I received my P500 copy of Winds of Plunder (WoP) a couple of weeks ago and have been itching to get it to the table. Finally had the opportunity to play a couple of times last weekend. Once with Jill, Caleb and Tristan; the other with our friends Bob and Julie. WoP is a euro-style board game about pirates in the Caribbean.
I enjoyed both playings and it appeared that everyone else did as well. Although enjoying the game, Jill felt it ran too long and should end at turn 6 or 7 rather than at 9. Each turn is divided into 2 parts. In the first, everyone votes for the direction of the wind and in the 2nd, each player takes a turn sailing to a new port based on the direction of the wind. It’s a bit of set collecting in some ways as you get points for accomplishing different goals — be the first to visit all 3 ports in a region and you get 7 points; increase your points payout at the end for every 3 weapons or 2 crew or every provision collected; etc.
Although it should play in 60 to 90 minutes, one reason it may feel a little long is the repetition. There isn’t a lot of variety in your turns. Most of the game is spent racing around the board trying to maximize your points (e.g., get to a port worth a lot of points this turn before someone else) and the primary sources of variation are the changing port tiles (when someone goes to a port, they collect the points and resources of the tile at the port and then exchange it for the next available tile — so the tiles are constantly moving around the board) and the action cards you can collect and use during the game. The cards add a little flavor to the game and generally help a little or hurt someone else a little. But there is nothing really nasty that can be done to another player in the game (unless, of course, all the other players went after the same person :).
It’s enjoyable but will require more plays to see if has some depth or not. For now, it’s a nice, light pirate game that’s not all that mean — and that’s a good thing at times. With this, Pirate’s Cove, Loot, Cartagena and a couple of others, I have plenty of games for a completely pirate-themed game day on ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ this year!