dmNorthTV plays … Tiny Epic Pirates

dmNorthTV and Guests play board games!!  Saturday nights, we get together with friends and try and play a stream friendly board game.  It is usually a fun get together with great people.  A time to enjoy to social aspect of gaming that we are lacking right now.

Here, you will find our short and sweet review on the board game we have played from each of the players.  We stream the gameplay on the dmNorthTV Twitch channel every Saturday.  Come hangout and say “Hi” if you get a chance.

Saturday, we played through Tiny Epic Pirates.  Tiny Epic Pirates is the latest in the Tiny Epic line of games from Gamelyn Games.  It was designed by Scott Almes.  It is a 1 to 4 player game where you sail the seven seas in search of places to bury your pirate treasure.

Boardgamegeek describes Tiny Epic Pirates as:

Each turn, you move your Captain Token around your ship’s action wheel (rondel), selecting which action to perform… Plunder, Trade, Crew Up, Attack, or Search. Each player has a randomized and unique arrangement of these actions on their rondel. Sailing your Pirate Ship is something every player can do every time they take an action. Plundering allows you to acquire booty from settlements at a very reasonable rate. It’s amazing how negotiating changes when your blunderbuss is at the ready. A crate of gunpowder for a promise of no harm? Fair exchange. Trading allows you to sell your ill-gotten goods to the Black Market for gold. Each Market is only interested in a specific good, so make sure you are sailing in the right direction. Timing is everything, sell your good at the wrong time and it’s worth a pittance. Crew Up adds a new crew member to your growing Pirate Ship. Crew increases your ship’s combat advantage and unlocks new abilities for each spoke of your ship’s action wheel, making that action more powerful every time you take it! Attacking Merchant Ships and other Pirates will grow your reputation. It also happens to be a great way to score some gold and more booty to sell. Be enough of a menace and you may just become a Legend of the Sea!

Search the high-seas for treasures left behind by the unfortunate souls that preceded you. Salvage old ship parts for temporary aid or get lucky and find something worth selling.

The end of the game is triggered once a player has buried three treasures. To do this, a player must first acquire the amount of gold required to bury at the various bury spots on the map. After all players have had an equal number of turns. The player who has buried three treasures wins the game. Ties are decided by the player who has the highest legendary status, followed by which player has the most gold.

We were joined by RonathanPxPx to see who could captain their crew to victory.  You can take a look at our gameplay video on our Twitch channel, or scroll down to watch the video.  Apologies in advance as I did not realize there was a problem with the audio levels until the next morning.

Final Thoughts About . . . Tiny Epic Pirates

Here, we will give you some basic thoughts about the game we played.  This is by no means meant to be an in-depth review of the game, as there are already lots of those out there.  This is just a “what did we think of it and would it be a good board game night game” type thing.  If you want to see something more in-depth, please let us know in the comments below.

Rating System

  • 5 Meeples: Fantastic Game, A must-play game!
  • 4 Meeples: Great Game, minor flaws.
  • 3 Meeples: Good Game, some weaknesses.
  • 2 Meeples: OK Game, needs work.
  • 1 Meeple: Awful Game. Do not play this unless you want to punish yourself.


Overall, I have been a fan of the Tiny Epic line of games.  They usually pack a lot of game into a small package, and this one was no exception.  In Tiny Epic Pirates, you get to make a lot of decisions to keep the game interesting.  It is a nice mix of resource management and worker placement.  Each set-up is randomized, so the replayability factor is there.  The set-up is pretty easy, and once you start playing the game the rules become a little more intuitive.  We definitely made some rules errors along the way, but figured things out as we played.

The game works pretty decently online, although all players will need access to the components to track their player boards.  I feel the game would play much faster, and more efficiently.  I am a fan of the worker placement mechanic and this gave an interesting twist to that.  The decision when to sacrifice your crew in order to do the ability you really need to pull off was well designed.  Battles are interesting, but also lacking a little bit.  The mechanics are fine, but the rewards feel better attacking the merchant ships.  I wish that battles between opposing pirates would result in loss of gold or supplies.  Gaining levels is great, but stealing something from your opponent feels like it could be more piratey.  The navy ship was a bit troublesome.  It basically just hits you and resets your board, with nothing you can really do about it.  It felt like there could have been more of an interaction here.  Why wouldn’t a pirate try and take out this foe?

The game supports up to 4 players, but there is no way I would consider playing with that many.  Even though our gameplay became faster as we became more familiar with the game, it did run a little long for what is advertised as a 60 minute game.  I think 2 players is probably the sweet spot.

The components are overall good, as you would expect with this line of games.  The skull dice are a great addition to the game and was honestly a really nice touch to the production.  However, the ships definitely feel on the cheaper side for something from Tiny Epic.  The design is also lacking as the cubes did not fit well into the ships as intended.  Other than that small complaint, the rest of the game is well produced.

Long story short… would I recommend this game?  It depends.  It was enjoyable, but I have had more fun with other Tiny Epic games.  I am not sure you NEED it on your shelf.  There are definitely better pirate themed games out there (Black Fleet and Rum & Bones come immediately to mind).  If you like the Tiny Epic line though, I would say to give it a go.  It is not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination.  It is just a middle of the road game.  Good, but not great.  The fact that this supports a solo mode will likely help keep it on the shelf.


I enjoyed playing TEP. I like that there was some strategy and thinking ahead of your moves. You had a variety of actions to take which was based on the Captain’s Wheel aka rondel mechanism which was random for each player which made the game interesting. You had crew (worker placement) to help with your actions. I do enjoy worker placement games. You had to bury three treasures before everyone else by building up your gold. I did this fairly quickly for the first one and then found myself “stuck” but I couldn’t explain why.

Game flaws in my opinion:

  • Attacking another Pirate ship didn’t give much rewards. If you won the battle, you go up on your legend. In addition, I wish you could steal a booty (resource) or their gold. You are a Pirate after all?
  • Navy ship could attack you but you had no defence. I wish you can defend and if you win you go up on the legend and/or the navy ship moves a space away.
  • Getting jostled when sailing into a storm or being attacked which loses your workers. Should be able to also lose a booty and/or gold. There was no way in the game to lose gold or booty.
  • End game is to bury three treasures. But there should be a way for all Pirate ships to lose and that could be tied in with the Navy Ship.

Components were great as I like actual pieces (Meeples) and not card board punch tokens but the ships were a bit flimsy.

I would play this again in solo mode and with the expansions. There are two, crimson silver mini expansion and curse of Amdiak. Would be interesting to see if the expansion makes a difference with the gameplay that I thought needed refining.


I was really excited to play Tiny Epic Pirates (as I have never played a Tiny Epic game before), especially a pirate themed game where the goal is to bury 3 treasures before your opponent(s) can. You can do this by figuring out ways to get ways to gain gold by collecting & selling commodities, searching, or naval combat. At its core this is a combination worker placement game & pick up/delivery game. With that being said I wish that there were more combat mechanics to this game that allow you to plunder from your opponents (gold or commodities) or combat against the navy that have more repercussions for the game state. Additionally you can attack the two NPC merchant ships for gold & commodities. All in all I had a fun time playing the game. My combat rolls were lackluster and I was at least able to finally bury my second treasure just before Jourdo buried his third for the win. By the way there is a fantastic rule as far as how the game ends. For example in a four player game, let’s say the 2nd player buries their three treasures first. players 3 & 4 get an extra turn to tie because they have not had an equal number of turns. However, player 1 would not get an extra turn because they already had it at the start. Will definitely play again. Solo mode I hear is where this game shines.

If you are interested in getting a copy of Tiny Epic Pirates for yourself, please check out one of the best online board game stores in Canada… Board Game Bliss.  Clicking through that referral link helps the site out and we thank you for that.

Anyone is welcome to play board games with us.  If you have a game you would like to see streams, please let us know.  The only limitation (beyond actually owning the game) is that they must be stream friendly as we are playing it remotely.  Contact us on any of the Socials or leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!


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