Rules for Thought #38 – Making Shipwrights build Ships!

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    Now that the Rules survey has some results (44 responses as of this post), I think it would be a good idea to discuss some various options in detail.  I’ve been thinking of various house rules for specific crew abilities, which I’ll release as separate threads.

    Shipwrights on home island: allow you to launch ships with the same number of masts as the number of shipwrights on the home island.  (3 shipwrights on your HI means you can spend gold to build a new 3 master from outside the game)

    This is a way to make shipwrights not just repairmen, but builders as well.  It’s also an interesting way to give some standard games a little “campaign flair” if you will.  However, perhaps it would be best in a game where crew (or at least generic crew) can be hired for gold at your home island as a house rule.  (since spending a bunch of gold to have shipwrights sit at home for unknown/potential launches could backfire in most games at reasonable build totals)

    Any thoughts on this?


    I’m all for adding rules to allow for buying/building new ships, especially in campaign settings, but requiring a shipwright for that just sounds like a weird way to force players to dump extra points on crew they otherwise don’t want or need. Limiting the number of masts you can build based on the number of shipwrights you have makes that even weirder, and doesn’t account for the fact that there’s only a very weak correlation between the number of masts a ship has and how well it performs. There are countless examples of small ships that are far superior to ones with two or even three times as many masts.

    Allowing those shipwrights to be purchased during the game doesn’t make it less weird, it just adds an extra surcharge when buying the first few new ships.

    If building/buying is to be allowed at all, it should be done as a standard rule for that particular game (or campaign), and be available to all players, so there isn’t a penalty for not bringing along a specific crew type, and losing a specific crew doesn’t leave a player potentially crippled for later games in the campaign.

    That being said, if you did still want to involve shipwrights somehow, perhaps they could provide a slight cost discount, or make the action more efficient or something. Maybe each shipwright reduces the cost per ship by 1, or maybe new ships come into play with no masts, but then get a head start of one mast per shipwright present.

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