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Subject: [Strategy] Winds of Plunder rss

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1. For the first half or more of the game, target the 2-point victory point tiles with two icons. If you are lucky enough to get Heave, Ye Scurvy Dogs it can grant you an additional sailing action, which is huge, but you have to be in last place to use it. Scurvy Dogs is so powerful that I recommend preparing for the possibility of drawing it even if you don't have it in your hand early in the game. The 2-point victory point tiles will help keep you near the rear on the victory point track (making Scurvy Dogs possible) while getting you ahead on the crew/weapons/provisions tracks. It also makes you less of a target, since the victory point track is the biggest signal of who the leader is, even though it is obviously not the only measure. To use Scurvy Dogs, you will generally have to be the last player playing in a round. If you win the Blackbeard tile and hold Scurvy Dogs, have the player to your left go first.

2. Never rely on a gust of wind. Three actions are too valuable to spend on a gust of wind. There is a balancing act here:
* Try to stay near the middle of the board so that you have a port to sail to in any direction. When that is the case, bid zero. Save your wind cubes for when you really need to control the wind.
* Only go to the corners when you are in the same general area of the board as everyone else, so that everyone will want to go the same direction as you OR you have enough wind cubes to control the wind to get out of the corner.
* If you are pinned, of course, it is better to use the gust of wind than to not sail to any port at all.
* If possible, go to areas where others are not going in order to get the 7-point reputation bonus. This contradicts the idea of staying with a crowd, though. The trick is to be north when they are north and south when they are south, so that you are still 'with the crowd' on the wind bids even though you are in a different area from everyone else.

Others have suggested that a gust of wind is useful to avoid being plundered, since you get away from the pack. If you are away from the pack, though, it is more likely that you will need to use yet another gust of wind later. Instead I suggest staying out of last place on the weapon track...

3. Try to be in the middle of the pack on the weapons track. Weapons are not worth as many victory points, so don't get in an arms race for first place. But don't fall to the bottom or you will have trouble earning reputation and will get plundered too often. As long as you plunder as often as you are plundered, you will be fine.

4. Watch your hand size. Storms will reduce your hand size to two. Never hold more than two 'must have' cards. Always be prepared to discard down to two. If more than two cards in your hand are 'must have' cards, play them immediately instead of holding them, even if you aren't sure who the best target is. Better to take down an opponent at random than to lose the cards. With 3 storms, you can expect one about every third round. Don't be caught off-guard.

5. The bonus action for having the most crew is, in my opinion, the most powerful of the three bonus cards, because of the flexibility it affords. It can give you the freedom to activate enough wind cubes to never have to use a gust of wind. It can give you the action you need to play that extra card so you don't have to lose cards to a Storm.

6. You will visit 9 ports... 10 if you can play Scurvy Dogs. Be sure to get reputation bonuses in 2 of the 4 areas. The 3rd area will probably not be worth it because it will be near the end of the game so you'll probably be the 3rd, 4th, or 5th pirate in the area. You'll probably do better cashing in an extra treasure map than targeting a 3rd reputation bonus. For your first two, select the two either the left side or right side of the board. The middle two areas will see the most traffic, so it will be harder to get 1st or 2nd in both of them. If you target one of the side areas and one of the middle areas and you finish them off by round 6, you should be first or second in both.
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