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By Brad Cook

Drinkin.’ Sword-fightin.’ Pillagin.’ Aye, the pirate’s life be full of adventure, and now ye can partake in it when ye play Three Rings’ Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates.

It be a good game, but there be a catch, as it were: ye must be good at puzzle games, ones like Bejeweled & Alchemy and Super Collapse! 3. And if ye ain’t no good at ‘em, ye may find yerself in Davy Jones’s locker ‘fore long.

And if ye still think the pirate’s life is the one, remember this ‘fore ye go on the account: buccaneers enjoy plenty o’ drinkin’ an’ sword-fightin’, and ye’ll need to do both in Puzzle Pirates. Aye, they be puzzles too, but they require ye to think smartly an’ keep a finger on yer mouse button.

Playin’ at the Pirate Life

play now

We calls this one an online multiplayer role-playing game, which means ye pretend to be a pirate. No need to actually dress as one and parade around yer house, makin’ yer mates think yer daft. Ye simply creates a piratey character an’ gives him a good name, like Scurvy Dog or Black Jack. Aye, or Sally o’ the Seven Seas, if yer into that sort o’ thing. Personally, I prefers to be known as Scallywag.

At any rate, ye makes yer pirate (one of three ye can create) and sets off to Guava Island, where ye’ll find other players who can join yer list of hearties, or buckos. “Friends,” I thinks yer word is. So ye can chat with yer hearties or even challenge them to swordfightin’ or drinkin’ duels. Aye, these be puzzles too.

What ye really wants to do, though, is stop bein’ a landlubber and join a ship’s crew. There ye’ll be put to work pumpin’ out bilge water or fixin’ up holes in the hull, all for a few pieces o’ eight, which be Puzzle Pirates’ money. Aye, those tasks be puzzles, as are the swordfights that happen when one vessel attacks another and come close enough for hand-to-hand fightin’. If ye win, ye plunder the other crew’s booty. Not all ships be equal, though, so don’t go ‘round pickin’ fights with just anyone.

Buildin’ Yer Fortune

Once ye earn enough pieces o’ eight, ye can buy better swords an’ clothes an’ even build yer own ship. Then ye can hire yer own crew and call the shots as ye sail the high seas. There’s nothin’ like hangin’ up the Jolly Roger and commandin’ yer own destiny, I tells ye.

Aye, there’s plenty for landlubbers to do too. Ye can work in a shop, or open one yerself, and put yer puzzle skills to work. The faster ye are at a puzzle, the faster ye can create products for sale. All this drives an in-game economy that me simple mind don’t quite get. I knows, though, that worker and supply shortages can drive up prices and make yer buckos wait longer for their stuff. Ye don’t want that to happen, so ye need to make sure ye have enough landlubbers on hand to do the work.

Or if ye enjoy makin’ yer own way, there be plenty of unsettled islands to explore and claim for yerself. Maybe ye might make it a veritable pirate paradise, a place for buccaneer bacchanals, if ye will. Ye should also be on the lookout fer NPPs — that be non-playable pirates — who might offer ye quests and other missions, or even secrets. Ye won’t rightly know what to expect every time ye logs on; th’ world o’ Puzzle Pirates be a vast one.

Ah, but that be the true pleasure of the pirate’s life: settin’ sail for adventures beyond yer wildest imaginin’. There be nothin’ like it.


Tips and Tricks

cannon I don’t like givin’ away all me secrets, but a landlubber passed this on an’ I thought it might be useful. He’s likely a messdeck lawyer.

Talk Like a Pirate

So ye’d like a lesson in piratey speech, would ye? Here’s a list that will help ye smartly stand apart from the other landlubbers. ‘Twas also the writin’ o’ that messdeck lawyer.

  • Aft: Toward the rear of the ship.
  • Ahoy: A standard pirate greeting.
  • Avast/Belay: Stop what you’re doing.
  • Aye: Yes, as in “Aye, aye, captain.”
  • Bilge: Talk that is nothing but nonsense. The bilge is the broadest part of a ship’s hull, and pumps are often used to draw water from it.
  • Black Jack: A large drinking cup.
  • Black spot: A death mark.
  • Blimey: An expression of frustration.
  • Booty: Treasure.
  • Bucko: Friend.
  • Cackle fruit: Chicken eggs.
  • Cat o’ nine tails: A whip with nine strands on it. Used to whip someone’s back as a punishment.
  • Clap of thunder: A strong drink.
  • Cutlass: A curved sword.
  • Davy Jones’s locker: The bottom of the ocean. If someone says a pirate has gone there, it means he’s dead.
  • Dead men tell no tales: In other words, pirates leave no survivors when they conduct raids.
  • Deadlights: Your eyes.
  • Duffle: Everything a sailor owns. Also, the bag that such belongings were kept in.
  • Fore: Toward the front of the ship.
  • Gangway: Get out of the way.
  • Going on the account: Living a pirate’s life. It was used as a comparison to someone going into business.
  • Grog: Alcohol. Usually rum diluted with water.
  • Grub: Food.
  • Hang the jib: To be annoyed.
  • Hearties: Friends. Captains usually refer to their crew with this term.
  • Hempen halter: The hangman’s noose, which was often made of hemp. “Dancing the hempen jig” meant to hang.
  • Hogshead: A large barrel, usually one that contained alcohol.
  • Hornswaggle: Cheat.
  • Jack: A flag or a sailor; pirates often referred to their ship’s colors as part of the crew.
  • Jack Ketch: The hangman. To dance with him means the pirate will be hung.
  • Jack o’ Coins: The quartermaster.
  • Jack o’ Cups: The first mate.
  • Jack o’ Staves: The first lieutenant.
  • Jack o’ Swords: The bosun.
  • Jack Tar/Jack Afloat: Another name for a sailor. The former likely came from the tradition of infusing a sailor’s clothes with tar in the hope that it would help deflect sword blows.
  • Jacob’s ladder: The rope ladder used to climb aboard a ship.
  • Jolly Roger: The skull and crossbones symbol that signifies a pirate ship.
  • Lad: A young man.
  • Landlubber: Someone who works on land or an inexperienced sailor. Also: lubber.
  • Lass: A young woman.
  • Matey: Friend.
  • Me: Used in place of “my.”
  • Messdeck lawyer: A know-it-all.
  • Mizzenmast: Either the center of three masts or the main large one.
  • Monkey jacket: A short waist jacket worn by midshipmen.
  • Orlop: The deck where cables are stored.
  • Picaroon: A satirical or humorous pirate.
  • Poop deck: The deck that forms the roof of the poop cabin, usually built on the upper deck and extending from the rear of the mizzenmast.
  • Port: The left side of the ship when standing on it and facing toward its prow.
  • Powder monkey: The gunner’s assistant.
  • Privateers: An independent crew authorized by the local government to attack enemy vessels, which were usually pirate ships.
  • Prow: The nose of the ship.
  • Scallywag: A no-good scoundrel.
  • Scurvy: Vile and contemptible.
  • Scuttle: Sink, as in sink a ship.
  • Sea dog: Experienced sailor. Also: old salt.
  • Shiver me timbers: An expression of surprise.
  • Six pounders: Cannons.
  • Smartly: Quickly.
  • Splice the mainbrace: Have a drink.
  • Sprogs: Untrained recruits or children.
  • Starboard: The right side of the ship when standing on it and facing toward its prow.
  • Squiffy: A buffoon.
  • Sutler: A supplier.
  • Swab: A lousy sailor.
  • Titivate: Clean up.
  • Three sheets to the wind: Drunk. The allusion is to putting out all three sails, which causes a ship to stagger not unlike a drunk pirate.
  • Weigh anchor: Pull up the anchor in preparation to leave.
  • Ye: Used in place of “you.”