Game Review: Loot

FullSizeRender (44)During our trip to Fort Stevens recently we drove down to Seaside to have a look around since it had been a while since the last time we had been there. Plus we really wanted to play skeeball, and they have an arcade (aka in our family the Kid Casino) there that is pretty awesome! While we were walking around the Carousel Building, across the street from the arcade, we popped into the toy shop to have a look around. I am always on the hunt for new games and we came across Gamewright’s game called “Loot”. I hadn’t seen this one before and as it was a Mensa Select award winner (as well as picking up several other awards along the way) I decided it would be a good fit for us.

The game is considered a “plundering pirate” card game and when we brought it home my husband, who really does not at all enjoy a game (board, card or otherwise) was skeptical. Once we got in the throws of it, he had a change of heart!

Here are the specs quickly:

  • Recommended ages 10+
  • 2-8 players (when you have more than 5 players you can play as teams in groups of 4, 6, or 8)
  • Time required is about 20 minutes per game

FullSizeRender (42)The object of the game is to be the player with the most gold coins when the first player runs out of cards. You collect gold coins by taking other players ships (or battling to keep the ships you play from your hand). There are 4 pirate captains in the deck that help you win things outright in your attacks on other ships and one “admiral” that helps you defend your own ships if you have an especially good card. I am including a video below that shows play because I find the videos to be much better at explaining the details of game than I can in words. You can also find the directions on the link to Gamewright’s website above so you can suss things out ahead of time!

This is quickly becoming a favorite for our family and my son and I have a particular love of card games. This has been one that was easy for us to pick up and play. A few of the educational points include:

  • Basic math skills – you need to add and subtract your coins
  • Strategy – when do you play that pirate card in your deck? Which pirate ship card should you play first? Etc!
  • Dexterity – it is all about holding cards in hands which can be tricky for younger kids!
  • Accents – you are encouraged to talk like a pirate throughout your attacks!
  • Teamwork – if you are playing in teams you will have to work with another person to try and and win.

My son just turned 10 and I think he would have been fine trying to play this on his own for the last year (maybe 2). There is strategy involved in trying to win ships and when to play so depending on your kids ability there they might be fine with a younger age. We haven’t played as teams yet, but I am imagining this is a great way to help younger players learn how to play and to work on their strategy skills. They get to learn on the fly!

We look forward to playing as teams with friends because I think that will make it even more fun.

Our version comes in is a small tin box which houses everything. This is fantastic for our travel not only on airplanes but also in our trailer (it packs small, but the cards are full size so they are good for my big hands!). You can keep everything together easily and it is tidy – which is most excellent for my type-A personality! The graphics are nice and bright and the colors are easy to distinguish. Red/green color blind players might struggle a little bit as there are red/green/purple colors on the cards and no other distinguishing traits visible. We have color-blindness in my family so this is always an issue we face in trying to include everyone.

The version we have is the update to the 1992 version. The original version was more cartoony/charactiture-like. Our version looks a bit more modern in it’s design. If you are interested in seeing the differences, you can check out this video. The game plays the same no matter which version you have.


As I said above we are loving this game it will stay a traveling companion of our for the foreseeable future. My game-avoiding husband actually said he liked this one and sat through 3 rounds in a row. He doesn’t do that very often, so as far as I am concerned that speaks volumes! We highly recommend this for your family to play!

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