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Subject: House Rules Before the Game Even Arrives (if ever) rss

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Mark Armbruster
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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I finally gave up and printed the PDF copy of the game we are disappointed in the game after several plays. It doesn't seem to be balanced well. So to try and save it, we implemented these house rules.

Problem: Luck of the draw with Relics can be overpowering. i.e. If one gets several add-crew-to-X.
Solution: Limited to keeping only two relics (discard to choose if you have more than two). Note that the Monkey's Paw doesn't count against this limit. This also means one can't win on turn 4 by being incredibly lucky in drawing 4 map fragments, as unlikely as that is.

Problem: Free upgrades are too powerful as one invariably upgrades their crew, to better win future upgrades.
Solution: Any wording of Free Upgrade requires you to pick upgrade your lowest ship attribute.

Problem: Attacking can have no downside when losing. If you lose a battle with no goods, all that happens is you go to a random port.
Solution: If one does not have any goods to start with and loses a battle, reduce your crew by 1. If your crew is at 0, reduce your sail by 1. If your sail is at 0, reduce your cannons by 1. If your cannons are at 0 reduce your hull by 1. If your hull is at 0, you lose the game because your ship sunk.

That's all we've got play test approved up for now. We are working on changing how wind works, but haven't found anything that fits thematically that is balanced.
 
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Andy Mac
Australia
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I've really tried to keep a stiff upper lip about this all the way through. This post just makes me sad. I'd kidded myself that I was waiting and waiting and waiting for a truly excellent and well play-tested game. What a massive bummer.

soblue

Thanks for the house rules, though. When (if) my copy ever gets to me I'll consider them alongside the box contents.
 
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Mark Armbruster
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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After more play testing we have solidified the rules we use and we like the game with these rules. I had someone comment that she didn't want to play it again, but then we made these changes and now she likes it.

We play with the rules above, with these addendum:
Parley cards now grant a single upgrade (high roll) instead of high roll + card owner.

Wind is now determined at random on the starting player's turn, after one turn with no wind. Starting player rolls a D6 and sets the wind direction: 1=No Wind, 2=North, 3=East, 4=South, 5=West, 6=No Change. Favorable Winds cards add +2 to sail value for the turn for all uses of the sail value.

This allows all players to benefit or suffer from wind direction equally, allows the Favorable wind cards to still have some thematic value, allows the wind to stay the same direction (~33% chance) and allows the wind to go back to calm-no wind, for which there was no provision in the original rules.
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Mark Armbruster
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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Several more things we have since added to help reduce the almighty imbalance of crew. Parley (Roll + Crew = Free Upgrade) now rolls and adds the column number of one's highest ship attribute rather than crew. This way one can specialize in any trait and still possibly win a parley.

We also added the concept of gaining infamy from defeating merchants, as it makes thematic sense. +1 infamy for each merchant defeated (keep the card to keep track). -1 infamy/ship card if you get defeated after defeating at least 1 merchant. (Since people are no longer as scared of your prowess since you got defeated). This helps out the pirate side a little since at later levels your odds of winning aren't very good and there is little incentive to battle.

We changed the Game End a little in that once someone reaches 20 infamy (or 19/16 with Map Fragments) that triggers the end of the game at the end of the round. All players finish so that everyone gets an equal number of turns (you need to know who the starting player is, but we keep track of this easily by having that person roll wind). At the end of that round the winner is the person with the most infamy, or in case of a tie, the person with the most coins remaining. If that is tied, then tie game.
 
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Jay Kadlec
United States
Michigan
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dolphi5 wrote:
I finally gave up and printed the PDF copy of the game we are disappointed in the game after several plays. It doesn't seem to be balanced well. So to try and save it, we implemented these house rules.

Problem: Luck of the draw with Relics can be overpowering. i.e. If one gets several add-crew-to-X.
Solution: Limited to keeping only two relics (discard to choose if you have more than two). Note that the Monkey's Paw doesn't count against this limit. This also means one can't win on turn 4 by being incredibly lucky in drawing 4 map fragments, as unlikely as that is.

Problem: Free upgrades are too powerful as one invariably upgrades their crew, to better win future upgrades.
Solution: Any wording of Free Upgrade requires you to pick upgrade your lowest ship attribute.

Problem: Attacking can have no downside when losing. If you lose a battle with no goods, all that happens is you go to a random port.
Solution: If one does not have any goods to start with and loses a battle, reduce your crew by 1. If your crew is at 0, reduce your sail by 1. If your sail is at 0, reduce your cannons by 1. If your cannons are at 0 reduce your hull by 1. If your hull is at 0, you lose the game because your ship sunk.

That's all we've got play test approved up for now. We are working on changing how wind works, but haven't found anything that fits thematically that is balanced.


I like the bulk of your suggestions. One tweak I think I'll do is a max of 4 relics so that ppl can get all 4 map fragments. Yeah there's a chance of lucky draw win but then you just start playing a new game

I actually just read from the developer posting in reply to a different thread that they agree with your second solution (so I guess we should have been doing that all along...). When all of your upgrades are in line only then can you pick. They also said that when you steal an upgrade, what you steal must correlate then with what you upgrade (ie steal a sail upgrade a sail).

Literally making a house rules word doc for me based off your suggestions though. Thank you!
 
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Jay Kadlec
United States
Michigan
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dolphi5 wrote:
Favorable Winds cards add +2 to sail value for the turn for all uses of the sail value.


Can you clarify this?
 
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