Gamebook: Mighty Pirates

Wow, it’s been a long time since there was a Gamebook, but I haven’t been playing too many social games recently, especially new ones. I was looking for something new today, and saw Mighty Pirates was pretty popular. I’ve been playing it for the last 90 minutes or so, and I’m very impressed.

In Mighty Pirates, you own a ship and have to explore various islands, collecting resources and improving your ship in order to discover treasure and OWN NOOBS. Yes, you can own noobs in this game. There is a simple combat system in the game, which is really excitingly presented and actually quite tactical. This is why I’m writing a Gamebook entry on Mighty Pirates, since there is actually a knack to raising enemy pirate ships!

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My fledgling ship; Valkyrie!

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Your ship has a Stern, Hull and Bow which contribute to your defensive rating (health) and, in the case of the hull, how many portholes your boat has for Cannons. Your Cannons contribute to the offensive power of your ship. For each cannon, you need a friend to shoot. It’s annoying at first, and I don’t know many Facebook gamers, so I had to add random people from the internet (I hate doing that, they have really lame statuses and spam you with game notifications). Cannons range from low accuracy haymakers of pain, high accuracy jabs and triple shot AoE style attacks.

Combat itself is turn based. There are 3 options to choose from, for each of your crew members (referred to as ‘Mateys’). ‘Fire Cannon‘ fires the cannons. ‘Put Out Fire‘ heals your ship slightly, and removes the damage over time effect of being hit. ‘Improve Accuracy‘ gives you a boost to your accuracy upon firing. When it is your turn, there is a lot to decide.

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Your Turn

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The thing that sets Mighty Pirates apart, is that you really can completely fail with your ship design and tactics. There will be strategies, strengths and weaknesses to choosing certain parts of your ship, as well as in choosing actions for your Mateys. For example, the 2 porthole Hulls have higher health bonuses. The 3 porthole Hulls have lower health, but an extra cannon. This leaves you with a decision to make. If you go for the 3 cannons, you have more damage but will get killed easier. Since you need crew members to fire the cannons, you also lose the flexibility you gain with having extra crew members (Who can put out fires and improve your accuracy). On the other hand, if you have more cannons there are more fires for the enemy to put out. My current tactic (which I’m building up to) is using 3 Grapeshot cannons (the triple shot ones) so that there are up to 9 fires on the enemy ship at once. No-one can heal through that! Of course, it could completely fail… so I’ll have to see if it’s an effective tactic.

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Eat this!

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Crowdstar has taken a risk and given the player some real control over what they can do in battle. They also included this in the exporation/resource generation part of the game. While some games will drag you through a tutorial and make sure you’re getting X, Y and Z resources equally, Mighty Pirates lets you figure it out for yourself. At first, I was just clicking everything and getting a bunch of resources. Then I realized I needed Iron for my new Cannon, so I set sail and searched for Iron. Spending all my energy on Iron meant that I couldn’t afford the new Hull I needed. I’ll have to wait for tomorrow to get that, on an action packed Wood expedition!

Like CityVille, it does pay to plan. Discovering the best tactics and builds for your ship will give you a massive increase in effectiveness, rewarding you for your hard work. This is why I’m a fan of Mighty Pirates so far. Another great thing is that there is a battle arena area, where you can practice battling for cash and not energy. This means you can battle all day long, trying out new techniques and strategies (as long as you have the cash). Too many games say “Hey, you can only play this for 10 minutes today!”… I hate that. If I’m enthralled and engaged with a game, I’m going to want to play it as long as I want. For a game with a decent combat system, it is players like these that will be willing to spend cash.

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You just got killed on a Facebook game, motherf**keeeer!

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Unfortunately, the combat is still asynchronous. This is pretty much a standard for Facebook games, but surely the system is expandable into real time. The battles are fast, quick to load and fun. If Crowdstar could add some PvP turn based battles, I think they’ll have a real winner on their hands.

Mighty Pirates is definitely worth checking out. It’s fun, very aesthetically pleasing and surprisingly rewarding for a Facebook game. There’s actually a point to collecting resources, so you can own noobs. And what better reason do you need to play a game than that?

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Sam

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