Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest Board Game Review
Updated: Apr 11, 2022
Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest
WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 1-6
You’ll like this if you like: Libertalia, Shelfie Stacker, Red Rising.
Published by: Stonemaier Games
Designed by: Paolo Mori
Libertalia first came out 2012 published by Marabunta, receiving very favorable reviews. Due to various reasons, the game did not see any new recent print runs, despite there still being interest in the game. The trademark lapsed, and control of the game went back to the designer Paolo Mori. In the summer of 2021, Jamey Stegmaier from Stonemaier Games acquired the rights to the game, and set work on making a new version of Libertalia for the modern gaming community.
In true Stonemaier style, Jamey looked at what people liked and did not like about the very popular original game. A common issue that arose a number of times on forums about the game was that Libertalia would sometimes come across as having too much take-that for some players tastes. Also, the lack of a solo mode was an issue for some.
Jamey makes all of his games work for 1-6 players, and so sought to create a more robust two-player system, and a whole new solo mode. He introduced a second side to the board which took away a lot of the take-that elements, and this is the result. Libertalila: Winds of Galecrest. A new implementation of the popular original.
Before I get into how the game works, and what I think, let's first look at the main changes from the original version.
New art style. The original game had a fairly gritty, realistic style, using darker colours and human pirates for the characters. In Winds of Galecrest, artist Lamaro Smith has introduced anthropomorphic cartoon characters, a lot more colour, and 10 whole new characters.
Solo mode and two-player mode. The original played 2-6. This is 1-6 and the two player mode now plays more like a three player game.
Take-That or Take-This? The components have seen a significant upgrade. The board is double sided as mentioned above to allow for a choice between a take-that or more relaxed game style. There are also double sided tokens to represent the loot tokens affects which can be used for more control and variety in set up.
New reputation track. Previously card ties were decided by secondary numbers on the card, now a new reputation track is used to settle this, as well as determine the players starting doubloons each voyage.
There are a few other changes, you can see listed in the rule book if you like, but these are the major differences felt in the game.
Getting this game to the table is as easy as saying Libertale, Lib-a-tale.. well it's easy OK!
The first decision is if you want to play with more or less take-that in the game. The game board is double sided, and there are double sided tiles for more variety and control of making the type of game you want.
This is the calm side with less take that in the bottom Loot spaces.
And here is the stormy side for a game with more conflict.
I really like this choice and how the art represents the type of game you will be experiencing. It is such a simple fix to a needless problem. It makes you wonder why more games don't do this.
Once you have chosen the board you want, give each player a set of cards, a graveyard spot and a treasure chest money counter. Place loot on days one to four linked to the number of players. Then randomly place the reputation markers on the reputation track and give out the corresponding amount of money to each player.
One player will then shuffle their deck and chose six cards at random. Each other player then needs to find the same cards from their deck for their starting hand. All players will start with the same six cards.
Playing the game.
Each player will now simultaneously play a card from their hand into the Island, the top space on the board. The cards will be ordered in sequence from lowest to highest, left to right. Players will then enact all day time powers on their cards represented by the sunshine symbol, moving from left to right. Once this is done, all cards with an evening phase will enact this power, this time in sequence from right to left. Each player will also take one loot from that days pile if their card is still there at this point. (Some powers from the cards may have already moved or killed that card). Then each card still present on the Island will return, face up to each players 'Ship' area, in front of them. Finally, each player will then trigger every night time power on all cards present in their ship.
The game continues like this for four days of the first voyage, before a second voyage of five days and a final adventure of six days is carried out. After each voyage, all anchor powers are triggered from both cards and loot, and then all money collected is added to each players treasure chest. At the end of the game, the player with the most money is the winner.
Everything in this box is representative of the usual Stonemaier games quality. From the insert, to the card stock, and Azul like loot tokens, everything is of a very high standard. The box holder for the money is very useful and has a satisfyingly snug lid. Everything packs away perfectly as you can imagine.
The only minor qualm I have with the production is the art on one card. The original game used realistic human style art for the pirate characters. This game has moved to a more cartoon style using anthropomorphic characters. This is fine, and I personally really like this art style. But I am unsure about one character. This is how most of the characters look. Undisputedly, they are animals.
Whereas, what animal is this?
I asked many people this and not one single person says a Cat, which is what the artist told me this was based on. I just find it odd that this card is so much more human than the rest. I am not making a point beyond this, but it does stand out for me. Anyway...
The game, like all Stonemaier releases now, is advertised as working from 1-6. I think the game works better with more people as your cards then have the chance to interact with more people. In games like this, more interaction equals more fun!
The game works very well in a two though, with the only major change being the below tile being added to the board to act as a dummy third player. The rule added with this around placement adds a lot of fun too! If your character is the only one ranked 20 or less, you must place it directly to the left of the Midshipman. Then, during the evening phase, the Midshipman's power activates, causing the other player who didn’t place their card to the left of the Midshipman to be able to remove a loot from that days haul. It is a funny mechanic which can create a lot of very interesting dynamics.