Board Game Review: Libertalia - Winds of Galecrest
game #5 of Katie's 100 board game challenge
I'm grateful to have bought a copy of Libertalia before it stopped getting printed. I saw the original game featured on an episode of TableTop and knew immediately that I wanted it. (It might've partially been because Seth Green was on that episode ... I'll never confirm nor deny.) While the game is complex, I love pirate-themed things, and always enjoy playing Libertalia ... even if no one else enjoyed it as much. (My mom gets confused every time we play, because we leave it so long and then she forgets the rules ... and then ALWAYS WINS!)
It came as a surprise to see the newest version, Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest, at Barnes & Noble while we were vacationing in Hawaii. I made my fiancé take a picture of me holding the box so I'd remember to buy it one day (and two months later, I opened it up as a Christmas present from my fiancé instead!).
I had heard there were enough differences to the game, and mostly for the better, so I was definitely curious about this one and knew fiancé and I would be playing it early in the new year. Since the original version, as far as I know, isn't coming back into print, I'm going to do my best to judge Winds of Galecrest as-is, and not write this as a comparison post.
... And I'm going to fail instantly, because I LOVE that the designers shifted from cardboard tokens to gorgeously designed tiles for the booty! They're brighter, they're cleaner, and they bring me joy.
What's was unexpected, for me, are the different ways you can play the booty. My fiancé and I played with the clear-skies side, as opposed to the stormy side, since this was our first time playing this version. I didn't take a close look yet at the stormy side of things, and I'm sure I'm going to regret saying this later when I do play with them ... but I'm excited to see what the stormy side does!
Such a unique way to break tie-breakers, and definitely came in handy since fiancé and I had very similar strategy for the most part. (I'm used to playing with my mom, and I remember one game where her and my best friend would play the exact same cards, but my cards were always different.) I like that you get coins each round based on your reputation - higher reputation, fewer coins (that's fair, right?) - and the ways you can increase your reputation are interesting.
I don't know how I feel yet about playing this 2-player on a regular basis. Again, I'm trying so hard not to compare Winds of Galecrest to the original Libertalia ... but they added something for 2-player games, specifically, kind of like a dummy player in a sense. It's different, and I don't HATE IT necessary, but I misunderstood initially how it worked, and I don't love that it's the player with the higher initiative that day gets to control the dummy player's action - they're already in the lead, and now they get extra power? I'm on the fence about it.
That said, I'm hoping we'll get to play Winds of Galecrest with more people - I think this version is easier to teach than the original version was, so I'm more confident I can introduce it to potential players that may not have played the original with us.
I don't wanna be that person that gives 9s to all the games (although, so far, I have given one 10 and one 7) ... but I do think this one is worthy of a 9 out of 10 for me.
The issue I have, since I started the year by giving Wingspan a 10 out of 10, is that I will now be comparing every game to Wingspan-level. So while I enjoyed Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest, it's not perfect, and the score needs to reflect that sentiment.
... but yay, PIRATES!
About the Creator
* 29, she/her, Canadian
* Reader, writer, lover of language
* Board game enthusiast, and wannabe board game designer
* Fiancée currently, Wife in May 2023
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