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"Be the best, unlock the chest - but be sure not to wake the pirate's rest!"
This fun 2-4 player game from Tomy for ages 4+ comes in a brightly coloured box which shows three delighted children playing the game and features said pirate (Black Beard) leaping out of a treasure chest filled with gold which is also spilling out!
The contents of this game consists of a game board, depicting the island surrounded by blue waters, a sturdy treasure chest (in which Black Beard is attached to the bottom of the chest) which is pressed down into place before the game starts, 24 gold coins which must also be deposited in the chest before play commences, five coloured keys and one larger silver key with a skull and crossbones atop it. There are also six barrels with which to hide the keys and a dice with corresponding coloured circles on as well as a whirlwind symbol (explained further down).
The object of the game is to be the first player to collect 6 gold coins and the quickest way to do this is to have a good memory and a bit of luck in not disturbing Black Beard whilst pilfering the gold from underneath his very nose!
Basically all the keys are hidden under the barrels which are then mixed up so no one knows which key is under which barrel. Then the dice is rolled. Whatever colour comes up you have to pick a barrel and hope that the corresponding coloured key is beneath said barrel. If it is you can unlock the treasure chest carefully and remove one cold coin. If the colours do not correspond then you have to return the key to the barrel from whence it came. Now all players know where one of the coloured keys are so if the next player is lucky enough to roll THAT colour and can remember where it is, hey presto, they too can obtain the much coveted treasure and so the game goes on.
If a player uncovers the skull and crossbones key in their search, then they must unlock the chest with it and hold their breath, as this key is the one that can alert Black Beard the pirate to your thievery! If this happens, he springs up from the treasure chest scattering the coins out too as he does so. That player must then return any coins he or she has already collected to the box and start again. The silver key must be returned under the barrel again and the barrels mixed up and play starts again.
The remaining symbol on the dice is meant to denote a whirlwind. If this is thrown then the barrels need to be mixed up again as long as they have not just been mixed up or if this is thrown on the very first go of the game. If this happens you must throw again.
I really enjoy playing this game with my children and they also love it. We also have the pop up pirate game where swords are used (reviewed separately) and this game has the same premise but with the added benefit of testing and improving your child's memory as at times you may have gotten to see where anywhere up to 5 coloured keys are hidden and you have to see if you can remember which colour was where when you throw the dice.
Again, I am not a big fan of being made jump but the kids love it when the pirate explodes from the chest although they don't like the fact that they then have to put all their coins back in!
I also like the fact that the game tells a story, namely that the treasure belongs to the infamous Long John Silver who has left his trusted pirate, Black Beard to guard it and it is up to you to try to grab the gold. However, this is fundamentally stealing (whether or not Long John Silver stole it from someone else first) so also be prepared for discussions based on this especially if your children are older LOL!
This game does bring out their competitive streak but it is a nice, simple game that all ages can play and get something out of.
Be warned, when we first bought this, we had two keys of the same colour so ours had to go back so just check all is as it should be as soon as you get it home or ask to see the contents in the shop if they are willing just to be on the safe side. We took ours back to the shop and they didn't have any more available at that time. We have however, obviously obtained it since and it does come off the shelf on a fairly regular basis even though my kids are now 7 and 6 and we bought this when they were 5 and 4 I think.
The only other downside of this game is that the silver key pretty much causes the pirate to pop every two goes and then every three goes and now the kids are older they count so they pretty much know exactly when the pirate is going to pop so that rather takes away the element of surprise but that's kids for you (smartasses)! Also there are a lot of little bits that are integral to game play so you need to take care of them. It suggests in the instructions (and it IS a good idea) that once you have finished playing store all the coins, keys and dice in the treasure chest before putting back in the box as this way they are a lot less likely to get lost.
You might be worried that this is a game that could easily get broken but we have had this for a couple of years now and the key mechanism still works fine and nothing as yet is broken so it shows good design and durability too!
We bought this game from Toys R Us for £9.99 and I would definitely recommend this game to others.
Thanks for reading. X
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