacturing logistics.

The “normal” process for games is to source game manufacturing overseas and that makes sense on some levels. It costs about 40% what it does to have it made domestically and someone else is doing all the labor!

But that also means ordering a decent quantity of games – on the order of several thousand! Even with the savings in cost, that’s a lot of cash to come up with.

I believe that a small game like Mint Tin Pirates can be made at home, a la Maker Movement if you like.

The key is to source materials that are readily available. No custom printed boxes, no custom die-cut parts, but things like dice, cards, and meeples. Luckily, custom playing cards are fairly affordable, even in small quantities.

It’s all been sourced as much as possible in the US and the suppliers can meet the hopefully successful Kickstarter demand.

Full Kickstarter copies of the game went out this week to reviewers here in the US and Canada.  =)

About Me

Well, I’m David and my inner child runs free and far. I was born in Quebec and have lived in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Ontario, Texas, and Florida. I’m now in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and aspire to be an author. A kids’ book author, of course. =)

I have 5 books written for 7 to 9 year olds and the first will be published in November. Through these books, I developed a friendship with Stephen, my illustrator, and he’s quite the board game resource it turns out! Since I’m self-publishing the books, I thought why not do the same with games.

I’ve been a secondary school teacher, college professor, volunteer firefighter & paramedic, geologist, and now an eLearning developer. As the last, I’ve spoken at some conferences about the use of Second Life/OpenSim as a 3D graphics tool to create training videos.

What attracts me to games is the the escape they provide and the chance to connect with people on a true one-to-one basis. In today’s often hectic world, being able to slow down and enjoy the company of a friend can be a challenge – I hope these little games can help provide that opportunity.  =)


Past blog posts have pics of both Mint Tin Pirates and Mint Tin Aliens being played in Portsmouth. All photos on the blog are free to use with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (there’s no need for attribution though).

Gameplay videos will also be placed online for the Kickstarter as well as kooky vids showing the tins being run over by my little Scion! =D