Points in Play PLUS Gold for the win – An Intriguing House Rule

This “points in play” thing is a concept I started really liking in 2017, and now it’s one of my favorite house rules despite needing more time to playtest it.

Canceled user wrote:
Prize Value Ships are valuable beyond their cannons and sails; some have excellent rigging–others have above average food stores on board. Some ships are just better constructed. Set up per usual. For each ship in your fleet roll one of the mini dice: the number rolled represents the ship’s prize value for the rest of the game. Place the die on the bow of the ship for all to see. If the ship is captured and remains in posession of the capturing player until the end of the game, its prize value in gold is added to the capturing player’s total gold. Prize value is only counted if the ship changes hands at least once.

This is an intriguing idea, and could really incentivize capturing ships in smaller and shorter games when it’s usually less practical. However, I find the die roll a bit too random. Perhaps the prize is worth 1/3 or 1/4 of its point value in gold. Or, make it a full 50% (the Bragi could round down to 4, for example) and completely change the game. This could be a way to alleviate the emphasis on getting gold, which is one thing that some players dislike.

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On a similar tack, I’m interested in the way the game is played in regards to points afloat and making it more of a practical game. In reality, there weren’t gold-laden islands lying around waiting to be explored ad infinitum. The real value was in resources, political power, and of course winning engagements in a decisive manner.

– Whoever has the most points in play AND gold in play at the end of the game is the winner.

Here’s an example. Two people set up for a 40 point game, so both start the game with 40 points. These points can fluctuate throughout, but you’d rather have that number go up (through captures) than down (through sinkings and deaths). Player A captures two 5 point ships from Player B, giving him a 50-30 point advantage at the end. Player B collects 15 gold to Player A’s 7, resulting in a 57-45 victory for Player A.

This can’t be new, but I also haven’t seen it discussed that I remember. There are variations you could try, such as those in the thread linked above. Perhaps ships are only worth their full point cost if they have all their masts. Each lost mast could be -2 to the final tally.

The problems include making combat too important, and making the treasure game almost irrelevant if low value coins are used. In games with this (or similar) rule, perhaps only coins with a value of at least 4 could be used.

Here is a game played with this house rule!

Please leave a comment below saying what you think of this Points in Play and Gold for the win as a house rule!

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win - July 29th, 2017

The last picture taken from the first game in which I tried this house rule, played against Repkosai and Wifey on the VASSAL module.

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