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Board Game Review: ‘Captain Treasure Boots’

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Cheapass Games is a company with a particular perspective on board games: make them fun and make them cheap. The idea of reusing standardized gaming parts such as dice and icons has made Cheapass a bastion of the print-and-play market, and its new games feature clever takes on gaming for not very much money. Captain Treasure Boots is part of this new lineup, offering its own take on the pirate genre.

captaintreasurebootsThe box comes with four boards, instructions, and a set of punch-out tokens for a low $15. All players need to add are two 6-sided dice and a pad of paper to keep track of scoring. Since the tokens are simply icons, players could bring in their own small model ships for maximum fun in personalizing.

Gameplay is straightforward as the rules have been cleaned up and sharpened. Players arrange the boards in any fashion that they like, making a map of islands. Ships start at the named ports and venture out in search of bounty from the numbered islands. On each player’s turn, he or she rolls the dice. The difference between the two determines the direction of the wind, which affects how ships may sail. No ship can sail directly into the wind, but they may tack tangential to it at a cost, and ships going with the wind get a bonus.

The sum of the dice gives a number of treasure tokens to appear on the islands. The tokens come in a wide variety of red Guns, green Sails, blue Rum, yellow Gold, white Pearls, and black Privateers. Each gives a bonus, such as Guns giving a +1 to attacking another ship, Sails giving a +1 to movement, and Rum giving a +1 to defense. Privateers act as special ships that may be controlled when rolling doubles, while Pearls can be spent for a one-time bonus of any of the above.


With so many possibilities, each players’ strategy will be different. Some players may wish to load up on Rum and Sails, making them a strong and fast ship which can avoid conflict. Other players may want to become warships with plenty of Guns. Still other players might simply go for Gold or Pearls and try to rack up the points with clout alone.

While decking out one’s ship by collecting treasures is fun in itself, to win the game, a player must turn the treasure into points by returning to a named port. Each token unloaded from the ship is worth a point, but there is a bonus for unloading different types of treasure at the same time. This sets up a fascinating balance of improving one’s ship versus selling the treasure and gaining the points to win.

Captain Treasure Boots is a game for two to six players aged 12 and up. Games last about 40 minutes, making it perfect for those looking for quick strategy without too much fuss on theme. With so many possibilities for each action, it captures the sense of the untamed waters of the Seven Seas nicely.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.