There was a Pirate

Listen carefully and then act quickly and carefully

Product: Teaching tools

ISBN: 978-88-590-1181-1

Publication date: 01/01/2017


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mondo   Rights sold to: Taiwan - Complex Chinese, Russia

There was a Pirate…
That’s how one of the many challenges of this fun game begins.
Stand by to board: pick up all your cards quickly, beat your opponents and build the totem.
It’s a game for brave pirates, ready to fight to the last card! Only the quickest will win the booty.
Objectives: working memory, attention and listening, and planning

There was a Pirate is part of the Playing to grow series, a new line of board games, conceived by Gianluca Daffi, which combine the pleasure of playing together with the opportunity to develop one or more specific executive functions: emotional self-regulation, response inhibition, working memory, focused attention, planning and flexibility.

Contents of box: 76 “Object” cards, 60 “Totem” cards, 6 “Flag” boards, 36 gold nuggets, a wooden barrel, game instructions
Age: 4-99
Players: 3-6

76 “Object” cards
60 “Totem” cards
6 “Flag” boards
36 gold nuggets
a wooden barrel
game instructions

The Playing to grow series: There was a pirate

“There was a pirate... sitting on a wooden barrel, with a green fish on his head.  That's how one of the many challenges of this fun game begins.  Did you listen carefully to all the details? Stand by to board: pick up all your cards quickly, beat your opponents and build the totem!

youtube  Video

THERE WAS A PIRATE is a game in the  «Playing to grow» series, conceived by Gianluca Daffi, a university lecturer and expert in childhood and adolescent psychology.

Each game focuses on a specific executive function or cognitive process with the aim of developing it whilst having fun.

THERE WAS A PIRATE specifically develops working memory, attention and listening, and planning

Find out more »


Preparation Spread out the all the «Object» cards face-up on the table. The barrel and the 10 «Totem» cards should be put in the middle face down Each player receives a «Flag» board

Start of the first hand

  1. The player (game leader) who will start the game off is picked. This person will pick a «Totem» card and, without showing it to their opponents, will read or describe the totem drawn on it.
  2. Whilst the game leader describes their totem to the other players nobody must touch the cards in the middle of the table. Once they have finished reading/describing, the game leader starts the game off, keeping their «Totem» card face down.
  3. Each player collects the cards needed to build the totem.
  4. Each player takes one card at a time from the table and positions it on their «Flag» board before taking the next card.
  5. If a player can't find a card needed to complete the totem because somebody else has taken it, they leave an empty space on their «Flag» board.
  6. During the hand the game leader can re-read the description of their totem to help the other players.
  7. The description of the Totem starts with the pirate and continues, listing in order the objects on his head (from bottom to top) and those under (from top to bottom).

End of the first hand The first to complete the totem grabs the barrel and shouts «Stand to board!». The game leader who read/described the totem turns over the cards to check it is build correctly. If it is correct the player wins a gold nugget. If the totem is wrong the player who shouted «Stand to board» has to pay a forfeit, putting 2 gold nuggets from their initial pile back. If the player hasn't got any gold nuggets they accumulate debt, which has to be paid off as soon as they earn some gold. The prize gold nugget will then go to the player who has the most correct cards, even if they haven't completed their totem because they were interrupted by the shout of the other player. In the event of a tie between two or more players each one will receive a gold nugget. If no one has completed the totem you start a new hand.

End of the game When the «Totem» cards run out, the player with the highest number of gold nuggets wins.


What are executive functions?

Executive functions are the set of mental processes which monitor our thoughts and behaviours. They incorporate various neurological operations which are needed to control and coordinate our actions. Put more plainly they are like a series of little gnomes who all work together in our brain, helping us execute any kind of task we might face in our daily lives.

FLEXIBILITY – In other words the ability to adapt to new situations and handle contingencies appropriately PLANNING – In other words the ability to see yourself reaching an objective and understanding the steps to be taken to achieve it  FOCUSED ATTENTION – in other words the ability to concentrate on certain elements, selecting what is useful by "filtering" it from all the other information available  WORKING MEMORY – In other words the ability to remember information connected to the execution of an activity and the time needed to conclude said activity RESPONSE INHIBITION – In other words the ability not to implement the first response we impulsively tend to produce, whether it is opportune or not EMOTIONAL SELF-REGULATION – In other words the ability to handle your emotions and keep your feelings under control so they do not prevent you from reaching your goals