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  • Writer's picturePeter Berthoud

Pirates' Gold

Updated: Feb 23

Pirates' Gold, Pepys Series Games

First Published: 1951, Pepys Series Games by Castell Brothers Ltd., North Wallace Street, Glasgow & Bow Street, London

Illustrator or Designer: McLauchlan

Contents: 1 Playing Sheet, 6 Ships with wooden Stands, an unknown number of Coins, 1 Red and 1 Black Die, 1 Dice Shaker + 2 Sided Rules Sheet.

Pirates' Gold Box Top

Pirates' Gold Box Top

Pirates' Gold - Map (playing sheet).

Pirates' Gold - Chart (playing sheet)

Pirates' Gold - 6 Ships and their Stands

Pirates' Gold - 6 Ships and their Stands

The exact contents of the game as first sold are uncertain. This advertisement from circa 1951 shows a dice cup and mentions "gold coins" but does not say how many.

Undated advert for Pirates' Gold circa 1951.

Rex Pitts mentions in Pepys, The Story of The Company and its Games 4th Ed. that the chart was originally tied with a red ribbon.

The Treasure Chest wraparound box design is very effective.

Pirates Gold Box taken from an angle showing top and sides.






A Game of ADVENTURE ON THE HIGH SEAS for 2-6 players

Let’s pretend that we have discovered this old chest and that we opened it and found the Map.

First open out the Map and carefully study the dangers which lie in wait for those who would seek the Treasure of Pirates Gold Island. Then choose the Ship which you hope will carry you to be the first to reach “Treasure Bay”.

All the ships in search of the Treasure must commence their voyage from “Sail Point Bay,” and to decide from which anchorage the ships will sail each adventurer, in turn, throws one of the dice and he with the highest number has first choice; the adventurer with the next highest number, second choice, and so on. If two or more adventurers throw the same number they must throw again to determine their order of choice.

The adventurer who had had first choice of anchorage now throws the Red dice to find out in which direction the ships will sail, which he does with the aid of the compass at the top of the chart. He then throws the Black dice which tells him how many spaces his ship must move in this direction. The adventurer on his left now throws the Black dice and moves his ship the necessary number of spaces, and so on, until each adventurer has had an opportunity of moving his ship.

The first adventurer again throws the red dice to find the direction in which the ships will sail in the next round, and the game continues. At the start of each round the Red dice must be thrown to find the direction in which the wind is blowing for that round.


Tacking - Of course, ships do not always sail in the direction in which the wind is blowing. It is possible to move against it by “tacking”. This means that at each turn an adventurer has normally, the choice of two directions in which to move his ship: either in the direction given by the Red dice and the Compass or in exactly the opposite direction. If the latter choice is made you must not expect to move so far. The following table shows how many spaces you can move if you decide to sail into the wind:-

Throw a 6 - move 3 spaces only

Throw a 5 - move 2 spaces only

Throw a 4 - move 2 spaces only

Throw a 3 - move 1 spaces only

Throw a 2 - move 1 spaces only

Throw a 1 - No Move

Dangers and Perils - If your move in the direction indicated by the Compass would finish on a square wholly or partly covered by Land, Rocks, Sea Creatures, Ships (including the Ships of Rival adventurers), or off the Chart or into the Compass, then you must “tack” unless your move in this other direction would have the same result, in which case you cannot move your ship and must miss your turn.

As soon as a ship begins to cross the Seaweed Sea it is caught by the weed and can go no farther that move. Until clear of the Seaweed Sea a ship can only drift one square in the direction of the wind at each turn.

The game ends when a ship finishes a move exactly on one of the anchors in “Treasure Bay” and the winner is the adventurer who has first sailed his ship through all the dangers which beset it and finishes safely in the anchorage.


The Chart is signed MCLAUCHLAN who also designed 'Chase, so far I have been unable to trace the artist or find other examples of their work.

The Chart is signed MCLAUCHLAN in the lower left corner.

Game & Version Details

​Pirates' Gold - Box Contents

Pirates' Gold - Chart Back

​​Pirates' Gold - Rules

​​​Pirates' Gold - Rules Back

Games Advertised

Marketeer, Housing Drive, Battle Royal, Horse Racing Tonight, Home Cricket, Five-A-Side Football, Horsie-Horsie, I Spy, Stop or Go and the Pepys Series Games Club.

Pirates' Gold - Red & Black Dice + Shaker

​Pirates' Gold - Shaker



W 88

Pirates' Gold - Gold Coins.

The same as those used in Housing Drive and Win-A-Lot.

Pirates' Gold - Box Back Side

​​Pirates' Gold - Box Left Side

​​​Pirates' Gold - Box Front Side

​​​Pirates' Gold - Box Right Side

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