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Merchants & Marauders» Forums » Variants

Subject: A two pronged more interaction variant rss

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Roger Taylor
United States
Michigan
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Merchants and Marauders
Unofficial More Interactive Variant

This variant is designed to increase the player to player interaction in both combative and mutualistic ways. This is achieved through the introduction of a new trading action and through a new ‘Ambush’[1] mechanic along with a suite of balance changes to accommodate these new mechanics. If you and your group like the demand-trading/merchant-raid focused gameplay as presented in the base game you will most likely dislike this variant, you have been warned.


Player Trading
One of the main reasons the game is so un-interactive is that one whole playstyle, the merchant, is not benefited by interaction at all, and in the case of pirate-to-merchant interaction the merchant sees negative effects. This paradigm is the reason merchants only sail from port to port ignoring other players to the best of their abilities. This variants suggested change is the addition of an action that can be taken when in a sea-zone or port of another player.

Trade-
The two players involved in the trade may exchange cargo cards in an equal or
unequal exchange, respecting cargo limits on both ships. Cargo cards may also
be exchanged for gold at a rate of one cargo card per 3 gold.

This action may be taken as a part of a port action or as a stand-alone action out
in a sea zone.

The player involved in the trade that did not spend an action to initiate the trade
loses an action on his/her next turn if the trade did not occur in a port.

Associated balance change:
In order to make trading more required the number of goods sold in demand to earn a glory point is increased to 4; goods sold not in demand are sold for only 2 per card. To compensate for the increased required in-demand goods all ships may carry an extra cargo, as per the top ability of “Pepijin Van Avezaath”. “Pepijin Van Avezaath” may now carry two extra cargo.

To keep Merchant raids balanced, with the now harder trading, four cargo cards are drawn instead of three and glory points are earned on gold incomes of 15+. However, merchants only escape when their ‘Escape!’ cards exceed a ships maneuverability.


Ambush
In order to allow more pirate-to-merchant antagonistic interaction the ambush action is introduced. Similar to the official cutthroat variant this spans the action point cost across multiple turns and introduces a more deliberate planning of ambushes.

Ambush-
When this action is taken the player who took it begins scouting for
player-captains until the start of their next turn in much the same way NPCs
scout for player-captains. When a non-pirate player-captain moves into the
sea-zone of a player who has taken the ambush action the player who set up the
ambush action may use up an action from his next turn to roll a scouting check
to try and engage combat with the player who entered his/her sea-zone.

Associated balance changes/Clarifications:
As this will lead to more merchant vs pirate naval battles the galleon must be nerfed as in the official cutthroat variant. The galleon’s maneuverability is reduced to 1.

1 [Credit to Chase @http://boardgamegeek.com/user/robochase6000 for the name of the action.]


Please let me know what you all think, I am not exactly happy with the implementation of the "Trading" interaction (and it's associated balance repercussions) but I think player to player trading would add a lot of interaction to the otherwise solo merchant path, and I just wanted to the the idea out there to get constructive criticism and perhaps suggestions.
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Emil Juul Jacobsen
Denmark
København S
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This variant is pretty clear in its mechanics, which is a huge plus. I am not sure the trading should cost an action though, would players use it? Maybe the enhanced difficulty of getting 4 in demand goods can do it, but I doubt it.
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Roger Taylor
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Michigan
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I did wonder about the action cost myself, but I don't think it would be very balanced as a non-action. If done in port it can be done as part of an action you are most likely taking anyways. Like I said though, the implementation is a bit sloppy, thanks for your input.
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Dave Dawn
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Interesting.

Welcome to the best board game site on the internet!
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Cargo cards may also be exchanged for gold at a rate of one cargo card per 3 gold.
3 gold each is possible, but I'd increase it, for instance to 5 gold: The buying player has the good in demand and the seller is in fact helping another player to gain a victory point.


This action may be taken as a part of a port action or as a stand-alone action out in a sea zone.
I agree.


The player involved in the trade that did not spend an action to initiate the trade loses an action on his/her next turn if the trade did not occur in a port.
Makes sense! I'd add that the player who does not initiate the trade can choose to trade (and lose an action in the next turn) or decline the trading request (and not lose any action in the next turn).


In order to make trading more required the number of goods sold in demand to earn a glory point is increased to 4;
Hmm, I need to think what the consequences this would have...
As an alternative to make trading less random, you could have 1 (or 2) trade card(s) visible in each port, and draw less cards.


goods sold not in demand are sold for only 2 per card.
Even in vanilla M&M it makes sense to only receive less than the standard sell price of a good. I hope that it doesn't reduce gameplay too much. (f.i. it'll hurt players who are unlucky in finding the third in-demand good.)


To compensate for the increased required in-demand goods all ships may carry an extra cargo
This sounds logical. I'm not sure about the consequences yet.


To keep Merchant raids balanced, with the now harder trading, four cargo cards are drawn instead of three and glory points are earned on gold incomes of 15+. However, merchants only escape when their ‘Escape!’ cards exceed a ships maneuverability.
This could not work out well: 50% of the cards do damage to the ship (or crew). With one extra card it'll be more difficult to win a merchant raid, because one of the damage locations gets destroyed, or worse (the ship sinks). This especially hurts players who like to raid with the Sloop ship type. Typically I draw two extra cards on merchant raids. In the situation of four cards, I'd still be able to swap out only two damage cards. I hope that 2 Seamanship will still be enough. There aren't many captains with 3-3-x-x stats.


When a non-pirate player-captain moves into the sea-zone of a player who has taken the ambush action
I don't see the need to restrict this rule to non-pirate players. The player who ambushes scouts the non-pirate or pirate, and in both cases he has the choice to attack.

I hope that this helps.
 
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