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Pirates Of Penryn – An in depth look

I mentioned in my UK Games Expo Kickstarter Roundup that while I was at the event this year, during my lunch I was set upon by pirates. While my initial thought was that they had turned up for the Viking LARP, but not read any of the memo’s, it turns out they were a mother and son team peddling their wares. Amongst their wares was a board game called the Pirates Of Penryn, but sadly I was not able to play a game during the Expo. It took a few days and a bit of back and forth with e-mails, but Caitlin wrangled up a magic eye so that I may see a game in play and indeed take part, albeit virtually.

Check out the Pirates of Penryn Kickstarter campaign here.


  • Ages: (kids version) 9+, (normal version) 13+
  • No of players: 2-5
  • Average play time: 40+ minutes
  • Kickstarter end date: 23rd June 2018
  • Investment tiers: From £1 – £1000
  • Cost of a copy of the game: £29 (plus postage)


Each player starts with a rum runner; a small boat that travels quickly to transport goods to port from your galleon. Your rum runner should have some crew, maybe a bit of spare change and some rum. You then begin to head to a port, in order to sell your rum and gain some money. Your ship can move nine squares in any direction but cannot move directly against the wind. So if the wind is blowing Southward you cannot travel directly north, but you can move against the wind by heading north-west and then north-east to get to your destination. As you travel through the sea, you might go through a whirlpool, which could give you a boon or could put your quest in peril.

Whirlpool cards consequences can be avoided if one of your crew members has the right tattoo, or you have the right stats to get out of the situation. However, this will mean that you have to show some cards in your hand to other players, which may very well expose your weakness and invite other players to come and battle you. Going through a whirlpool can also activate the sea monster known as Morgawr.

As cute as Morgawr, looks she can be a complete menace to other players and it’s the player who activated her who gets to choose where she goes and therefore choose who she should harass. Morgawr can be persuaded to help you get into towns, or go closer to other players. If fed a barrel of rum, then Morgawr returns to her cave to “inspect” it, but if she is out of her cave then the players have the ability to raid her cave and gather any resource that she has taken or been given by other players.

If that is not enough strategy for you then remember as well as selling your own rum, you can raid other players boats and steal rum, crew or florins. Should you fail at plundering then you might leave yourself open to other players picking on you instead. The game ends when one player has no more rum to sell on their galleon; simply add up the number of florins to announce a winner.

Visuals & Verdict

There is no denying that the art style of Pirates of Penryn is charming. I love the cloth map, it’s not something that I have seen before and the quality of the print looks great. The cards are beautifully drawn and make sense as you have to juggle the space that is available in your hold.

I really like the game from what I played virtually. I can certainly see it appealing to everyone in the designated age ranges. The game does have some innuendo on the cards, which older players will get and should be missed by younger players. The balance of risk and reward certainly comes across as one of the most important parts of the game to understand. You can certainly play a session as a trader, but you can also play almost the entire game as a pirate, being a nuisance to everyone. There is a set of rules just for kids that eliminate the tide and make the game a bit simpler. Speaking of the tide, timing can be very important. If the tide goes out while you are in port, then you might well be stuck there for a whole turn, which could be beneficial since no one can attack you in port, but it could also give your opponents the edge.

I’d like to thank Caitlin and Matt for finding the time to show me through the game and battle the choppy waters of the internet. We certainly wish the team luck with their product; I really hope they are able to make it a reality. Sadly, I don’t have enough spare cash to buy a copy, but I have invested a little something in them.

Do you fancy a life of piracy on the Cornish waters? Then avast ye and set sail, trade in some rum for some florins, head over to their Kickstarter and buy yerself a copy of this game. Alternatively, you can invest less and grab a copy of their digital sea shanty album, which you can get a taster of on the Pirates of Penryn YouTube channel. As always you can give us some feedback via the comments section or over on Facebook or Twitter.


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