Minotaur Games: Pirate Loot – Review

March 24, 2016


Publisher Minotaur Games
Genre Card Game
Number of Players 2 – 4
Play Time 60 minutes
Initial Review Date 3/23/16
Last Updated 3/23/16

In pirate loot, each player is the captain of a ship and you are competing with other players to get enough treasure before anyone else. This typically involves messing with other players so that you won’t come in last place.


Each player will take one of the ship cards which will be used to hold your treasure during the game. The four faction cards are shuffled and a number of them are chosen at random equal to the number of players. The card(s) not chosen (if any) are then put aside and not used for the rest of the game.

Now that the pirate factions have been chosen, the draw deck is customized to only contain the pirate factions being used. These cards are thoroughly shuffled and split into two even piles. The “Set Sail” draw card is placed on top of the bottom pile and then the cards are re-stacked so that the card is now in the middle of the deck.

Five cards are dealt to each player and a number of loot cards are randomly selected, equal to the number of players minus one. These cards form a loot pile.

Game Play

Once setup is done the start player will play a pirate card. The pirate card will either have an immediate effect, an ongoing effect or no effect at all. After the card is resolved, you draw back up to five cards and the next player goes.

As the game progresses, your pirate cards will match to form “crews”. A crew consists of all of the cards you have played of a particular faction. So you can have one crew of each faction in play. Once the set sail card turns up, each player gets a chance to play one last card and then the loot gets divided.

Loot Division and Scoring

Each player selects their strongest crew (the other crews that player has assembled only matter for breaking ties). Then the player with the strongest crew gets to look at the loot stack and pick one loot card to keep. The loot stack passes to the next strongest player until there are no more loot cards. This means that each round one player will not get any loot cards. This player becomes the new start player.

Once the loot cards are distributed, each player counts up their loot to see if they have enough loot to win. The amount of loot required depends on the number of players and how long or short you want the game to be.

If a player has the amount of loot they need, then they win.If no one yet has the needed loot then a new loot stack is created, all of the draw cards are reshuffled (with the set sail card again going in the middle) and each player gets dealt a new hand.


The game is a decent light heated game. It’s easy to pick up and easy to teach. The artwork is colorful and entertaining. Also, since there are different combinations of pirate factions possible (in 2 and 3 player games) it has pretty good re-playability. However, the game is highly luck based. This becomes less of an issue when you have 3 to 4 players. But with only two players it’s glaring since you will constantly be at the other player’s throat. A bad draw spells doom for a player.

The game also has a balance issue. Though the game presents going first as an advantage, it is actually a disadvantage. A large number of cards allow you to kill and/or steal other players pirates. If you go first not only will you have no pirates to target at first, but whatever you play immediately becomes a target for other players. This means that a few bad hands can cause you to have a miserable time since you will constantly feel picked on, while simultaneously being unable to do anything in retribution.

It’s a fun game, but these flaws make the game much less fun than it could of been.

 Minotaur Games: Pirate Loot – Review
Minotaur Games: Pirate Loot (6 player expansion) – Review

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