My kids never got into Pokémon or other card sets, but a few years back I discovered the Pirate Constructible Strategy Game cards from WizKids and picked up a few sets for them to try. The first thing I liked about it was that fans of the game would make their own playing surfaces — ranging from a square of wave-pattern fabric from Wal-Mart to a full-fledged Skull Island carved from Styrofoam. Of course, the constructible aspect — the cards have punch-out parts you put together to build 3-D ships — was also a big selling point with my Legomaniacs.
Here you can see the playing surface my younger son made out of a cardboard box, some paper mache and latex paint. The holes are whirlpools that act like wormholes, sucking up a ship in one spot and depositing it out the other end in another part of the ocean. There are also some islands and a few sea monsters; the Kraken can actually "swallow" an unsuspecting ship. Each pack comes with teeny-tiny dice and gold coins, so that it only takes one pack to start playing. Of course, you can add on endlessly. Here is 15-year-old John’s description:
The game’s object is to go to different islands to collect booty, all included with every pack, and to destroy other ships. (Me and my brother just make giant fleets and destroy each other.) It doesn’t stop at pirate ships though: there are different factions divided by country or group, such as English and Cursed. (A zombie Davy Jones leads the undead faction based on the Pirates of the Caribbean
films.) Some series also have Forts, Sea Monsters, Submarines, and other ship types. There is also a minor educational value, as the early series were based on periods in the 1800s, covering the American revolution and the War of
Aside from that, I think it’s a creative game, though I’m now a bit more into their Star Wars version. (I’ve been working out a way to combine the two games.) Packs run about $4, but you can also find $10 boxed starter sets and $15 tins with everything you need to start a game at your Pirate Party. Yarrg!