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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #51: Pirate and Traveler Game

When it comes to the earliest board games I can remember, the Pirate and Traveler Game is one that keeps coming to the front of my mind. There have been a number of editions released since it was first published by Milton Bradley in 1911, and I'm virtually certain our version was from 1970 (pictured). This is probably the simplest iteration of the game - looking at some of the earlier entries, there were a lot more stops and a lot more intricate artwork. I kind of think we got the tired version. Even so, this map stands alongside the Caribbean one from Sid Meier's Pirates! as one that fired an early, lasting fascination with geography and has remained etched in my brain. I adore some of the ports of call that made the cut for this thing. Perth? Murmansk? To this day, I think I'm one of nine or ten people who know where Godthab is, for pity's sake.

I don't remember the specifics of gameplay, but I don't think they were super complicated. Roll the dice and trot the globe, collecting and burying (and plundering) treasure. In a delightful exercise in truthful advertising, this is a game of piracy and travel. I do remember that we played the heck out of this one when we were kids. Like any number of entries on this list, I wonder whatever happened to our copy. Played into oblivion, perhaps, pieces going missing, box corners wearing out, the board itself fraying or split, until it had to be thrown out. Or else it got stashed in some closet corner, shunted aside for more complicated or more electronic diversions. If I found it somehow, I'd play it one more time. If only to visit Godthab again.

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