Today is March 25th, so you know what that means: Pirates!*
*every day means pirates
"The pirate captain caught some of his treacherous crew trying to steal his treasure and is making them walk the plank. Knock the other players off their planks and feed them to the sharks before they do the same to you! Be the last pirate standing to win!"
...which raises the question of how the pirate captain plans to handle the ship single-handed.
Set Name: Pirate Plank
Set Number: 3848
Theme: Lego Games
Year Released: 2010
Number of Pieces: 122
Price: €12.99 on Lego.com, €11.99 locally
Still in it's shrink-wrap, sealing in all that delicious scurvy. Why the two pirates couldn't play the game with the board inside their boat is beyond me. Still a nice-looking box, though. I didn't photograph the box sides because there's nowt interesting on them, just the logo and variations on the same picture. 2-4 players, ages 7+, time to play 10-20 minutes which is probably about right.
The usual alternate image, functional close-ups and the blurb and contents in four languages. Despite being a second-wave game, the contents still refer to the die as a "dice" - UHRR! This alternate image is used in other places too, and has a slightly different cannon build. The one on the front, and in the instructions, is much better so this is probably just a mistake.
Here's the precious treasure itself: a 16x16 blue baseplate, a little bag of little stuff, a big bag of big stuff, the trademark DIE, an instructions book (bottom) and a rulebook (top). I quite like the uncluttered image on the instructions booklet, it makes the other images seem so crowded and headache-inducing.
Okay, the rulebook page isn't quite random, I deliberately flicked to the English section. These two pages are all the rules for the game, though there is a third page overleaf that suggests some rules variations, if the actual game gets dull. The instructions book has no piece callout but doesn't really need it, and there aren't any colour differentiation issues because there aren't many colours in the set. It's very direct and easy to use.
A list of other cheap-end games on the rulebook, and the usual ad on the instructions. I have no idea what those three kids are looking at, but it must be absolutely fascinating.
Here's the treasure listing.
And here's the treasure. As is usual for a set in the Games theme, you'll get oodles of a couple of different parts but not a huge variety overall.
It's hard to tell from this photo - and I took a bunch, with this being the best - but these two white 2x4 plates look completely different to the naked eye. The one on the outside has a slightly different hue, its features (such as the word "LEGO" on each stud) are more sharply defined, and even the shadow it casts is more solid. Fortunately, they're not adjacent to each other in the finished build.
A closer inspection reveals different numbers on the undersides. I don't know if this means anything to anybody.
Here are some of the cooler bits. Some gold bits, including nine round studs - these are probably common, but they're the first ones I've ever owned, so yay! Two pirate tiles, a black 2x2 jumper plate, the die, and two wrenches for wrenching the plates off said die. Dunno why they gave me two, you only need one, but it's not extra; it's listed in the inventory. Maybe incase I lose one, which would be a disaster - the things are absolutely essential for working that die.
Here are the five pestilent planktreaders, with some normal-sized figs for scale. The captain's black base throws his skin colour off, unfortunately; I've named him Paleface the Pirate as a result. Not sure if he's fit for command, but if the other crewmen were willing to board a ship kitted out with four times the usual number of death planks, they must have known he was a few pieces-of-eight short of a... eight. They seem determined to meet their grisley fates as defiantly as possible, except the tan guy with the beard, who seems quite mellow about the whole ordeal. Note the foot printing, which the Wave 1 microfigs didn't have.
I quite like this guy. If anyone's looking to make some Pirates of the Caribbean MOCs, I think he might make a good Marty. And, with just a couple of tiny, unnoticeable modifications...
... he can even use a sword!
There are sixteen stages in all. Here, the planks have just been added. They're supported by blue columns in the water which aren't really that noticeable.
The gold elements have just been added.
His ship finally built, Paleface can finally get down to business: Killing his crew! He even has a cannon trained on them. Frankly, they're a lot safer with the sharks.
A nice hoard for a set this size. Dunno about everybody else, but I absolutely love getting loads of spare bits in sets. I like them even more than the set itself sometimes.
Right, me mateys, we're ready for off. The object, as you might have guessed, is to not get eaten by a shark. Rolling the die determines who moves how many studs in which direction. That's all there is to it: The four pirates, the four planks, and the die. The ship, Paleface, the sharks - that's all just window dressing with no effect on the game. Note that the die is almost blank, except for the Jolly Roger side. It gets assembled during the game. And disassembled afterwards, every time. Remember what I said about the wrenches being essential? Darn right they are.
I don't have anybody to play this with yet, but I'll give it a shot myself. I can't possibly lose, right? I'll start from the left, beginning with Tan.
He rolls a blank - big surprise, there's only like five of them. When that happens, you get to choose a 1x1 tile belonging to one of the other pirates and stick it on that side of the die. If you roll a side with colours on it, you get to choose one of those colours and move the pirate forward one stud. Because he's a sadistic sea rat, he targets Red, the guy next to him. Turn finishes, Red's up!
Red rolls a skull and crossbones! That gives him two choices; either he can move himself back two spaces, or move any other pirate forward one space. Well, it's too early to move back. Only one thing to do, then...
Step forward, Tan, you backstabbing barrelfloater! Is "barrelfloater" a pirate insult? No? Where did I get it from?
... and gameplay basically continues like that, punctuated frequently by long, sonorous "arrr!s" and alliterative airfoulers (curses, for those of you not in the pirate mood yet) until three players are shark fodder.
The game can fit back into the box mostly assembled, you just have to take the masts off. It gets quite messy in there, with the loose tiles running around. Also, rather oddly, the rulebook is too big for the box and must curl up at one side.
And that's pretty much it. Can't really tell how much fun it is without playing it against someone, but it seems like pretty simple stuff. Fortunately, you get to make pirate noises while playing, which always instantly adds 600% extra awesomeness to any game. Even so, it's probably not something you'd play over and over unless you have really young kids to play with.
Building was actually quite enjoyable, seeing an ickle pirate ship slowly form from this nondescript pile of bricks... okay, so that applies to every single Lego set in existence, but this is an ickle pirate ship. It looks good at this scale, and Paleface looks very cute in his oversize hat. It wasn't a boring build either, and didn't take long. And now I have lots of gold studs and 1x1 flat tiles for building other stuffs with.
Design: 8/10 The game elements use the absolute bare minimum of parts, which probably let the designers go nuts with the aesthetics. It's a very nice little ship.
Parts: 7/10 Functional, with multiples of a small number of parts, as is the norm with Games sets. I like the pirates. Not as much as the mummies, but they're still awesome.
Build: 8/10 Like I said, I really enjoyed this, short and sweet though it was.
Playability: 8/10 Well, it's a game, so playability's a given, but it seems like a game that won't hold the attention span for long. Fortunately, pirates are involved.
Price: 8/10 Seems good value for that price, though aside from the microfigs, the elements themselves aren't a very interesting lot. This is my first blue baseplate, though.
Total: 75% It probably won't hold the attention for that long but should make for some interesting builds once disassembled..
Thanks for reading!
Edited by WhiteFang, 28 March 2010 - 05:03 PM.
Indexed and poll added