Just finished reading through the rules posted by Van yesterday. Overall I'm pleased, after reading a couple of the reviews posted here so far I was actually expecting things to be dumbed down a bit more. The combat system is a bit simplistic but there are enough upgrades and options in the game to please the hardcore gamer in me.
Some general thoughts:
I like that the victory condition can be adjusted with ease to increase or decrease game length.
This is most definately a rich-get-richer momentum game. The fact that the economy and the victory condition is so closely intertwined means that there is really no way to avoid this.
One of my favorite aspects of the game is the risk vs reward that is present in deciding when to 'cash in' your ship. I love the fact that your entire setup is discarded when you bank your silver, it creates one of the few tough decisions in the game.
One of my least favorite aspects of the game is the movement. While a base + random movement is a lot better than purely random, I've always thought that by their very nature ships require semi-complex movement. One of my thoughts is stealing the direction die from the dread pirate game gathering dust in the garage. Roll for wind every turn, give each type of ship a base movement. Looking at the 4 types of ships, their range of movement is the following:
3 Mast: 4-9
Off the top of my head, movement could look something like this:
(With the Wind/Against the Wind/Side Wind)
Warship: (10/6/8, second fastest ship, slightly better against the wind than the sloop but not as fast with favorable winds)
3 Mast: (8/5/6, slow and clunky)
Brigantine: (9/6/7, average ship, brigs should suffer the least against the wind)
Sloop: (12/4/9, fastest ship with favorable or semi-favorable winds but should suffer the most against the wind)
Again, this is just off the top of my head without doing any playtesting or research. Any thoughts would be welcome. Would this mechanic cause too much trouble to really work?