Much to my regret, Martinique is not about me and my life as a genetically-modified race-car driver who stymies the competition at every turn — especially the mysterious Purple Dragster — while trying to solve the mystery of his lost love and her missing eyebrows. No, Martinique is a deduction game and a pirate game. Asked about the title and setting, designer Emanuele Ornella says, “The most famous pirates were in the Caribbean seas, and since Puerto Rico and Cartagena were already used, why not Martinique? That was my working title, and then QWG liked it and decided to keep it.”
Each player in Martinique has a crew of four pirates at his disposal (as one must in a pirate game). Your goal is to search the island of Martinique and find the Lost Treasure buried somewhere on its area, a treasure so astounding that it cries out for capital letters to emphasize its greatness. “Finding the Lost Treasure is not easy,” says Ornella, “and there’s no guarantee that players will find it..”
The location of the Lost Treasure is determined secretly each game, with two map tiles being set aside to mark the spot. You’ll need to scour the island for clues as to its position; during this “sunrise” half of the game, you’re collecting both “map tiles” and “souvenir tiles” that provide you with, say, smaller treasures. The opponent will be searching for these map tiles, too, and with a little effort you can block his pirates or steal his clues.
If players end up with the map information divided between them, then you’ll need to rely on deduction (and perhaps a bit of luck) in the “sunset” portion of the game; at this time, you and the opponent place each of your pirates on a field on the island to dig for the loot. Find the location of the Lost Treasure, and you win the game.
If no one strikes the mother lode, however, then the player with the most small treasures wins, and this is where the game gets trickier. Instead of going all out to find map tiles, you could choose to search for and hoard treasure tiles. As long as the opponent doesn’t grab so many map tiles that she’s certain to find the treasure, you’re in good shape. Thus, says Ornella, “you have several strategies to follow: Block your opponent’s pirates? Try to get a good place at ‘The Hook’ bar? Load up on treasures? Steal clues that the opponent has collected? Each move you have a tough decision to make.”
Designer: Emanuele Ornella
Publisher: Axel, Homo Ludicus, Huch & Friends, Quined White Goblin Games
Artist: Arnaud Demaegd
Number of Players: 2
Time to Play: 30 minutes
Player Ages: 10 and up