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Merchants & Marauders» Forums » General

Subject: Core + Seas of Glory - Which modules to use in the first game? rss

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Jim Jones
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Merchants & Marauders is a pretty long game, and first games always tend to stray longer so the conventional wisdom is often to simply play with the core game for the first outing. However, this isnt a game thats going to hate the table super often so I'd like to insure that each play of the game is the best it can be. Seas of Glory seems to be so highly praised because it "fixes" or improves on multiple aspects of the base game. With that in mind which modules from Seas of Glory should one include in their first game of M&M?

I assume tokens and extra cards are an automatic addition as they only expand variety/usability with no added complexity. It seems Favours, Loyalty and Locations have the biggest impact in terms of additional complexity and changing the base game (but the flavour they add looks cool). So I'm leaning towards leaving those out.

That was a tad rambly, so what are peoples thoughts on what to include or leave out? While the players I'm introducing the game to are new to M&M they're familiar with heavier board and computer games (in case that affects recommendations).
 
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POUM
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Loyalty makes the game hard! Died 3 times in a row last game (they where lousy pirates, still). Keep the rest, they are great. If you want to make the game more realistic, like Avalone Hill's Blackbeard (my favourite pirate game), ad Loyalty. meeple

The rules also says how much time each ad-on ads.
 
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Jack
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There were only a couple I left out - Loyalty, NPC upgrades, and Favors. Also, you may want to go with a d8 for the weather as the spinner is piss-poor quality. Mine is, at least.
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Kyle
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Up Nort' Der
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For a first time play...

Definitely Add:
-New Captains, Events, Missions, Rumors (no reason to ever remove these from their decks)
-Contraband (if you decide you don't like CB, just ignore the port names on the cards)
-Brigs and modified Galleon cards
-New Special Weapons

Depends on the Group, but lean toward not using:
(Just because they're extra stuff to manage each turn, not really due to complexity or difficulty.)
-Treasure Galleon
-Wind & Weather
-Locations

Definitely leave out for the first play:
-NPC Upgrades
-Favors
-Loyalty (including the Plank ship mod)
-Variants 1, 3, 4, & 5
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Brad103
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I've only left out...
-Favors
-Loyalty
-Locations

Favor and Loyalty seem to work well together. And since I'm not quite ready for the extra difficulty of adding in Loyalty, I've not tried Favor yet either. As for Locations. It wouldn't make the game more difficult, but I feel this module would greatly increase the play time for the game. Right now my group is still trying to familiarize themselves with the Town abilities, adding in another set of locations to keep track of would great a lot of down time I think.

As for NPC Upgrades, I've not found them to make things much harder (maybe I haven't drawn really mean combinations yet), but they do make things more interesting, and add a lot of variety to the enemies and the game.
 
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George
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I like Kyle's list but honestly, if you've never played the base game, you'll be more than fine just playing with it. The only thing remotely resembling a fix is the new Galleon cards with 1 Maneuverability. (And I don't really consider it a fix because I never found Galleons overpowered or always preferable in the base game.) The base game has enough rules to be overwhelming on a first play, and all the modules (except the cards) add more options to consider and rules to understand.

That said, if you want to add some stuff anyway, follow Kyle's list except I'd swap Locations and Favors. Locations would be overwhelming I think on first play. (Although Locations is probably my favorite module of all.) Favors are simpler, and really help make Missions/Rumors more viable, as well as curb bad luck. I would personally recommend adding just the Brig, Contraband and Favors.

The alternate suggestion is if you want to add stuff, but not change the base game too much, is add the cards, brig, weapons, wind and treasure galleon. Contraband, Favors, Locations & Loyalty change the feel of the game more.

On that note, I can think of other module based expansions where I've added everything in and never looked back. Seas of Glory is one where it's actually really great to pick different modules each time. It really changes the flavor and strategy of each game to focus on particular modules. Again, I'm mainly talking the advanced modules here (Contraband, Favors, Locations & Loyalty) as everything else on Kyle's "definitely add" list is something I'll use every single game. The Treasure Galleon, Wind/Weather, and NPC upgrades I look at as variety choices more than strategy choices.
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George
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Also, you might want to try a solo game using Kyle's excellent solo rules as a way of getting the rules down pat. That way you can run things efficiently for your first group game!
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Uthred wrote:
... play with the core game for the first outing. However...

There is no 'however' for me. devil
 
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Jim Jones
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Thanks for the advice, I hadnt thought of trying the game solo first but I think I'll definitely give that a shot to get a better grasp of things.
 
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Mark J.
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The base game is the best way to go for your first play.

Definitely leave out wind and Weather. I would also leave out the new special weapons in addition to what Kyle said.
 
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Brad103
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What's so bad about the wind and weather? I find that one the easiest to add in. It's a simple mechanic that works well. Gives more thought to your next destination. It was the first module I included. Been using it long before I even picked up the expansion.
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Kyle
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Braffe wrote:
What's so bad about the wind and weather? I find that one the easiest to add in. It's a simple mechanic that works well. Gives more thought to your next destination. It was the first module I included. Been using it long before I even picked up the expansion.
It's not that it adds much difficulty to the game. It's more that it adds extra stuff to manage every turn, which can be a bit much for people that are still figuring out how to play in the first place.

The same goes for the Treasure Galleon and Locations. You could ignore them entirely during the game, but someone has to keep the Galleon moving as needed, and having the locations to look at in addition to everything else can be overwhelming for new players.
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Steve G.
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I had a similar question to that of the OP. Glad there was already a thread for it, but as someone who hasn't played M&M at all yet I'm not sure what needs to be "fixed".

I was listening to the Secret Cabal, and they commented that they love the game's premise, but find some aspects of the game to be broken enough that it begs for it to be "fired" by a better-designed spin on the concept.

Seems that their notions of the brokenness has mostly to do with runaway leaders upgrading themselves into an unbeatable position. Does the expansion really address that?

 
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Darren Dickinson
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I've never really had a problem with runaway leaders, I think the game is pretty well balanced enough to avoid that, so I may not be able to give the best answer. Also, I haven't played with all the new modules yet, like loyalty and locations.

Having said all that, if the leader is a pirate, NPC Man o' Wars are (slightly) more common, and all naval ships have upgrades if you play with that module, so that does make it tougher for pirates in the end game when all 4 naval ships are about. If the leader is a merchant, then the player pirates can be assumed to have had horrible luck but with the new Galleon cards and the more PVP variant (I forget the name), a merchant is always sinkable, no matter how many ship mods/special weapons they buy. Other than that I don't think the expansion really changes the balance of the game.

Personally I've found pirates to do better than merchants, and their glory points gain tends to slow down as the game goes on in our group. So what seems like a runaway leader can pretty quickly be caught.
 
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Jack
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Yeah, I've never seen a runaway problem. And the only time I've seen one side doing better than the other was merchants before the cutthroat variant.
 
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