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.
Are there any changes you would recommend in regards to explore actions?
I would make islands bigger and mark them into sections, no explorer you can only explore the shore, have an explorer he can move one box at a time looking for treasure. You cant have the wild island fully explored at the same time. The ships with explore ability would still allow you to look at the gold but it would still be a free for all who gets it.
I think this does make some sense, and it reminds me of the custom ruleset created for the World game where RISK army units can explore territories and land for gold or resources. I’m a little worried it would slow down exploring too much to the point where combat would be the prevailing strategy, but many people have complained that the game is too much of a simple gold race without enough player interaction via combat.
I’ve also used Ross’ awesome islands in a similar capacity, where each beach must be explored separately. It’s a fun way to have a lot of gold in a central location without having the first ship that explores the island grab all the good coins right away. (which is sometimes a problem when using one wild island with a ton of goodies on it)