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Mystic Vale creator’s Dead Reckoning is yet another pirate board game out this year

Like ships in the night.

Blast your way across the seven seas in Dead Reckoning, a new pirate-themed board game from the creator of Mystic Vale, John D. Clair.

In Dead Reckoning, each player takes control of their own pirate ship and crew in order to sail across the oceans in search of treasure, trading, pillaging opportunities and bountiful plots of land to take control of. Every player has a ship board that they can place their newfound cargo and treasure on, with the ability to customise their vessel with additions like more powerful cannons and upgrades to improve sailing speed, among other benefits.

In the upcoming board game players will be able to form their own crew of shipmates and scallywags using gameplay mechanics similar to deckbuilding board games.

Dead Reckoning allows players to improve their existing crewmembers by sliding advancement cards into transparent sleeves, much like Mystic Vale’s card crafting system. As new advancement cards replace the old ones, crewmates gain skill improvements and new abilities. Crewmates will also be able to level-up throughout the game, providing new opportunities for pillaging and dominance.

Dead Reckoning board game cards

Scattered across the oceans are several regions containing deserted islands rich with treasure for the taking, which players will compete to control by facing off against one another in naval battles. Described by publisher AEG as being powered by a “cinematic broadsides battle system”, combat in Dead Reckoning involves players using a cube tower to roll off against their opponents’ ships. Players can optionally choose to fight against NPC merchant ships for the promise of pillaging and acquiring even more treasure for their pirate ship.

Future expansions for Dead Reckoning will apparently use a “saga” system that allows players to uncover previously hidden content, with the number of discoveries depending on what players decide to do during each playthrough of the upcoming board game.

John D. Clair has created several board games with card-crafting mechanics - where cards are combined with transparent sleeves to modify their abilities - including Dead Reckoning and deckbuilding board game Mystic Vale, as well as Custom Heroes. Clair also designed beginner board game Space Base and the recent Ecos: First Continent.

Dead Reckoning will be published by Alderac Entertainment Group, the company behind party board game series Smash Up, beginner board game Tiny Towns and deckbuilding board game Thunderstone.

Dead Reckoning is set to launch on Kickstarter soon, with a release date set for this summer.

The upcoming board game joins Forgotten Waters, the pirate board game from Dead of Winter creator Plaid Hat Games, as well as the current Kickstarter for storytelling sandbox game Sea of Legends as the latest big pirate-themed board game coming out in 2020 - though likely not the last.


Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Staff Writer

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.