Alternate Rule: Crew Are NOT Cargo
Crew no longer count as Cargo. Crewing now affects running of the ship.
This decision is defended by the reality of the era that the crew of a ship slept on the gun deck and were alotted 18 inched of space to sling their hammock (although with two watches it meant the off watch had a roomy 36 inches all to themselves). On merchant ships, the small crew slept forward in a bow comparment in which it was too awkward to stow cargo of any size.
At the beginning of the game, ships must be manned by crew equal to half the ship’s point value (fractions rounded up). For example, a 5-point ship would need 3 crew to be fully manned, and a 15-point ship would need 8 crew. Figure each crew counter to represent about 15-20 sailors. A small sloop would need 45 to man guns and handle sails, while a frigate would need 110.
Ships may carry additional crew above this value, to make allowance for battle losses and to use as prize crew for captured ships. Crew are paid on the following scale:
Crew (points) Skills
Seamen (1 pt.) Represented by colored stones or other markers. 10-15 men. No special attributes.
Cannoneer (and experienced gun handlers) (2 pts.) Make one “S” gun a “L” OR one gun shoots again on a miss.
Marines (Musketeer counter) (2 pts.) Add one “S” gun roll (d3) for musketry, OR +1 boarding party.
Helmsmen (petty officers) (3 pts.) Add one “S” length to move.
Oarsmen (2 pts.) If the ship is dismasted, to the lee of an island, or pointed into the wind, oarsmen can move the ship “S” per turn.
Shipwright (carpenter, sailmaker) (3 pts.) Repairs one mast per turn at sea or wild island, two if docked at home island.
That being done, you may then add the following rule:
When a ship is firing, the player declares whether the battery is firing chainshot (vs. masts and rigging), roundshot (vs. hull), or grapeshot (vs. crew, short range only).
Target ships have rigging points equal to their number of masts, hull points equal to their cargo rating, and crew points equal to the crew counters.
Reducing masts to zero results in the ship being derelict, reducing the hull to zero results in sinking, and reducing crew to zero results in surrendering the ship. The attacking player must still board the ship to capture it.
CREW Note: A ship with a single crew counter is reduced to making ONE Action every other turn.
The ship may still make MOVE, ATTACK, REPAIR, or EXPLORE actions. While attacking, it may board normally, but may only fire one cannon battery in a turn.
If a ship with a single crew counter returns to home port, the player must hire additional crew equal to half the ship’s point value (fractions rounded up) before the ship may sail again.
Crew may only be hired at home ports, but may be gathered by pressing from captured ships or castaways.