Liberalia Winds of the Galecrest is an updated version of the 2012 2-6 player game designed by Paolo Mori. The new remastered version is published by Stonemaier games, includes an AI from Automa Factory and new art from Lamaro Smith. The original 2012 version was brought out frequently at my game nights many years ago, but now that I am a busy dad of a newborn and a 4 year old, the newly added solo AI is welcome. Besides the new art direction and addition of a solo mode, there were other additions such as additional crew members, a reputation system to break ties and deluxe loot tokens.
The game takes place over three separate voyages ranging from 4-6 days. Sky pirate admirals (you) send crew members to different islands each day to hopefully come back with valuable loot and no cursed relics. 6 random crew members are drawn for each voyage by the AI deck. The solo player will then take the same 6 cards. Other voyage prep includes taking money relating to your position on the reputation track and filling the islands with loot. You get to place your card first, which loot tokens are available for the day play a big part in which crew member you want to play.
The AI consists of two players, a dummy player known as the Pilferer and the Automa. To play a card for the Pilferer, just draw a card from the AI deck. The top card of the AI deck decides which of the Automa cards will be played based on loot tokens for the day and the priority chart, which is different for every card. Cards are placed on the island on ascending order, once all cards are placed, it’s the daytime phase. Going left to right the solo player and Automa get to perform any abilities on their card with the daytime symbol on them, the pilferer does nothing.
Next is the dusk phase, going right to left the solo player and Automa get to choose a loot token and perform dusk abilities. The pilferer just discards their loot token. Finally it is the night phase where crew members return to their boat and any ongoing nighttime actions happen. At the end of the final day the voyage is over and any anchor icons on cards and loot tokens are applied. After all the loot is tallied and money is distributed, it is banked and money is reset. The next voyage begins and 6 cards are once again distributed to start again.
Art and Components
While I personally enjoyed the gritty aesthetic of the pirates in the original game, I get the art rework. The updated artwork definitely appeals to a wider audience with the brighter, more welcoming color scheme. The iconography is clean, simple and can easily be read. The game board has all of the information needed and cards are easy to read as well.
This is standard Stonemaier quality, high quality finish on the rule book, good card stock and already upgraded loot tokens that feel great to grab out of a linen bag. There is an insert that works well and everything has its place. Overall there are no complaints on the component quality, but when gold coins are the VP, I can imagine Stonemaier will put out deluxe coins for Libertalia one day.
Busy Solo Dad thoughts
This has been the only game I’ve been able to play for the last two weeks. Like I said, I have a newborn at home and I get about 30 minutes to myself a day. Luckily this game can play in under 30 minutes and there is not too much set up. Tear down can be a few minutes longer just because you have to order your player cards from 1-40 again. This game gets the busy dad approval from me.
As a solo gamer I found the automa and the pilferer to be a wonderful system. The pilferer did its job to shake things up and through me a few curveballs, while being almost zero upkeep other than drawing a card to place on the island. The automa had an easy to follow priority system to both place a crew member and choose a loot token. I have played 5 games. I lost my first game and destroyed the AI on my next 4 games. I have only played on the brighter sunny side of the board, I will start to play on the cloudy side of the board on my next games, with different loot abilities.
Libertalia definitely shines with more players, because a lot of the card play comes from trying to get the best loot tokens. I can see how fun that would be at 5 or so, however the Automa factory did a good job of keeping the suspense with 3 cards on the island. I found myself still being strategic with my planning for each day, depending on which loot tokens were on the island and what cards that AI had. I didn’t find myself using the reputation track too often in a solo game, but I can imagine in a 5 player game that there are many ties, since all players start with the exact same cards. Overall, Libertalia is a solid package of solo gaming goodness.