Bad Maps – Floodgate Games – Review

I like how the programming works. It helps teach younger players to think ahead.

Steve Mayne



Theme and What is it?

*Note* Copy of game provided by publisher for review.

There’s a treasure hidden somewhere on this island. You have some of the directions to it. You’ll need to guide some pirates to the haul. If you back the right pirate and give the best directions to them while misleading the others you can end up with the treasure. 

Unfortunately, there are some other captains here trying to do the same. Can you get the sailor for your choosing closer than the rest of them? If so you just may get away with the lions share.

Bad Maps is a programming game where each player will be feeding directions to four different pirates on a small island. Pirates will follow their programming in their search for the treasure. You secretly decide which pirates you want to succeed and then try to get them to where they need to be.

In the end if your pirates are closer to the treasure you’ll have a better chance of winning.

Gameplay Mechanics

Bad Maps is a game of group programming. Every game is two rounds long. Each player gets a deck of cards that include several movement cards and cards that face a pirate to each of the compass points. You’ll get a set of goal cards that are worth points at the end of the round if you get the chosen pirate to the right place. On your turn you’ll place a card on any of the four pirates map tracks. You’ll place it face up or down depending on a map card that’s drawn at the beginning of the round. Each player goes in turn to play a map card. Once all of the pirates have their five map slots filled then the programs are followed. Going in turn, each pirate follows the next card in their program. This continues until each pirate reaches the end of their map or walks into one of the boards hazards. Once each pirate has finished moving you figure out how close the pirates are to the X in the center of the board. Players are awarded points based on what position they are in. After the round ends a pit is placed in the space the pirate is in before they are returned to their starting space and you move on to round two. After the second round the player with the most points wins.

Initial Impressions

I like programming games and the style of this one was intriguing. Plus it’s a family game and I’m always looking for something to play with my niece. This looked to be a good game for that.

Game Build Quality

The quality here is very nice. All of the cards are nice quality. The cardboard is a nice thickness. Everything is pretty decent quality here.

Artistic Direction

I like the art for this game. The pirates all have a nice look. The art is cartoony and fun. The directions on the cards are easy to read.

Fun Factor

This is a programming game with a bit of bluffing and trying to out think your opponent. You’ll need to plan your moves while paying attention to the cards your opponents are playing.

Age Range & Weight

The box says 13+ and I’m not sure. The game rules feel simple enough that younger players could do okay here. On the other hand needing to be able to plan ahead could cause younger players stumble.


I’m not really sure how to rate this one. I liked the game but am so incredibly bad at it. Every round we ran most of the pirates into the ocean. I’m certain that with more time this wouldn’t happen. The problem I’m having is I don’t know if I like the game enough to keep playing. It’s why I’m marking this 5 out of 10 stars, because I just don’t know what to put. I will say that I think the game has promise. I like how the programming works. It helps teach younger players to think ahead. Like in most programming games, the pirates can be bumped off their paths by other pirates and it can make the game become a bit of a problem. I’ve played competitive programming games before. Roborally is a favorite game in my collection. I’ve never played one where you’re sharing the programming with other players. The sharing of the programming is where we hot our biggest hurdle. That’s where we kept bumping the various pirates off track and into the ocean.  In the end I just don’t know how to rank this game. I honestly feel like the problem with this game is that it is outside my skill set. That it could be fun for its intended audience. However, this is dependent on how well they can program the pirates. I honestly think you should try something before you buy it and there are lots of ways to do that now. This is a game where I really stress that you need to do that. If you are at all interested in this game you should give it a try. You may find yourself far more skilled at it than I was.

Please take some time to reach out to your loved ones. Even if it’s just to see who they’ve been lately. Most likely you’ll only reconnect with a good friend but maybe they need someone to talk to. Be well.