Review – Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy

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Designer Christos Giannakoulas, Manolis Zachariadis

Artist Maïa Zeidan

Publisher HABA

Category Legacy, Kids Game

Length 20 minutes per scenario

Release Date 2023

Player Count 2-5

Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy! is a legacy-style campaign game for ages 6 and up. In this cooperative adventure, players move colored character pieces around a 3D ship, trying to get each character into their proper spot. Ready to set sail?

Review

In Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy!, players embark on a quest to stop a nefarious pirate from collecting an enchanted treasure. The game is meant to be played as a campaign, with an overarching story and new challenges introduced along the way.

The goal of the game is to get the crew members to their matching-colored oars before the sand timer runs out. To do this, players take turns moving characters about the ship, along the white lines. Characters can neither share spaces nor jump over each other. The central puzzle, then, comes from figuring out who to move to where—and in what order—to get everyone where they need to go.

The game is played on a 3D ship called the Melody. The deck of the ship contains 10 spaces, connected by a series of white lines. To set up each scenario, players place crew member pieces on certain deck spaces, and oars of matching colors elsewhere around the outside of the ship.

Throughout the campaign, players will open treasure chests, which contain extra game components. These new elements add to the basic puzzle (for example, an obstacle that players must work around), but the core challenge always remains the same.

For each character in the correct spot when time runs out, players earn 1 point. Once players earn enough points, they can cash them in for stickers to add to a paper map. This stickering is pretty superfluous, and it doesn’t much affect the actual campaign, but it’s fun for a kid to feel like they are mapping their high seas adventure. (It’s also a nice introduction to the permanence of legacy games.)


Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy! is an incredibly simple campaign game, which is just right for its target audience. I played it with my 4-year-old, and she enjoyed the logic and story elements. While it quickly became same-y for me, the adult, I was having fun simply because she was having fun.

The puzzles challenge players to think multiple steps ahead, something like “We have to move blue to this spot, but to do that, green has to move first. And yellow is in green’s way, so we should start by moving yellow, then we can move green, and then we can move blue.” It teaches teamwork and procedural problem-solving, both good life skills for kids to develop.

The production of Capt’n Pepe is nice, particularly the ship and wooden components. Everything is pleasantly oversized for small hands, and the screen printing on the character pieces gives the crewmates a sense of identity. As players read the narrative sections, seeing the characters depicted on their pawns makes it easy to imagine them embarking on a swashbuckling adventure.

Bottom line, if you play games with elementary-age kids, then Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy might be worth looking into. It is especially good as an introductory campaign/legacy game. Mechanically, it won’t do much for the grownups at the table, but younger gamers will have a great time progressing through the story and uncovering new challenges. If that sounds right for your game group, check it out.

A review copy was provided by HABA.

The Bottom Line

Capt'n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy works well as an introductory campaign/legacy game for children. Recommended for families with elementary-age kids.

 

7

Author: Stephen Hall

A bard pretending to be a cleric. Possibly a Cylon, too. I was there when they dug up the "E.T." cartridges.