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Subject: Sailing the High Seas with Francis Drake! rss

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Jason Grantz
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Bel Aire
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On Saturday, September 21st, I was able to demo two games of Francis Drake for the board gamers of WBG at Hero Complex Games!

My crew mates for the first game were Marshall, Michelle, Eric, and Shawn. I arrived a little early and began setting up the game, which drew quite the crowd. The bits in this games are mighty impressive, as I was setting the game up I assured everyone that this game wasn't as complex as it looks. When Marshall stopped by and saw the board, he knew this was a game for him.

I ran through the rules, explaining there were three Voyages with two different phases. In the first phase, you acquire various goods on the road of Plymouth. Plymouth is a one-way street, so once you advance to a location, you'll never be able to go backwards to a location you skipped. After explaining the various locations to gather the resources needed for the Voyage, I explained the Sailing Phase with how the disks worked, how to attack Forts, Towns, and Galleons and so on.



We were ready to set sail with Eric as our first player! He decided to skip down the road of Plymouth a little ways, passing by some good resources in favor of making sure he got the Queen. The Queen gives you an upgraded ship so you are able to attack the Spanish Galleons at sea and she also gives you a trade good and a gun.

Marshall went next, followed by Shawn, myself, and then Michelle. After getting our supplies, we set our course on the open sea with our color disks. Marshall went after a trade good strategy, while Shawn and Michelle tried to attack a town, fort, and a Galleon for the bonus VP. Eric and I both tried to do a mixture of the two.



After the first Voyage was over, you could see the theme and the mechanics just click for everyone involved. Shawn exclaimed "I really loved this game, Oh yeah I really love this game!" The next two Voyages were a pretty serious affair and we gather up as many resources as we could before hitting the harbor. During the last Voyage, I was able to stop Marshall from getting the tobacco he need to complete his full set of trade goods. Shawn was able to complete all of his attacks and successfully get the 10 bonus VP. At this point in the game, the scores were all really close still and it would come down to who had the most treasure in their chest. When we did the big reveal, both Shawn and Marshall had quite a few gold and red ruby's each. The final score was: Eric with 47, I had 87, Michelle with 89, Shawn with 98, and our vary own Francis Drake, Marshall with 105!

Afterwords, I had a gaming couple show interest in playing, they had just finished up a different game. I went through the rules with them and I was off with Cammy and Steve sailing along this time.

In the three player game, the amount of resources available on Plymouth street are fewer than in a 4 or 5 player game. That's because the game comes with different tiles for different amounts of players, which is very nice. Cammy and Steve were both able to get the trade goods pretty early on, which was a great advantage for them both. This left me trying to secure points by attacking the various forts, town, and galleons at sea.

In the second Voyage, I was able to get the Admiral. This allowed me to set the extra cannon tiles for the Gallons, so that I would know how many guns I would need for each ship. The Admiral is also nice, in that, it gives you any left over gold on the board at the end of a Voyage. During the game, if you are the first to successfully beat a Town, Fort, or Galleon you get a bonus Silver, Gold, or Ruby worth various points at the end of the game. Luckily for me, all the players only gathered enough supplies to sail to the three location on the board. This gave me 8 points for free, as no one was able to attack the forts in the four location.



The game ended with Steve as the victor with 128 points, Cammy with 112 and I sailed in last with 100. Francis Drake was a pretty big success with those who played it. It was great seeing several other gamers stop by and watch for a while as we played, commenting on the quality of the components or how fun the game looked. The best part for me, was seeing the excitement as players realized just how fun and deep this game was for them. I would have played a third game, and there was enough interests in one for sure, but sadly my FLGS closes at Midnight.
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Matt Smith
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Nice writeup. It sounds like you played one rule wrong, though. The Admiral doesn't give you the leftover gold. Instead, you score 1 VP for each leftover gold. The same is true for the Governor and leftover silver.
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Jason Grantz
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Bel Aire
Kansas
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mvettemagred wrote:
Nice writeup. It sounds like you played one rule wrong, though. The Admiral doesn't give you the leftover gold. Instead, you score 1 VP for each leftover gold. The same is true for the Governor and leftover silver.


You are absolutely correct! Thank you for catching that.
 
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John Farrell
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Yep, that ruled changed relatively recently.
 
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