Rules for Thought #27 – Capturing Crew house rule

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  • #4424

    Ben
    Keymaster

    Now that the Rules survey has some results (39 responses as of this post), I think it would be a good idea to discuss some various options in detail.

    Capturing Crew (highly experimental, we’ve only tried this once to my recollection)

    -Capturing takes places when activated by an ability(?), when taking control of an enemy derelict (via towing), or during a boarding party

    -During a boarding party, you can roll to capture crew, instead of eliminating them. Failure of this roll will result in the crew being eliminated as normal.

    -Crew with the Loyal keyword, or aboard a ship with the Loyal keyword, cannot be captured unless the opposing ship/crew is of the same nationality

    -Crew with the Hostile keyword, or aboard a ship with the hostile keyword, cannot be captured by the nationality to which they are hostile

    -Captains linked to their ship ALWAYS go down with the ship

    -Capturing crew must be rolled for individually on the following table:

    7+ Named Captains

    6+ Captains and  non-captain crew linked to a ship

    5+ Named crew >=5 points

    4+ Named crew <5 points

    3+ Generic crew 3 points

    2+ Generic crew <3 points

    1+ Crew with the expatriot keyword or mercenary faction (always captured)

    -If the capturing ship is of the same nationality of the crew being captured, add 1 to your roll

    -After rolling to capture a crew, gold in increments of half of the crew’s point cost (rounded down) may be used to bribe the crew to join you. Add 1 to your roll. This gold can come from the capturing ship or the player’s home island.

    – Example: Roberto Santana (my favorite crew!) is aboard a ship that is subject to a boarding action. Roberto is a named crew >= 5 points; a 5+ is needed to capture. However, Roberto has the Loyal: Spain keyword. This means he cannot be captured if the opposing ship is not Spanish. Luckily for the capturing ship, this also means that 1 is added to the capture roll for being of the same nationality. This means that Roberto can now be captured on a 4+ for a Spanish ship. A 2 is rolled. This capture roll of 2 can now be increased by spending gold coins on bribes. Half of Roberto’s point cost is 3. The capturing player needs to increase the roll by 2, so 6 coins will need to be spent.

    This is rather fascinating as a complicated house rule, and yet another I’d like to try out someday (no promises).  I do wonder if the bribe system is a bit underpowered in a way; by that I mean that players probably won’t want to fork over much gold for bribes unless it is a really essential or great crew.

    One main question is what happens once you capture the crew.  Can they specifically use their abilities on that ship regardless of nationality, do they assimilate to the new nationality of the capturing ship, or neither?  If they can’t use their abilities or be “ransomed” off similar to the Gold Capture ability, I think there would be little incentive to capture crew outside of ships whose nationalities are the same.

    As always, feel free to give your thoughts!

    #4428

    Ed
    Participant

    I LOVE this idea maybe a lol complex but it gives great depth!

    #4435

    Scheer
    Participant

    This is my house rule!

    Concerning the after effects that you mentioned Ben, the idea was that the crew would be usable on the capturing ship. My group never thoroughly playtested this, so I’m not sure the best way to manage this. I reckon the cleanest way would be to change the nationality of the captured crew to that of the capturing ship. Without extensive playtesting, I am unsure of the possible implications of such a nationality switch on some crew.

    As for your comment on the bribe system being underpowered, that is definitely by design. Keep in mind that capturing crew is an additional bonus on top of a successful boarding action. If the roll is failed, the crew is still eliminated. So either way a positive result is being obtained. The bribes exist mostly to add just a touch more flavor. However, it could also allow for very interesting game decisions. Deciding whether to spend precious gold to bribe during an important capture could either win you the game by giving you the edge in the next engagement, or lose you the game due to the loss of coin. Tough choices like these are what make games interesting, and Pirates is missing these sorts of decisions in my opinion.

    That being said, I think the bribe system would scale well in larger games or economy scenarios. With more gold on the table, bribing would happen more often which would of course lead to more successful captures. This is ok in larger games as it won’t have such a large impact on the course and outcome of the game (capture of a key crew in a standard 40 point game could EASILY sway the outcome of the game).

    #4439

    Ben
    Keymaster

    The bribes exist mostly to add just a touch more flavor. However, it could also allow for very interesting game decisions. Deciding whether to spend precious gold to bribe during an important capture could either win you the game by giving you the edge in the next engagement, or lose you the game due to the loss of coin. Tough choices like these are what make games interesting, and Pirates is missing these sorts of decisions in my opinion.

    That makes a lot of sense, thanks for the additional info!  Good point about bribes in larger games; makes me want to try it out sometime.

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