The Pirate and Traveler board game by Milton Bradley is an old and collectible game of world travel with plundering fun. The vintage game was first copyrighted in 1911. Since then, different editions of Pirate and Traveler have been produced, and can be found, every now and then, on sites like Ebay. Like many early games, Pirate and Traveler first sold as a game board with implement box. Inside the box were the four travelers, spinner, travel cards and instructions. The game engages players to begin as travelers and then all turn into pirates at the end for a final fight over ‘pirate booty’.
The game board is a map of the world. Players journey across the board over well-known railroad and steamship lines of the time. Today, the game offers a fascinating look into the past. The popular cities and ports along with their major products (of 1911) are listed on the cards.
The game begins with players each drawing a card to indicate the port or city they must travel to. Starting from Home Port in South Africa, they each journey to their new destinations. Taking turns spinning the wheel and traveling by any marked path they choose, each player races to complete 10 journeys. After reaching their instructed destination, players pick another card to immediately move on to another. The finished destinations offer players points which are shown in the top right corner of the card. Once one player reaches 10 completed journeys, he is instructed to yell, “Pirates All.”
At this point in the game, all players are now pirates! They must compete to reach the space on the board called the Pirates Goal, located in Greenland. This space is be reached twice by a player in order to win. While players try to reach their new destination as Pirates, they are also trying to steal other Pirates score cards and protect their own. A player wins the game by scoring the most points at the Pirates Goal.
The destination cards offer different point values. Traveling to Pretoria, South Africa would provide the player with 100 points. The chief products listed on that card are Kimberly diamonds, Ostrich feathers, Gold, Copper and Wool. Traveling to the Arctic Ocean, off Alaska, (with the products of Walrus Tusks and White bear furs), would provide the player with only 20 points.
Players, as either a traveler or a pirate, must also be careful on their journeys. Landing on different spaces on the board may get a player eaten by cannibals, shipwrecked, lost in the ice, or eaten by wolves.
The board game of Pirate and Traveler is an excellent example of just how vintage board games can give wonderful glimpses of past times. The maps, the routes, the cities, the products, and even the obstacles and images on the game all give a small but interesting understanding of the world in days gone by.