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Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracy - 2nd Printing

Regular Price: $60.00
On Sale For: $35.00





One of the most popular, and successful, Avalon Hill games of the late 1980's was Blackbeard, a pirate game totally different from any others available because it simulated the actual life and careers of historical pirates, and how they went about their chosen professions.

Richard Berg has now taken the original and redesigned it, almost entirely, to bring it into line with what gamers like to see and play these days. All those pirates you loved - Black Bart Roberts, Long Ben Avery, Ned Lowe, L'Ollonais, and, of course, Edward Teach (Blackbeard) - 23 in all, are still there, as are the King's Commissioners sent out to stop them. However, the entire play system has been overhauled, and the result is a game that highlights and specializes in player interaction, with almost no down time for any players.

Players represent individual pirates, using them to gain Victory Points by amassing booty and, even more importantly, earning Notoriety for their dastardly deeds. Seizing merchants with cargo ranging from useless paper to the monumental treasure of the Mughal emperors, attacking and sacking ports, fighting storms and scurvy, seeking safe haven in infamous pirate ports such as Tortuga and Madagascar, and, hopefully, using Letters of Marque to retire successfully.

And while the player is doing this, all of the other players, at the same time, are playing their cards and seizing opportunities to stop the pirates. There is a constant interplay among players, and you never know what is going to happen when you set out to do something.

We've simplified movement (no more hexes) and ship battles, w'eve expanded the use of Royal Navy warships, we've even added individual hostages! (Yes, there is a "Governor's Daughter".)

Here are some comments from the horde of playtesters - Blackbeard received the largest playtester request response of any game I have ever designed, both on Consimworld and The Boardgame Geek - that have been swabbing the cardboard decks for several intense and inventive months:

"I do like it- moves fast, improvements such as ease of placing ships a help, love the anti-pirate possibilities." (Katharine Bartlett)

"The original Blackbeard was a flawed success. The new version has addressed all these concerns and improved game play while streamlining the mechanics (no mean feat) . . .the new rules make teaching the game fairly painless. The elimination of 'Game turns' while introducing anti-pirate actions has worked out very well. Instead of sitting around waiting for their next turn, players are required to pay attention to what everyone else is doing and pounce on any opportunity that arises to 'mess' with their opponents' plans. . . . The game came in under three hours. Play was, as usual, fast and smooth. Originally, I was playing the game to test it. Now I want to continue to play it because it's a fun time." (David Klempa)

"Mechanics are much tighter and there is a better balance between the differing strategies…Would we buy - yes by all three - amazing considering one is a pongo (Brit navy slang for an army officer)" (Kevin Grimsley)

Blackbeard is designed for 2-5 players, along with specific rules for solitaire play. Playing time, as noted above, for a full game has been three hours.

Game Components

  • 2 Decks of 110 marvelously illustrated cards
  • One 33"x22" era-evocative game-map
  • One sheet of counters, including doubloons
  • Rules
  • Ship Log Sheets
  • Play Aids

    Game Designer: Richard H. Berg
    Game Developer: Neil Randall


  • Customer Reviews
    # of Ratings: 12
    1. on 9/3/2017, said:
    What a hidden gem of a game. Admittedly the rule book does take some reading and comprehending. However, once the background of the game starts building up, it becomes a real exciting game. Travelling around the Caribbean looting merchant ships, taking hostages or torturing them for port information, fighting off the British Navy or Kings commissioner ships, try to slow down your pirate opponents and a whole stack of events coming your way including scurvy. It's definitely not for under 15’s due to it’s complexity. This game needs a steady introduction from a player who knows the rules and tactics. Perhaps for starters, play a simple game without warships and Kings commissioners. I might even put a few simple Youtube demos online if anyone’s interested? Haven’t played the solo game yet, but I’m sure it’s just as good.
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    (2 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
    2. on 1/3/2017, said:
    I have had a lot of fun soloing this game using both the official solitaire rules and my own means for handling a full pirate crew at the table. The game uses a card-driven event focus, however, it is very clear that there's a strong push your luck element that you can't ever really shake. Your precious pirates may do well with earning that lovely booty, but certainly at risk. There's an entire sea filled with fellow scoundrels looking to thwart what you've done. While I love the interactions and actions that take place within the various ports and located across the map, there is one aspect I'm not so fond of when it concerns player versus player interaction: that which the non-active players can do on an active player's turn. Virtually every action you may take on your turn can be interrupted by another player's hidden event cards. There are limits per turn, but nevertheless, they are frustrating and apt to slow the game down. I understand their purpose thematically, but it's hard to enjoy it when I'm forced to pause every action to expect the certain "wait a minute"-s to come. All-in-all, the game's great. A heck of a lot of fun. Those off-turn options, though, are a bit annoying.
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    (5 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
    3. on 3/30/2013, said:
    The game of high-level simulation of the golden age of piracy. Rob the merchant ship and run to safe retirement with loot! Never try to fight the royal navy!
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    (1 people found this comment helpful, 4 did not)
    4. on 10/3/2012, said:
    I have only played the solitaire version and I really like it. Great artwork, well-organized rulebook.
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    (8 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
    5. on 6/6/2012, said:
    A very disappointing game. After reading how great the original version was I decided this version was a good bet. Therefore, I purchased the game to play with my teen and preteen nephews. Unfortunately, they quickly lost interest. How can a game about pirates be boring to young boys? This game was. This is not the first Richard Berg design I have been disappointed in. Perhaps he is resting on his laurels?
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    (7 people found this comment helpful, 11 did not)
    6. on 8/12/2011, said:
    Excelent pirates game!!! the rules are a little difficult but that's doesn't matter, when you finally play this you'll feel like an old sea dog!!
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    (5 people found this comment helpful, 5 did not)
    Showing comments 1-6 of 6