So uh Marines aren’t as bad as I thought they were. Maybe.
Did a series of games of France vs Corsairs.
France had Le Favori, La Baionnette, and Le Bon Marin. Their only crew was Benoi de Marseilles and Michel de Bordeaux on Le Favori. Corsairs had Morocco, Whisper, and Tiger’s Eye with a helmsman on Morocco and Barbarossa and a firepot on Tiger’s Eye.
The French fleet won a best of 3 2-1 and the Marines were key in both games. They were far more versatile than I thought they would be, with them allowing Le Favori to blow up two masts from the Tiger’s Eye in game one. In game three the Marines landed on an island Whisper had docked at and blew it up, then defended it until Le Bon Marin could arrive.
The marines also made boarding parties hell for Barbarossa. Even with the L-range protection, the Corsairs were only ever able to get one successful boarding party off. Because getting within S+S+S (in order to board next turn) also means getting within the S+L+S the Favori needed to spring the Marines on them. Also, when Barbarossa was able to get off a firepot, Le Favori’s marines just returned fire without Le Favori being given an action and risking scuttling.
I really like how the French fleet performed. I guess it would probably be better with those 13 points for the Marines being spent on something like La Courageux and a captain but the marines put in a ton of work in getting their wins.