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Port Royal

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In the harbor of Port Royal life is bustling and you hope to make the deal of your life. But don't risk too much or your cargo holds will be empty. Don't forget to reinvest your profit to gain the favor of Governors and Admirals and to hire various other persons that can further your goals. Try to extend your influence and you might even be able to answer the call of one of the prestigious expeditions.

User Reviews (3)

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I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel
16 of 17 gamers found this helpful
“Set Sail for Fun!”

Port Royal takes place in the Caribbean Sea during colonial times. Players take on the role of a merchant who trades and deals in an effort to gain wealth and influence. This game is a little light on theme. The object of the game is to gain gold coins in order to hire persons and score victory points (VPs). The player with the most victory points (VPs) is the winner. Port Royal is for 2 to 5 players ages 8 and up and plays in about 30 minutes.

The components consist of 120 cards. The cards have colorful artwork, which is slightly cartoonish, and are of marginal durability. The cards have a picture of a gold coin on one side and pictures of ships or persons on the other side. The artwork is family friendly as there is no nasty or objectionable material. The rulebook is only a couple of pages, but well organized and written.

Set-up for Port Royal is lightning quick. Just shuffle the deck of cards and then deal three cards (coin side face up) to each player. The player who last visited a harbor is the starting player.

Each player in clockwise order becomes the active player. A player’s turn consists of the following two phases:
1. Discover
2. Trade & Hire

The active player draws cards to form the Harbor Display. The player continues to draw cards until either two ships of the same color are drawn or the player voluntarily stops drawing. During this phase a player can use the swords of the pirates and sailors he has hired to repel or discard ships as they are drawn. Cards which can be drawn include:

Ships – give gold
Persons – give special abilities and VPs
Expeditions – give bonus VPs if completed
Tax Increases – take gold from players with large amount of gold

The Trade & Hire phase begins once the active player has voluntarily stopped drawing cards. If the active player draws two ships of the same color, then he has busted and skips this phase. The number of cards the active player may take from the Harbor Display is dependent on the number of different color ships in the Harbor Display. Zero to three ships, the player may take one card. Four ships, the player may take two cards. Five ships, the player may take three cards. The active player Trades if he decides to take a ship card for the gold coins indicated on the card. The active player may choose instead or in addition(depending on the number of cards he can take) to Hire a person in the Harbor Display. The amount of gold coins required to hire a person is indicated on the card.

There are several different persons, such as Sailors, Pirates and Admirals to name a few, which will grant the player a special ability if they hire them. Pirates and sailors give swords used to repel ships; other persons give additional gold or allow a player to draw more cards from the Harbor Display. Each person is also worth VPs, ranging from 1 to 3, depending on the importance of the person. For example an admiral is worth more VPs than a sailor.

After the active player has taken his card(s), then each player in clockwise order may take a card too. These players pay a small nominal fee of one gold coin to the active player for the privilege of taking a card.

Once everyone has had a chance to take a card, any remaining cards are discarded and play proceeds clockwise to the next player. When a player reaches 12 VPs, then each player has one more turn and the game ends. Players then count VPs.

Port Royal is an easy game to learn and play. There is some strategy which may take a play or two to pick up. However, it is not much of a thinky type game so it is perfect to pull out after a long day of gaming.

Port Royal plays quick, with virtually no downtime. There are no unique or innovative mechanics in Port Royal. However, the game features a Press Your Luck mechanic which is fun and usually appeals to casual gamers. Stay away from this game if the Press Your Luck mechanic is not your thing.

Port Royal is a fun quick playing light game. The tension in the Discover phase during the draw is what this game is all about and can be killer! I highly recommend Port Royal for family and casual gamers.

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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Soccer Fan
Football Fan
Movie Lover
“Struck a Chord”

This is a fun little quick push your luck game with some interesting tableau building. Build up your Gold and hire towns people for special abilities. Hire Settlers, Priests and Captains to gain Mission cards for extra VP and Gold. The weight and length of the game are in perfect harmony. Great filler. This just struck a perfect Chord with me. I give this game a 10 by pure simplicity and genius design.

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4 of 11 gamers found this helpful

Initial impression: shuffling the 120+ cards in itself is not easy.
It is a deck builer, but the end game is so depressing. One player has 9 other 8 points and then it all depends on the luck of the draw.

Also the heart of the game, the manual, is atrociously written, unclear.
the traders cards feel unbalanced.

Gave it away and heard nothing about it.
Becomes stale very quickly.

The end game is similar to the pirate phase in Friday, in the sense that the table is filled with all kinds of cards – but at least in Friday most cards actually do stuff.


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