Rules for Thought #31 – Doubling the gold and islands for standard games?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Xerecs 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #5451

    Ben
    Keymaster

    Now that the Rules survey has some results (43 responses as of this post), I think it would be a good idea to discuss some various options in detail.

    Do you think there should be standard treasure rules? If so, what would you change about them? (if anything)

    Games can be pretty quick. 16 coins for 30 gold and double the wild islands might be better.

    I assume that means 16 coins worth 30 gold per player, else it would be the same as the regular rules.  I think that does make sense, but sometimes games can get too long with a lot of gold.  In addition, the first batch of coins will be disproportionately valuable compared to the second half of coins, where a lot of 1’s and 2’s may not impact the results much.  I have played a lot of games where a coin or coins are fought over for quite a while at the end, only for them to be completely inconsequential to who wins.  Sometimes it’s worth it for fun, but often the endless ramming and boarding can get a bit tedious.  (I like to play with coins face down on home islands however – without that, the situation would be alleviated a bit)

    More islands usually just means less combat and therefore less player interaction.  When each player can simply drain a bunch of islands without having to risk their ships in combat, I’ve found that they usually will.  (unless they’re an aggressive player or have a guns-heavy/crazy Cursed fleet)

    Thoughts on this?  Feel free to leave your own suggestions about the standard treasure rules!

    #5572

    Woelf
    Moderator

    You’ve heard this before numerous times, but I’ve never been a fan of having a fixed/known quantity for the gold that gets set out at the start of the game.

    It’s much more enjoyable for me to grab a few treasure cards and punch out coins at random, without looking at values, then distribute them between island roughly equally – or with extra coins on the hardest-to-reach islands. Throw in a bunch of random UTs too, so even those can’t be planned around.

    The number of islands I use is usually determined by the space available. Fewer islands with a small area, lots of islands when a full table was available. Spacing would be semi-random, just making sure not to cluster them too much or put too many too far out of reach. Home islands would usually get placed after the rest were set up, and slightly outside of the wild islands in positions that were roughly equal. I know that takes away that little bit of strategy with where you place the opponent, but I never liked how one player could get stuck with a large location disadvantage right from the start.

    #5573

    Countupyourcoyne
    Participant

    I’ve talked with my play group before of settinf up zones that you can only access after certain point in the game. One way we talked about was having a narrow causway that you have to pay a toll to secure passage, having a cost for a single ship or a much larger cost as a pass for your entire fleet. We also played with idea of having “npc” forts or flotillas that act as a deterrent until there is no other option then to engage them. That and we’ve actually tried playing a game where most of the islands are behind non-damaging terrain such as fogbanks and sargasso seas, making it tricky for reliable transport and even harder to get reinforcements to you gold runners should they come under attack.

    #5576

    Ben
    Keymaster

    @woelf: I agree with pretty much all of that and do those types of things in most of my games nowadays.

    One way we talked about was having a narrow causeway that you have to pay a toll to secure passage, having a cost for a single ship or a much larger cost as a pass for your entire fleet.

    That sounds very similar to something I’ve been thinking of trying for years now… 😀

    We also played with idea of having “npc” forts or flotillas that act as a deterrent until there is no other option then to engage them.

    Sounds like Circle of Blood!

    I’ve done plenty of games where at least one island is surrounded by terrain, sometimes including reefs.  Off the top of my head I can think of at least two past battle reports that will be republished where I did something like that.  (hopefully I will get them up here at PwB this year)

    #5592

    Woelf
    Moderator

    I’ve done plenty of games where at least one island is surrounded by terrain, sometimes including reefs. Off the top of my head I can think of at least two past battle reports that will be republished where I did something like that. (hopefully I will get them up here at PwB this year)

    Many years ago I’d made scans of a couple terrain pieces and then printed them large enough to fill an entire Letter-sized (8.5″ x 11″) sheet of paper.

    A few of those on the table between islands became significant obstacles that you had to either risk crossing or spend an extra turn or two sailing around. Curving your route slightly to skirt around them wasn’t enough. They worked even better when you placed an island right in the center of one, so it was impossible to reach the island without dealing with the terrain. Those islands also became good places to put a few extra treasures during setup.

    #5594

    Ben
    Keymaster

    Many years ago I’d made scans of a couple terrain pieces and then printed them large enough to fill an entire Letter-sized (8.5″ x 11″) sheet of paper.

    I remember seeing pictures of that!  I think they’re in the pictures section at BGG. (might have been a different user though)  I hope to do something like that sometime as well, could even do a massive iceberg that the Vikings could build a fort on.

    #5642

    Xerecs
    Moderator

    I’ve never actively used the ‘standard’ treasure rule, along with the ‘first to half total gold wins’.

    That said, when I do set up games with my brothers, we agree on a set number of coins per island, but the coins are selected at random from out of a pencil box whee we keep the coins punched out. (quick note, this pencil box contains almost exclusively coins with a value of 4 or grater. There are enough 1-3’s so it’s not crazy, but a majority of coins in our games are high value, which can lead to crazy final gold tallies.) We also usually agree to at least one random UT per island.

    We play until all gold is on home islands (or in forts), or is sunk and out of the game. (another note, we decide before the game starts whether we’re using the rules for sunk gold, where it automatically splits between the two players, or in the event of uneven amounts of gold, sinker of ship gets lions share of the coins.) Like Ben, we put gold face down on home islands, and in forts, so we have no way o knowing how much another player has until the final tally of gold.

     

    On more islands, I have found (and done :D) that more islands means that a player has a grater chance of emptying one or two and getting all of the loot for themselves before they have to deal with another player or two. To sum up, I think island total would depend on the number of players involved. In a 1v1, I think between 3-6 islands is best. In any game with more than a 1v1, I think that between 4-10 islands would be best. Again, it would depend on the total number of players involved in the game.

    As for terrain, I’m fond of stinging it together to make large chains of terrain that divides the map up. One such infamous game featured a reef chain that split the map in two. I wound up on one side of the barrier by myself, and eventually won the game since the other two players never crossed the reef until the end game.

    Many years ago I’d made scans of a couple terrain pieces and then printed them large enough to fill an entire Letter-sized (8.5″ x 11″) sheet of paper.

    I recall seeing something about that as well on the MT forum, though I’ve forgotten where exactly. I’ve thought of doing the same, or making my own large flat terrain. Supersized versions of certain terrain would make for some interesting games, and the mention of super sized Icebergs recalls to me some custom Viking stuff, like a fort that could be built on an iceberg.

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