@Woelf: Great points, and thanks for commenting on an idea that I think has serious potential.
My issue with the fixed rates is I’d prefer it to be more realistic. Capturing and returning a 5 master to your home island should be worth more points than a 1 master. Not sure I like the idea of points or gold for masts eliminated, since it feels too much like a game to me and not enough like the Age of Sail (obviously kind of a silly point to make with no wind rules, but whatever). Part of my idea is that the fleets are trying to profit off each other, and one of the best ways to do that is to capture enemy ships for prize money or refitting them to expand the fleet. Incentivizing capturing rather than sinking.
Great point about some of the gamey tactics that could emerge. I don’t like the idea of people self preserving their points at all… but forcing them to give move actions to docked ships would be weird too.
It’s interesting to think about leaving points “on the table” when building a fleet, but I really like how the game allows for all players to start the game on a (theoretically) equal playing field. Having a “30 point game” where a 25 point fleet faces a 17 point fleet just doesn’t appeal to me, and makes me wonder if it would lead to excessive pregame theory/posturing/negotiating. (and the pregame phase already takes too long with ship/fleet/map construction and other stuff like house rules/etc).
You’ve definitely pointed out some holes in my whole “points in play” theory, so unsurprisingly it’s something that will need to be refined and tested to figure out what works. Although I love the concept, I’ve still really only done it once.