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Captain Graybeard's Plunder

by Julian Mortimer Smith


(based on 20 ratings)
6 reviews

About the Story

A retired pirate captain cobbles together a ship and crew from the pages of classic works of literature. His goal: revenge!

Game Details


49th Place (tie) - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)


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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Short game that beautifully illustrates the magic of fiction, October 2, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

Honestly, at first I wasn't into this piece (which was partly due to playing it on a phone rather than a computer and having the status sidebar cut off). It didn't seem particularly deep or all that interactive. But once I understood how it worked, the mechanics that would influence the rest of the game, I really got into it.

I don't want to spoil anything at all since the game is so short, I would just recommend giving it a whirl. I will just say that I thought it does a great job capturing the magic that great fiction can have on the imagination, and by extension on mood and mental health as well. The author also did a nice job of making use of the hyperlink controls to illustrate the magic at work, both with changing text and fonts.

Well worth the time for any lover of fiction!

This game is part of IFComp 2020, so if you are reading this in October or November of 2020 head over to ifcomp.org and sign up to be a judge. You can play this and other wonderful games and vote on which authors should win cash prizes!

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Adventures in bibliopiracy, December 6, 2020
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020

Captain Graybeardís Plunder neatly inverts the adage that history is written by the victors; here, fiction is remixed by the losers. As a pirate captain whose career was ended by complacency (indirectly) and a royal galleon (rather more directly), you take solace in your retirement by dreaming up how things might have gone differently if your ship, crew, and, er, hand-replacing prosthetic had been up to snuff. The gag is that rather than inventing these upgrades whole cloth, instead you turn to your characterís ample library for inspiration, so that, for example, you might imagine a rematch where your crew are veterans straight out of Treasure Island, or where you boast Captain Hookís eponymous pointy bit atop your stump.

Thatís all there is to it, really: this isnít a puzzle, as any combination of choices appears to lead to a satisfying bout of vengeance, plus there are only three choices for each of the three variables so youíll run through all of them in only a couple of replats. A grounded character-study or bit of world-building this is not Ė the captain is your stereotypical pirate save for his love of literature (though pirates do love their arrs, so I suppose itís not too surprising he got stuck on reading and writing), and the fact that you can plunder from Peter Pan makes the timeline quite suspect!

Fortunately, CGP has charm in spades and thatís what carries it through. The writing ably inhabits the pirate milieu, and effectively conveys both the joys of buccaneering and the transporting power of a good book. The presentation is splendid too, with each of the books you steal from rendered in its own slightly-different cursive font, which carries through into the battle re-creation to make it clear how youíve stitched everything together. There arenít major variations depending on your choices, but though theyíre small, the responsiveness is nonetheless satisfying, as you get to feel like your choice of Captain Nemoís sub, for example, was an especially smart one. CGP knows what itís about, doesnít overstay its welcome, and made me realize itís been too long since Iíve reread Moby Dick, which is a lot to accomplish for a ten-minute game!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Butterfly in the sky, I can fly twice as high, October 23, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

A short game that interweaves the magic of literature with a pirate's need to live one more glorious battle. Several historical works are referenced, such as Moby Dick and Peter Pan and the way they are weaved into the story is charming. If you're a fan of pirate fiction then this will likely be more enjoyable, though the concept is meant for everyone.

My only significant criticism is that some of the font choices (especially the ones in cursive) are really hard to read for my tired eyes, which significantly hurt my enjoyment.

I'm glad this wasn't a puzzle, as it would have not fit with the theme for poor Captain Graybeard.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun short game about pirate literature, October 11, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

I was surprised to see this game has no relation to the classic Captain Verdeterre's Plunder, but it's a good name style so it makes sense it would come up more than once.

This is a short Twine game with one big idea and it does it well. You are a pirate captain who has been forced to retire to his library. You have only one plan left: (Spoiler - click to show)to reconstruct a pirate crew and ship from the texts of classic books.

It's a nice concept and the books involved are fun to learn about or to remember. The game is over very quickly, so it's worth playing through while the comp is running just to enjoy some of the fun. This review is brief because there's not much to say that doesn't spoil it.

+Polish: The game looks great and plays well.
+Descriptiveness: Yes; some from the source texts and some from the author.
+Interactivity: It's short but has several interesting options.
-Emotional impact: It was interesting but I didn't really feel invested.
-Would I play again? It's a good game, but I think I've seen enough of it.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Literature as escapism, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ifcomp 2020

A short choice IF equally remixing and paying homage to classic literary works on the theme of pirates, Captain Graybeardís Plunder speaks to the value of literature as escapism, in the best possible sense. There is no particular story here, though there is a certain beauty to the remixing that your choices determines. A nice touch are the various fonts used to represent the different authors the game refers to.

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This is version 4 of this page, edited by JTN on 8 November 2020 at 6:37am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page