Pirating ain't easy!


Rolling Plunder Box

Rolling Plunder

War Games LLC

Artist(s) Justin Redmond

War Games LLC


12+ 30-60m

It is tough trying to build an infamous reputation, a large intimidating ship, and a compliant crew. That is the challenge you are presented with in Rolling Plunder. You start off as a captain of a small Schooner ship with big dreams of building a Galleon or maybe something even bigger while also having a large crew that is 100% loyal. But let's face it, if a crew member is competent, they will have dreams of their own that may not align with yours.

In Rolling Plunder, you will be chasing and capturing ships while assimilating some of their crew and plundering their booty (Victory Points in this game). Mechanically, you will be rolling dice and trying to get more of specific symbols than your target; use plunder cards and crew abilities to turn the tide of battle in your favor. 

Use those resources to grow and become the most infamous pirate on the high seas!

Box and Components Rolling Plunder 1

Because this is a prototype without a box, I won't really focus much on the physical presentation of the game since it is mostly cards, dice, and tokens right now. What comments I will have are purely based on what I see with my prototype, and the final products may look different based on their ongoing updates and the manufacturer used.

What I was provided: 

  • 8 Flagship Cards: These are used to represent your current ship and its capabilities. They are 4 double-sided cards with a Schooner (level 1) and a Brigantine (level 2) and another 4 double-sided cards with a Galleon (level 3) and Victory. Each player will have a pair of these and will start off with the level 1 Schooner and will upgrade through the different ships. 
  • 46 Ship Cards: You will be chasing and attacking ship cards to earn victory points, crew, and other special perks. Some Ship cards will actually be treasure maps providing some other benefits. Occasionally, there will even be a munity on your ship as a result of these cards. 
  • 28 Crew Cards: These represent the crew on your ship; they may provide ongoing perks such as money or crew each turn, one time abilities requiring the crew to walk the plank (well, discarded), or some other perk. Your ship has limited for how many crew cards you can have. There are also seven unique crew cards with Green Backgrounds that provide a unique ability; you may only have one of this time in your crew. 
  • 40 Plunder Cards: These provide special one use abilities to provide you a benefit or place a hinderance in front of your opponents. 
  •  Doubloon Tokens (32x 1's and 8x 5's): These are the currency used in the game to buy Plunder and, optionally, crew cards
  • 6 Custom Plunder Six-Sided Dice: These will be used for different events throughout the game. In my copy, there are three purple and three green, but other reviewers have had different colors. Each die has the same set of icons on them; the symbols include:
    • 2 SailsRolling Plunder 4
    • 1 Cannon
    • 1 Tree
    • 1 Knife
    • 1 "X"
  • 8-Page Rulebook

Rolling Plunder 5 Rolling Plunder 6  Rolling Plunder 8

 I like the overall look of the illustrations; the crew characters look rough (in a good way), the boats are distinct, and the other illustrations seem to match the style well. There are also a lot of variety with the cards.

I would like to see the card's background lightening up to help the text stand out a bit more as the black text almost merges with dark sections of the background; or flip the text color to white. Also, I think the backs of the different decks should be changed to help them stand out; maybe even change the ship card orientation since those are mostly horizontal on the front anyways; this will help give a little more variety to the look when setup. With over 100 cards of 3 types, you will need to sort them before each game, and with the backs being so similar minus the text, you may find yourself accidently missing a card when sorting. Either a different color or at least a different bit of art in the middle to help them stand out. I imagine it should be easy to put a shadow of a ship on the ship cards and a shadow of a human on the crew cards. 


The goal of the game is to upgrade your ship three times to win; you will trade victory points for each upgrade. These victory points will come from chasing and attacking ships. As you claim ships, you earn the VP they are worth and any additional perks they may come with. 

Setup Rolling Plunder 2

  1. Provide each player a set of the double-sided Flagship cards. Each player should place the Level 1 Schooner face up in front of themselves.
  2. Separate the three decks of cards (Plunder, Ships, and Crew) and shuffle each individually. Place each deck in reach of all players. 
  3. Create a starting line of crew members by placing six Crew cards face up in the middle of the table.
  4. Deal each player one Crew card and two Plunder cards. Sailors cards are left faceup, and plunder cards are kept secret in player hands. 

Select a first player based on your favorite means. Personally, I think whoever can sing the best sea shanty should go first.  

Player Turn

Player turns consist of four phases that must be played in order: 

  1. Hunt Ships
    • You will flip over the top card of the ship deck. Based on the card type flipped, you will have different actions you will follow up with. 
      • Ships: This represents one of two types of ships in the ocean:
        • Civilian ships you may optionally chase/attack or let go. 
        • Royal Navy Attack you, and you must fight or flee. If you fight, there will be no chasing involved as the Royal Navy is the Attacker. If you flee, roll like chasing a ship but as the defender. 
      • Black Spot (Mutiny): This represents a mutiny. The first mutiny cards is simply placed beside your flagship and is the first sign that the crew is unhappy (no mechanical impacts...yet), but the second will result spark that causes the mutiny to trigger. When a mutiny is triggered, you will add up the levels of your crew and must discard a number of crew cards and/or plunder cards equal to the sum of their levels. Shuffle the Black Spot cards back into the Ship Deck. 
        • Based on the wording, this is the number of actual cards lost; if you have two crew cards with a total crew level of five, you must discard five cards. Two of those cards may be those two crew members, but you will still need three additional card. There is no mentioned of a penalty for coming up short. 
        • After drawing a Mutiny card, no further actions are taken beyond those described above, and the current turn ends immediately. 
      • Maps/Something Else: Follow the instructions on the card. In the prototype, these include Hidden Maps cards that require you to roll the three dice and receive the listed loot. 
    • Unless a card ends your turn, you may optionally draw a second Ship card to repeat this process. However, you will not be able to recruit crew members from Ships captured during the first draw; you will keep the ship for the VP provided and can potentially capture a second ship this turn, which you can recruit crew from. 
  2. Recruit Crew
    • If you captured a ship, you may recruit a number of crew members from the available crew row equal to the number of crew icons on the captured ship card. You may only select crew with levels equal or less than the level of your flagship.
      • If and only if there are no crew cards are available that you can recruit due to level limitations, you may draw from the top of the deck until one is found discarding all other Crew cards that were drawn. This may be done for each crew member you recruit. 
    • Additionally, your ship can only hold so many crew. If you take on a new crew member that would exceed your crew limit, choose an existing crew member to discard. You may only have one of the green unique crew member cards and any additional standard crew up to your limit. 
    • I can foresee situations where players may recruit and then immediately replace crew that other players may have wanted from the crew row so there is a bit of strategy players can use. 
  3. Plunder
    • There are two phases to Plundering that are played in the following order:
      • Spend Doubloons: You may spend 3 Doubloons to buy a card from the Plunder Deck and/or spend 6 Doubloons to buy a Crew card following the same limitations and options as listed in the "Recruit Crew" phase. 
      • Earn Doubloons: Players earn 1 Doubloon plus additional Doubloons provided by their crew as shown in the lower right of the Crew cards. 
  4. Upgrade (optional)
    • If you have the necessary VP from captured ships to be able to pay for an upgrade for your ship, you may spend captured ships worth the required amount of VP to complete the upgrade. Once upgraded, place the next level of your ship face up in front of you. You now have access to the improve capabilities of that ship. You may only upgrade once per turn. 
    • If you have so many ships that you have more than the required VP to pay for the upgrade, you keep the leftover VP. This doesn't mean you can get change from your 4VP ship if you only needed 2VP; this means if you have captured Ship cards left over after an upgrade, those remain with you. Only ships paying for the upgrade are discarded. 

Chasing and Attacking

Mechanically speaking, Chasing and Attacking work very similarly. Essentially, you will roll/re-roll your three dice a number of times equal to the number of sails/canons you have during each respective phase. So if you have two sail icons on your boat, you will get two total rolls when chasing (unless you have a Crew or Plunder card that alters this). However, this true of the target ship that your neighboring player will be rolling for. 

When you opt to attack a ship, you must first Chase it down, and if you are successful, you will be able to Attack. 

Note: Royal Navy ships are considered to be the Attacker when those cards are encountered. That is important when considering who wins in ties and what is considered successful/unsuccessful. 

Chase Phase

You will roll the dice a number of times equal to the number of sails you have. In between rolls, you may re-roll any dice that is not showing Sail or X; those dice are locked. If the Attacking ship has rolled an equal or greater number of sails than the defender, it succeeds. 

  • If you are successful, you will move onto the Attack phase, if that target ship has any canon icons. If it has no canon icons, you capture it upon successfully chasing it. 
  • If you are unsuccessful, the ship escapes, and you may continue your turn as normal. This means if you haven't hunted a second time, you may still do that. 

Attack Phase

Similar to chasing, you will roll the dice a number of times equal to the number of canons icons you have. In between rolls, you may re-roll any dice that is not showing a canon (no mention of the X in the rules for this action). If the Attacking ship has rolled an equal or greater number of canons than the defender, it succeeds. 

  • If you are successful, you take the ship card and receive any additional benefits this card may list at the bottom. You may continue your turn as normal. 
  • If you are unsuccessful, you give up one of the following things (things listed first must be discarded if you have them): one Crew Card -> one Captured Ship -> Nothing Lost. Finally, move onto the Plunder phase. 

End Game

As soon as a player has upgraded their Galleon, the game ends immediately, and they are the winner.  

Rolling Plunder 3

Plunder Cards and Crew Abilities

Plunder Cards and Crew abilities may be used anytime during your turn when most appropriate based on their card's text; some Plunder cards may be used on opponent turns to impact their attacks and other actions. Some Crew Abilities, such as Fido and Bilge Rats, are always active and provide specific ongoing perks. Certain cards will have a listed phase when their abilities may be activated. Crew card are kept after using their ability unless stated otherwise. Plunder Cards are always one use and typically discarded though some may be placed next to your Flagship. 

In general, both of these card types are pretty straight forward based on their text. 


Just like any ship on the open sea, trade is always encouraged if the price is right. Anytime during the game, players may offer trades between each other. They may offer trades for Doubloons and Plunder Cards; Crew cards and VP may not be traded. 

Solo Mode

This game includes a solo mode that plays mostly the same except you are on a turn limit and some cards will be removed from the setup. You must fully upgrade your Flag ship beyond the Galleon to win (just like the standard rules) before the turn marker hits 0. Also, when you lose during the Hunting phase, the round tracker is immediately decreased by one and your turn ends. There are additional details in the rules, but it looks like the version of the solo rules I have are still in progress. The concept is pretty straight forward though. 

Final Thoughts

I really like the concept and the overall straightforward mechanics of the game. Who doesn't like a fun dice chucking pirate game where you are hunting ships, building up your ship and crew, and taking on the Royal Navy. 

There are some issues with the rules that I hope are cleaned up before the Kickstarter re-launches. To be honest, I have had this game since about October 2020, which is the longest I have held off on a review for a game which is certainly not good as a reviewer. I had read through the rules multiple times and kept stumbling on small issues here and there. I finally figured out most of the issues and submitted some suggestions to the designer. I feel like this might be a case where a designer wrote the rules fully understanding their concept but needed a fresh set of eyes or an editor who doesn't know the game try to read, understand, and re-write the rules form their point of view. This is something I have helped with on a couple games actually that was in a similar situation. 

As stated earlier, some of the cards need some tweaks to the visuals to make it easier to read and sort as well, but I imagine this is a pretty simple thing to fix at this point with a little editing. 

I truly feel if they can re-organize and clean up the rules, this has a lot of potential to be a really good game. After talking with the designer, they are working on updates to the rules based on some feedback from those playing the Print and Play version. As is, it is a pretty good game with some minor issues that are easily fixable with house rules.  

It is a fun game beyond those few issues. I enjoy the artwork, the characters, the quick pace of the turns, and the overall concept. If this game sounds like something you would be interested, be sure to check out their re-launched Kickstarter when it goes live on March 31st, 2021; you can sign up now at that link to be reminded when the campaign goes live. Also, they are offering the game as a free Print and Play so you can make a paper copy of the game for yourself to try before you back it. 
Rolling Plunder 7


Rolling Plunder Board Game Geek Page

Publisher Product Page

Rolling Plunder Kickstarter Page


We received the prototype of this product in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.