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Subject: TVB - 4P - Playing the game as soon as it arrives. rss

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Richard Pardoe
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Rich arrived home to find the newly released Winds of Plunder from GMT on his doorstep. As he was expecting this game to arrive, he had read the Quick Start guide during the day. A quick read of the rules, and Rich was ready to try this game out when the others arrived. Dave, Ben, and Lawrence arrived and agreed to play.

The Quick Start Guide from GMT provides an excellent rules summary. Rather than requote it, let me summarize the game just enough so that others can follow this session report.

Players represent pirates sailing around the Caribbean. The Caribbean is depicted as map divided into 4 regions with 3 ports per region. As players move around the Caribbean, they are attempting to beef up their ships (crew, guns, provisions) and gain buried treasure while leaving a legacy of their reputation behind. Each of these items can (in some manor) be converted to victory points.

The first part of a round is to determine the first player and the wind direction. Possible movement for a player's ship is dictated by the wind direction. If the wind is blowing North (South), ships can only sail to ports north (south) of their current location in the same (or adjacent) region. If the wind is blowing East (West), ships can only sail to ports in the next two regions in that direction. At the start of a round, each player indicates a preferred direction (simultaneously revealed by all the players). Once these indications have been revealed, players can then spend resources (wind cubes) to decide how many votes to give to their indication. The person spending the most votes decides who will be first player for the round. The direction getting the most votes is the wind direction for the round.

Then each player will spend action points to buy or use cards which can aid the player or hinder an opponent (or) to gain more wind cubes. At some point the player must sail a new port. At the new port, they will gain items (crew, guns, provision, treasure maps) offered by the port as well as victory points. Should the port be occupied by another player, they can attempt to board the other players ship to steal items from them. Finally, if they are the "toughest" pirate in port, they may leave a behind a legacy (aka reputation as indicated by a resource cube). If a pirate leaves behind a legacy (or gains a reputation) in each port of a region, they will gain VPs. More for the first pirate to do so, less for each successive pirate. If a pirate sails into a port for which they have a treasure map - they gain "booty" and increasing VPs.

Gaining guns for one's ship is important as one can only board another player's ship by having more guns. Guns also help leave behind a legacy (reputation cube). Having the most crew yields an additional action point per turn. Having the most provisions yields a VP everytime a ship enters port. Finally, each of these items (and resource cubes) can be converted to VPs at game's end.)

I noted above that each port pays the player items and VPs. After a player sails to port and claims those items, the VP tile at the port is moved to end queue of tiles while the first tile in the queue replaces it in the port. As a result, the value of the ports on the board is constantly shifting as players sail each turn.

So a game with many ways to gain VPs as well as means of interfering with other players also. The game is played over 9 rounds with the player with the most VPs at game's end the winner.

Round I
As it was the first turn, no one but Ben bid for the wind direction, so Ben opted to be the first player as the wind direction was sent west. Ben headed to Cozumel to gain 5 VPs and cannons for his ship. He spent most of his action points buying back the wind cubes he had wasted in the bid. Dave headed to Havana gaining fewer VPs (2), but gaining a treasure map and cannon. Lawrence headed to Jamaica to gain cannons while Rich headed to San Salvadore also gaining cannon and crew.
Ben: 5 VP
Dave: 2 VP
Lawr: 4 VP
Rich: 2 VP


Round II
Lawrence won the bid for first player as the winds swung to the East. Lawrence sailed to Puerto Rico. Rich started to see how the cards could be used to advantage. He first swindled guns from Lawrence (giving up crew) to gain Most Cannons. He then played a mutiny card on Lawrence so that the just gained crew was lost also. Sails to Puerto Rico to board Lawrence's ship (taking VPs) while gaining additional crew gaining Largest Crew also.
Ben: 8 VP
Dave: 5 VP
Lawr: 7 VP
Rich: 6 VP


Round III
Dave won the first player and headed to Cozumel to gain booty from his buried treasure card. Lawrence sailed to San Salvadore, but also played treachery on Rich in revenge for last turn and steal 5 of Rich's wind cubes. Rich had an intrigue card, so switched port VP tiles to get desired items at the port Ben was at. Rich sailed in, boarded Ben to plunder some of Ben's VPs.
Ben: 10 VP
Dave: 11 VP
Lawr: 13 VP
Rich: 10 VP


Round IV
Dave bid to remain first player and to force the winds South. This allowed Dave to sail to Belize and gain the reputation victory points in the western Caribbean. Lawrence (in Jamaica) can only sail to Santa Domingo as it is the only port south of his current location. Rich wanted to head to Nassau, but must sail against the wind. So he spends his action points to do so, but gains the first reputation bonus in the west central Caribbean. Ben likewise spends action points to sail against the wind to Havana.
Ben: 17 VP
Dave: 20 VP
Lawr: 16 VP
Rich: 19 VP


Round V
Lawrence sails to Nassau follow Rich in the reputation bonus. He had hoped to board Rich's ship, but had forgotten to play his second cache of weapons (temporarily increase cannons) prior to sailing. Rich again is forced to sail against the wind to head to Jamaica to gain buried treasure points there.
Ben: 19 VP
Dave: 24 VP
Lawr: 24 VP
Rich: 24 VP


Round VI
Dave heads to Puerto Rico to get another buried treasure booty bonus. Lawrence heads to San Salvadore to gain buried treasure there but is followed by Ben who boards Lawrence's ship to steal VPs as well as to gain the reputation bonus for the west central region. Rich sailed all the way to the East (Barbados) to gain the buried treasure there.
Ben: 26 VP
Dave: 33 VP
Lawr: 29 VP
Rich: 32 VP


Round VII
Dave holds on to the first player while gaining the reputation bonus in the East Central Region by sailing to the Turks & Caicos. Lawrence sails against the wind to follow Dave and board Dave's ship. Ben also sails against the wind to also board Dave's ship. Rich sailed unmolested in the Eastern Caribbean gaining reputation in Guadeloupe.
Ben: 30 VP
Dave: 41 VP
Lawr: 34 VP
Rich: 35 VP


Round VIII
Dave heads east to Guadelope for the buried treasure. Lawrence heads to the Barbados while Ben heads to Santa Domingo. Rich sailed to the southern most port of Trinidad to gain his reputation bonus
Ben: 36 VP
Dave: 48 VP
Lawr: 38 VP
Rich: 45 VP


Round IX
Dave again wins the bid but opts to let Lawrence play first so Dave would be the last player. The wind direction is set to West. Lawrence sails to Nassau to claim buried treasure as well as Nassau's VPs while purchasing a few wind cubes. Rich sails with a gust of wind from the East to Belize in the West to gain his last buried treasure Ben also sails to Cozumel for his buried treasure. Dave also sails with a gust of wind to gain his 5th buried treasure in Havana and ends the game by causing Rich to lose 1 crew to mutiny (effectively costing Rich 1 VP.)
Ben: 44 VP
Dave: 59 VP
Lawr: 40 VP
Rich: 53 VP


So with the game over, we now add the end game scores.

Players gain 1 VP for every 3 wind cubes, 1 VP for every 3 cannon, 1 VP for every 2 crew, and 1 VP for every 1 provision (fractions lost in each case). Finally, the owners of the most crew, guns, provisions each gain 2 VPs per majority. The black is the total points, the yellow is the count.

Cubes Guns Crew Prov Most
Ben: 44 VP + 6(18) + 2(6) + 1(3) + 2(2) + 2(Guns) = 57
Dave: 59 VP + 0( 0) + 0(2) + 4(8) + 2(2) + 2(Crew) = 67
Lawr: 40 VP + 2( 6) + 1(3) + 2(4) + 3(3) + 0(----) = 48
Rich: 53 VP + 3( 9) + 1(4) + 0(1) + 3(3) + 2(Prov) = 62


A picture of game end:

(though we do have Rich's VP's incorrect).

As the VP progression shows, this is tight little game with the VPs increasing at a pretty uniform clip. Dave did a good job with the buried treasure gaining 11 points more then the next player which probably was a key reason he kept and maintained the lead. I enjoyed the various ways to score points and felt we did a good job starting to explore how to use the cards to adjust and interfere with others. Our first play took just over 2 hours, but that included a rules explanation as well as getting a feel for the game in the first few turns. The clip increased as the game progressed and I can see subsequent games taking the suggested 90-120 minutes.

I did like how the advantage cards (majority positions) did and will change over the course of the game, not just by players out gaining on another, but also by taking items away from the leader. The ability to board vessels helps make the turn order decisions a key element, one I suspect we overlooked a bit in this game. Dave did the right thing on the last turn in yielding the first move to Lawrence so he would move last (and not be boarded should anyone feel so inclined with his low guns.) I think that a few plays are needed to see just how valuable the first player auction might be.

I certainly ran into a bit of trouble in the middle of the game (Rounds IV and V) where I spent my action points to sail against the wind rather than stay in a single location. This forced me to spend all my action just to move, but at a cost of gaining more wind cubes (or) cards. But I felt I needed to keep moving to gain VPs rather than sit and wait at a port. With only 9 rounds, one can't really waste a turn. And in the end, it was Dave who was quite efficient. Scoring buried treasure at 5 of his nine locations visited and also gaining the reputation bonus in 2 regions (again at 6 of nine locations visited). A good game that yielded positive comments from all around the table as we ended our session tonight.
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Tony Nardo
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Ellicott City
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Quote:
Finally, if they are the "toughest" pirate in port, they may leave a behind a legacy (aka reputation as indicated by a resource cube).

Close, but not quite on the mark. As long as you have at least as many Weapons as any one of the other pirates (or are the only pirate) in the port, you are eligible to place a cube there. You must place a cube there, if eligible, unless you've already marked the port or you don't have any cubes left in your reserve.

Example: you sail to a port occupied by the red and blue players, where red has 5 Weapons and blue has 1 Weapon. As long as you have at least 1 Weapon, you are still eligible to mark the port.

Aside from that minor point, an excellent summary of the rules!
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Richard Pardoe
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Missed that and see that the quick start guide does state that. Thanks for the clarification.

Thinking of our game, this might have impacted perhaps one port the entire game. Most common was to be the sole ship in port, or to be the second ship in port. We were quite clear on the 2-ship case of the requirements for boarding and the requirements for reputation. Rarer was the times of having 3 ships in port (we never had 4). There might have been one instance when Lawrence sailed into port. He didn't outgun Ben, but might have been tied with with the other ship, so could have left a reputation cube behind.

We will remember this point for next time. Thanks again.
 
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Tim K.
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Spokane
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Nicely detailed session report! Should prove very useful to anyone interested in how the game plays thumbsup
 
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Martin Stever
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Great session report! Thanks for taking the time to write and post it! arrrh
 
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