Sunday, January 16, 2011

Just Gaming Around - Flying Pirates (Family Game Review)

Today I have something quick and fun. My friend Wes brought a couple of kids games with him last weekend. In fact, he was playing one at the kitchen table with my kids when I returned home from the grocery store and it looked like they were having a lot of fun!

As soon as I got settled in my son challenged me to a duel! The game was called Flying Pirates! Arrrrrr!

It involves shooting your pirates using a small gray cannon and launching them at your opponent's ship such that they attach themselves to the sails and eventually cause it to tip it over and sink. When this happens, you win! Here's a pic of my friend Chris and my son playing:

Black Pirate DeFrisco battles Yellow Scurvy Jacob to the death!

This is a terrific game for kids vs. adults as much as kids vs. kids (and even adults vs. adults!). Who doesn't like to pretend to be a pirate once in a while! Anytime you can find a game where kids and adults compete equally there is a great opportunity of fun for all.

The setup involves placing the base down and standing the ships up. They can be a little sensitive and some owners of this game have had to use a rubber band to get them to balance a bit better. But once it's set up it's ready to go.

Then, you grab your cannon and your crew of pirates and start launching by placing a pirate into the cannon and pressing the button to shoot. Be sure to aim carefully!

Sticking out your tongue improves accuracy!

You want to land the pirate on the other player's ship (the one closest to you) and not on your own. You may need to move the cannon closer or further, or adjust the angle a bit. There's not a lot of play for the angle, but you can aim it somewhat.

You will notice as each pirate lands on the ship it will start tipping it forward towards you. If the other player gets a pirate on, it will tip back the other way's a bit like a carefully balanced see-saw. You also have to be careful not to get a pirate too far back on the ship as it might push it the other way a little, thus impeding your progress.

The pirates are solid plastic and just the right size and weight. And they have hooks in their hands to help them catch the sails. The pirate shape reminds one of those monkeys from the game "Barrel of Monkeys" although these are designed at their base to fit into the cannon for easy launching.

Now, you likely won't find this particular game in stores new as it originally came out in 1990. However, there is another game with a similar mechanic called Flippin' Frogs where you launch frogs into a tree that is magically spinning - first one with all their frogs in the tree wins. This game is readily available and just as much fun. Otherwise, you will need to head to your local Goodwill or St. Vinny's to find a used copy, if you're so lucky as to spot it.

There's something to be said for dexterity games like this. They are easy to get into, they attract attention, and they allow for fun competition for kids and adults. And, if you sit yourself down and actually play them, you will find them addictively fun!

Now go play a game with your kids!

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