Raiding Parties – if only we knew the rules

Another day, another pirate game.  Since the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies debuted, pirates have become bigger and bigger business.  Maybe not on par with zombies, but still large enough to encourage hundreds of game designers to produce games about them.  Why, just off the top of my head I can come up with a half dozen pirate games that are in my collection.  Enough with the pirates!  But to my door came a game about pirates, and far be it from me to refuse a game.  So it was to the gaming table to see what “Raiding Parties” was all about.

I opened the box and was confused… there were no instructions, but were two decks of playing cards.  Ok, there were instructions, but I didn’t find them at first and thus was confused.  The instructions are written on the front and back of three playing cards that are included inside the deck of cards.  With that mystery solved, it was onward to figure out “Raiding Parties”!  So I started reading the instructions aloud to myself and my opponent.  A couple minutes later we wiped the haze from our eyes and attempted to make sense of what we read.

A look at one of the crew cards available in the deck.  A look at one of the crew cards available in the deck.

This is a game with awful instructions.  Not quite “Blood-Red Banner” awful, but awful all the same.  The rules were not written in the most clear English available, and are very vague, leaving the player to have to jump to conclusions.  There was multiple times throughout the games we played where the situation we were in was simply not covered in the rules, and so we had to create a house rule.  I was flabbergasted and thus went to the Internet.  Surely this was just a case of an editor who chopped too much away to make it fit on those cards!

I started looking for an FAQ for the game in the most logical place first:  Usually FAQ’s can be found attached to the games information page, but this game didn’t have any such thing.  Not to be discouraged I kept digging, and went to a website listed on that page.  Unfortunately, that website was no longer in service.  So I started Googling.  This led me to a couple of things: the game’s kickstarter page, and its facebook fan page. But still I couldn’t find more information about the rules.  This was very frustrating, and so it was back to house rules we went.

So what is Raiding Parties?  It’s a pirate themed game where the last man standing wins.  Each player has a deck of pirate cards that they draft themselves using a point based system, that they then can draw from, and an alley that they play these cards into.  Once these cards are played out, they can attack each other with either projectile weapons, melee weapons, or with special abilities such as throwing grenades.   Once you have killed all the pirates in your opponents deck, it’s game over and you win.

One thing that I liked about this game was the “Hit The Deck” mechanic used in combat.  Remember me telling you that there were two decks of cards?  Well, the second deck is a regular deck of playing cards.  These are used to decide if attacks and special abilities are successful.  Each card lists what suit or type of card will be a successful hit.  For instance, grenades can be thrown on clubs.  So to use this ability, you declare the name of the ability, and who you are targeting, and then flip over the top card of the deck.  If you flipped a club, you successfully threw the grenades.  If it was anything else, then you failed.

These are the “Hit the Deck” cards used to decide if an attempt is successful.

The production quality in this game was also pretty good.  The cards were beautifully illustrated and are of a good stock.  However, the tokens that are used to keep track of hits were quite the opposite.  They were on very flimsy stock, and you had to cut them out yourself (not punch them out, but actually cut them out).  These felt particularly cheap next to the nice pretty cards.  If you do get this game, I suggest you swap these out with some other variety of attractive counter, because they degrade the whole feel of the game.

So the big question becomes, was it fun?  It could have been.  We were so flustered by the poor rules, that little  fun actually occurred, because we were constantly having to stop and negotiate on how to deal with a given situation that wasn’t covered or was ambiguous.  For this reason, this isn’t a game I can currently recommend.  However, if the publisher was to put out a detailed FAQ, or better yet, rewrites the rules in general to be more comprehensive, then I could potentially see this being a nice light game.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 2:01 pm and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Luck and Betting Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. Nick Pace says:

    Comment removed at Author’s request

  2. Comment removed at Author’s request

  3. Nick Pace says:

    Comment removed at Author’s request

  4. Comment removed at Author’s request

  5. Nick Pace says:

    Comment removed at Author’s request

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  7. Comment removed at Author’s request

  8. QueesteGeest says:

    I agree with the reviewer. The reviewer wrote a honest and constructive review… with no intend to ‘attack’ the game at all. Not sure why the game designer replied in such a blunt manner… I originally wanted to buy the game, while browsing for a review I landed on this page… now I have doubts. Not due to the game itself or the rules, but of the unpleasant tone of the replies of the designer. Just my two cents.

  9. QueesteGeest says:

    Here are some FAQ:

    Looks like a fun card game though.

  10. QueesteGeest,

    Thank you for the link to the FAQ! I’m glad to see that Nick took my advice and published one out.

  11. Nick Pace says:

    Sorry, about that little shock I experienced. I guess I was really hoping that you would LOVE the game, like the other people leaving BGG feedback- And then, BAM! Didn’t even get to play the game at all… It was mysterious to intake the fact that you had no idea how to play, which is kinda what the title implied. The “Hit the Deck Mechanic” is pretty much the bulk of it, but yes- I can see where the Melee Combats and turn sequences could be a little tricky to learn. Things will indeed be popping up on the internet to help out. So again, I am very sorry and apologize for pretty much everything I said that other day.

  12. Benny Aguirre says:

    Played the game. Love the game. Took all of 5-10 minutes to learn the game. Once getting involved and playing rules made plenty of sense. They’re not that hard to figure out, just don’t try to over complicate it by looking too far into it. It’s a simple quick fun game that even young kids are enjoying and understanding. If you are really having a difficult time figuring it out you might be trying too hard.Am looking forward to the follow up decks. Best thing about this card game is there are no booster packs that have to be bought though a second characters box adds to the fun of the game. The artwork alone is worth buying the box set.If nothing else go to where it is being played and check it out.

  13. Nick Pace says:

    This review has been one of my greatest learning experiences. My “hastened” reaction came out as is, lol, and I have had to work so hard to make up for it. I can honestly say thank you… Game Paradise for helping me grow. Set 2 has had you guys on my mind.

  14. Nick Pace says:

    And believe me, Mr. Pace’s rules will fully cover the situations from now on. 🙂 At least I feel like I got some much needed additional information out of you guys. Happy gaming!

  15. James says:

    “I opened the box and was confused… there were no instructions, but were two decks of playing cards. Ok, there were instructions, but I didn’t find them at first and thus was confused.”
    Gee, I did the same thing with another game that had an event deck you could purchase as an add-on. No instructions, oh wait, they were on a single card buried in the deck of 52 or so cards. And no it wasn’t easy to find, thumbed pass it many times, deck getting shuffled didn’t help. Don’t know why it pissed me off so much, but it did. I have a degree in math and computer science, so, I must be an idiot, too. The reply from the designer is so condescending not even going to research this game further.

  16. Nick Pace says:

    I am always so good to take advice, criticism, thoughts, and opinions. Any one who knows me knows this forum response was very uncharacteristic, although I obviously spoke my mind. It was a poor way to handle the test, and I hope readers can understand and forgive, because the game is VERY thoughtful. The rules are the last 3 cards in the deck, and set two will include a full rulebook. Once again thank you for the push to help me improve at all levels.

  17. QueesteGeest says:

    Nick Page was so courteous to sent me a copy of the game, and after checking out the updated rules I had a blast playing this game with my 7 year old daughter. Great game and friendly correspondence from the designer, Nick Page.

    Thanks! I would like to recommend this game for anyone who loves a non complicated card game with fantastic artwork. The rules are actually very logic, just imagine the fights, and the rules make lots of sense, so the game is easy to learn.

  18. Usually I am loathe to removed (not spam) comments from my blog. For me it’s a matter of journalistic integrity. “This is how it went down, and thus this is how it is immortalized” is often my stance. Mr. Pace has requested, repeatedly, that his earlier comments be removed. He has apologized and has made efforts to fix the problems previously stated in this blog. For one, he has revamped his website ( to include a more complete explanation of the rules.

    It is for this reason, that I reluctantly have bowed to his request and have removed the back and forth comments originally posted at the beginning of this comment section.

    Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone should be allowed the ability to apologize. Hope my readers understand.

    -Happy Gaming

  19. Nick Pace says:

    haha, you ratted me out. Oh the mystery now… what did Mr. Pace possibly say back in his youth? Anyways thank you. Really appreciate your efforts.

    Raiding Parties- Brethren of the Coast. Check it out, new and improved, Loads of fun! *Nice Rulebook included.

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