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I have spoken often about how good the majority of dvGiochi's DECKSCAPE game series is. There are many Pros and only one Con to these games, that Con being that most of us want to play them over again but obviously cannot because once a secret is known it is impossible to forget it. 

This game follows all of the rules of regular DECKSCAPE 'escape room' games. The rules and game cards are in the box in the correct numerical order from 1-64 but there is a significant difference this time.

The players, it works extremely well with 4 players - though any equal number can play - are not solving the clues as a cooperative. Instead they are split into two teams of Pirates - the Red team and the Blue team - and each has their own specific versions of the puzzles, the info being given on Red and Blue cards. I wasn't sure about an escape room style game being played with competing teams, but it totally works. 

Each of the starter cards, at the beginning, set the scene, and then it's off on the Jolly Ho Ho High Seas, each team in their own heavily rigged Galleon. There be treasure, there be (or is it over there be?). Somewhere there is an island (or islet) where Pirate treasure has been buried and it is just sitting there waiting to be found. But only one of the teams can discover it.

The DECKSCAPE and DECKTECTIVE games from dvGiochi are only playable once, you either succeed or you fail (though there are often degrees of both) but at around £8.00 - £10.00 each for a good hour's brilliant entertainment, they are so well worth playing.

An evening in the pub, a night at the theatre, a visit to the cinema, all of these things cost a lot more and at the end of them you have nothing but memories (except perhaps the time in the pub, when you may have stomach/throat/bum problems). The DECKSCAPE and DECKTECTIVE games are there for you to pass on to your gaming friends or add to a games club's library. £8.00 for 4-6 (or more) players to have an hour (or more if you enjoy a bit of banter around the table) of fun is amazingly good value.

The puzzles range from fairly easy to fairly difficult. It helps if you can get onto the same wavelength as the designers, M. Chiacchiera & S. Sorrentino, because there are a couple of problems where the answer can leave you confused or frustrated, or both, until it clicks, and then you get that 'lightbulb' moment.

Myself, my family. and my friends truly enjoy the DECKSCAPE and DECKTECTIVE games from dvGiochi and honestly recommend them. They are super for when you want an hour's play with no time lost on setting up a board and pieces etc. The box is just slightly larger than a regular 52-card deck of playing cards, but still fits most pockets and man/hand bags, so it is easy to carry with you everywhere you go (snorkeling may not be ideal though).

During play, the Pirate teams gain Gold and Silver coins by being the fastest to solve the puzzles correctly. So the first team to call out that they know the answer then speaks it aloud. If they are right they get the next card (which will be a treasure card) but if they are wrong - the answers are generally on the flip side of the clue/question card - the treasure card goes to the opposing team. So sometimes it may serve to take a moment longer to ensure your answer is perfect, but don't take too long. In the end it is the most treasure that counts, not just one final victory, although that final victory does give the highest golden yield.

I cannot say too much about the game as giving away any clues, puzzles or answers, would only spoil it for you, and that's the last thing I wish to do. I don't score games like some magazines and websites. This is because the moment you give a game your top mark, be it a '10' or '100%' you are saying there will never be a better game. From my experiences of 40+ years reviewing I know that around the corner the perfect game may be waiting. If I did give scores though, virtually all of the Deckscape/Decktective games would be way up the chart.

The team that collects the most treasure (coins) is the winning team and, apparently (looking at the Winner card) one of the team turns into a Captain Jack Sparrow look-a-like, though of course that is only my personal interpretation.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2021