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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

originally Privateer
Manufacturer(s)Mendocino Game Company
Designer(s)Scott Peterson
Illustrator(s)Mark Ferrari
Publication date1978 as Privateer (1995 as Pirateer)
Genre(s)Board game
Playing time1 hour
8 years or older

Pirateer is a spatial board game for two to four players created by Scott Peterson in 1978. The game was originally named Privateer,[1] before being published by the Mendocino Game Company in 1995.[2] The name of the game is apparently a combination of privateer and pirate.


The objective of the game is for a player to either: return the centrally located treasure to their home port, or to capture all of their opponents' three ships, using movement restricted by dice rolls (two six-sided dice), obstacles, trade winds, and currents.[3]

The theme of the game is for each player to assume the role of a different band of three ships, with their own port and flag.

Mendocino Game Company and lawsuit

The aptly named Mendocino Game Company, based in Mendocino County, California, began publishing Pirateer in 1995.[4]

In 2002, the Mendocino Game Company ceased producing Pirateer. The designer of the game, Scott Peterson, unsuccessfully sued board members for misappropriating trade secrets, breaching their fiduciary duty and conspiring to seize control of the company. The board members counter-sued and, in 2009, a Mendocino County jury ordered Scott Peterson to pay $791,000 to investors and members of the company’s board of directors in restitution and punitive damages for defamation.[1][4]

Critical reception

Forrest Johnson reviewed the original 1978 version of Privateer in The Space Gamer magazine, no. 39.[5] He commented on the game by saying, "Simple, but not dull, Privateer takes almost no thought at all. A good game to bring out after the bottle has gone around a couple of times."[5]

In 1996, Pirateer was one of just five board games to win the Mensa Select Award.[6] It was also named "Game of the Year" by John Kovalic of the Wisconsin State Journal, while film critic Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle called it "addictive" and Phil Bettel of the Chicago Tribune gave high marks to the instructions.[7]

Further reading


  1. ^ a b Hartzell, Frank (2009-10-15). "Peterson lawsuit lands $791,000 libel damages award". The Mendocino Beacon. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
  2. ^ Peterson, Scott. "Pirateer, That Strange New Game from Mendocino". The Game Cabinet.
  3. ^ "Pirateer (1978)". Board Game Geek. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  4. ^ a b Anderson, Glenda (2009-10-08). "$791,000 defamation verdict in Mendocino board game dispute". The Press Democrat. Archived from the original on February 20, 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  5. ^ a b Johnson, Forrest (May 1981). "Capsule Reviews". The Space Gamer. Steve Jackson Games (39): 31.
  6. ^ Richardson, Heather (2012-02-20). "Board Games, Capitalism, and Piracy". The Historical Society. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  7. ^ "Toy Fair Tales & Inventor Chronicles". Discover Games. Archived from the original on 2000-12-08. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
This page was last edited on 28 September 2019, at 01:35
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