I’m going to start a few posts here regarding some of the weaker factions so we can figure out house rules to make them better.
But do they need to be better? I like how all the factions are unique to some extent. Boosting them can sometimes make them less interesting in my opinion.
Our topic for this thread is Mercs: how do we make them playable?
I don’t think they need to be more playable, especially not as a standalone faction. Lowering point costs on their somewhat average/mediocre ships is one way to do it, but that makes less sense when you consider that the mercenaries would want to get paid well for their services. They’re least playable in competitive games, but still do pretty well (especially the subs and 10 masters) in huge games.
Instead of flatout preventing the player from docking, the keyword could be changed so that instead, the player can only dock if they’ve unloaded gold at their HI on that turn.
That does sound interesting and fun to try out! I like how it makes sense and seems fair.
However, all this doesn’t change the fact that the Mercenary keyword doesn’t give any positives to the Mercs.
Starting the game S away from the home island is a nice little bonus. It doesn’t do much to outweigh the massive negative, but it can be beneficial in terms of getting the first shot or establishing some control over the islands before your opponent does. It also doesn’t specify that the bow has to be S away, so theoretically you can put the tip of the stern flag S away with the Merc ship facing straight at an island or your opponent, effectively doubling the bonus in some cases as a 4 master hull length is similar to S. On a 10 master it gives a big first-turn boost.
Funny enough, you could argue that the Mercenary keyword could have more negatives. XD If an opponent gives a certain amount of gold to the Mercs, they should switch allegiances to the highest bidder.