Pirates of the Mysterious Islands – Mini Set Review

Pirates of the Mysterious Islands

Pirates of the Mysterious Islands pack

Find the Mysterious Islands on eBay!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Mysterious Islands

Average eBay pack price: $23.17 (from 2022)

Where to buy: eBay

Factions: Mercenaries, Pirates, English, Spanish, French, Americans

Features/New Stuff: Mercenaries, Mysterious Islands, Submarines

Ben’s Rating: 10/20

Pirates of the Mysterious Islands anniversary game

Pirates of the Mysterious Islands anniversary game, showing a submarine docked at an MI

Pirates of the Mysterious Islands (MI, 2006) featured the new Mercenary faction and introduced Submarines.  Honestly it was not a great set, as the artwork seemed dull and the ships were worse than the ones from DJC.  In addition, the Mercenaries are the worst of the minor factions since they cannot dock at their own home island!  However, you’ll enjoy the set if you like subs and the tie-ins to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.


– Art: 3/5. Some boring ships with a small handful of incredible standouts (including those little-known SE’s), along with decent artwork overall. Submarines were the highlight of the set, but they’re very lackluster and even hard to tell apart. I also didn’t enjoy the boring gray cards, though it fits with the Mercenary faction. (perhaps a tropical look would be too much)
– Set Quality: 3/5. The Mercenaries introduce an interesting dynamic to the game, and some of their game pieces have affected fleet-building ever since. Each faction got some solid if unspectacular ships, but plenty of mediocre/boring ships were introduced as well.
– New Content: 2/5. I enjoyed the Mysterious Islands, but some of them can be OP. The Mercenaries have always been the worst faction in the game, and submarines are often either useless or borderline OP (think deathmatches, marines, cancellers, etc). Novelty and excitement barely keep the score from being a 1. (for the second set in a row – when a lot of people can agree that the new stuff stinks, you know things are in decline)
– Collectability/Misc: 2/5. Not entirely collectible, between the low playability and lackluster PR’s (with the exception of the MiaB pack). The miscellaneous score has to suffer as well – this set can be rather boring and hasn’t stood the test of time that well for me. It doesn’t help that this set came out at a bad time – soon after the general brilliance of the “golden age” and when DJC (a superior set) and its sales likely set expectations too high. In addition, I noticed that the ships are generally more brittle than usual, which is especially bad for newer players.
= Overall: 10/20. As godmason said, bad execution. Perhaps more playtesting could have improved the new mechanics.

Find the Mysterious Islands on eBay!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.

Posted in Informational, Reviews and tagged , .


  1. Hey Ben,
    Really informative review! I love the way of breaking it down into different parts so that I can learn about the product more efficiently.

    Also, I really love that you make honest statements based on your experiences and point out both the pros and cons.

    Best Regards,

    • @Jonath: Thanks a lot! I feel it is definitely important to point out the cons of the set, because in sets like MI, they really affect the quality of the product. Unfortunately the sets got a bit worse as the game went on, but it’s a great game nonetheless.

      Thanks for your comment. Have fun,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *