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Subject: Are privateers worth it? rss

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Tim Seitz
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A privateer is one of your tokens that sits in the merchant fleet of an opponent. When they use the merchant to ship goods, your privateers can attack the fleet and cause them to lose merchant fleets.

Is this worth it?

Employing a privateer costs a treasury. You can place one privateer per game turn. They take effect during the victim's merchant action.

Quote:
Each player can put up to 1 Treasury in one other player’s Merchant Fleet box. This is a Privateer (Privateers attack when the target player uses the Merchant; see this Character)

Each privateer has a 1/3 chance of destroying a merchant fleet.

Quote:
If other players have Privateers in your Merchant Fleet box, they can roll 1 special die for each of them before you ship anything. Every Success rolled allows them to destroy (discard) one of your Merchant fleets, before it can ship any Goods

But afterward, the player will get a chance to destroy them using his Navy.

Quote:
Following this attack, you can counterattack by rolling 1 special die, up to a maximum of 5 dice, for each of your Squadrons (Naval Forces), and destroy a Privateer of your choice for every Success roll.

If they have a modest Navy of 3, then they will have a 70% chance of destroying at least one privateer.

If all players combine to hit a single player at once, then it could be a slowing mechanism if they have a weak Navy, but on the surface, it does not seem all that worth it. Privateers seem like an alternate way to donate treasury to the pool.

Thoughts?



 
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Jesse Dean
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I was wondering that myself. The only situation I can see it being worthwhile is if you have extra money to spend, but even then it seems like it would be better used to boost naval forces. Maybe if you got a treasury for destroying a merchant ship it might be marginally better, but as it is, it seems more like a potential annoyance than anything else.
 
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Tim Seitz
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doubtofbuddha wrote:
I was wondering that myself. The only situation I can see it being worthwhile is if you have extra money to spend, but even then it seems like it would be better used to boost naval forces. Maybe if you got a treasury for destroying a merchant ship it might be marginally better, but as it is, it seems more like a potential annoyance than anything else.

Yea, I agree the privateers ought to return some value when successful, since it does not look they will get too many opportunities to loot merchants, given a decent Navy.

It also shows how important a strong Navy is, otherwise you will be easy pickings for privateers.
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László Horváth
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out4blood wrote:
...

It also shows how important a strong Navy is, otherwise you will be easy pickings for privateers.


Maybe that is the point of privateers. Keep the navy balanced.
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Bartosz Popow
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For real, I would really appreciate the whole game much more if it had less random factor. Artwork looks amazing, role selection looks neat etc., however I'm not fully into this dice rolling here and there.
 
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Jesse Dean
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BartP wrote:
For real, I would really appreciate the whole game much more if it had less random factor. Artwork looks amazing, role selection looks neat etc., however I'm not fully into this dice rolling here and there.


How is it different from the randomness of trying to get the right card when drawing from a deck like in Warhammer: Invasion? Both games have random attributes that can be overcome by invstments. (Seafaring tech for the exploration die roll and simple quantity for the wars and privateering).
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Christophe Pont
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OPTIONAL PRIVATEER RULE

I have this rule I like, that didn't make it : when playing the Merchant, treat your Privateers as Merchant Fleets.

arrrh
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Tim Seitz
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Quote:
Are privateers worth it?

The answer from our game tonight was a resounding NO.

2 players made privateers in the first round, merchant fleets took no losses and both pirates were destroyed immediately. No one else felt compelled to waste precious treasury after that.

Post game, we discussed the weakness of pirates and came to the conclusion that were not worth it for players to do, but might be an option to slow down a leader, but only if everyone combined their efforts!

A side effect of no pirates was that no one ever upgraded their Navy power, and the largest Navy was only size 4 at the end of the game.

Quote:
OPTIONAL PRIVATEER RULE

I have this rule I like, that didn't make it : when playing the Merchant, treat your Privateers as Merchant Fleets.

This would probably increase the desire to make privateers, but since our privateers never lasted a full turn, it would still seem kind of a waste to throw the treasury away.
 
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Bartosz Popow
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doubtofbuddha wrote:
How is it different from the randomness of trying to get the right card when drawing from a deck like in Warhammer: Invasion? Both games have random attributes that can be overcome by invstments. (Seafaring tech for the exploration die roll and simple quantity for the wars and privateering).

It's not an easy answer, but to me it is a different kind of randomness. I'm not saying I don't like a luck factor. But I just somehow feel that it doesn't fully fit this game. With all those clever mechanisms around, you'd like to be more sure whether you manage to accomplish something. Oh well, I hope I will be able to test the game prior to purchase.
 
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Tim Seitz
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BartP wrote:
doubtofbuddha wrote:
How is it different from the randomness of trying to get the right card when drawing from a deck like in Warhammer: Invasion? Both games have random attributes that can be overcome by invstments. (Seafaring tech for the exploration die roll and simple quantity for the wars and privateering).

It's not an easy answer, but to me it is a different kind of randomness. I'm not saying I don't like a luck factor. But I just somehow feel that it doesn't fully fit this game. With all those clever mechanisms around, you'd like to be more sure whether you manage to accomplish something. Oh well, I hope I will be able to test the game prior to purchase.

I'm not sure that you could make a credibly themed game about sailing around the world where an expedition was a "sure thing".
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Bartosz Popow
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Awaiting your session report ;].
 
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John Sizemore
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I was one of the players in Tim's game last night. It seemed to me that the privateers were weak, but I can imagine them being important if eveyone works together. You can't win with a loan, and loans are hard to repay without the merchant action. A couple of players throwing privateers at the leader could really slow his income.

The game struck me as complex enough that a few plays would be necessary to have an idea of what really works.
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Tim Seitz
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To clarify, you don't get money doing merchant action. You get money doing a trader action, which pirates do not stop. Late in the game there were plenty of tokens in the pile. I probably could have declined to let you trade my goods. That will be a bigger factor in subsequent plays.
 
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John Sizemore
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out4blood wrote:
To clarify, you don't get money doing merchant action. You get money doing a trader action, which pirates do not stop. Late in the game there were plenty of tokens in the pile. I probably could have declined to let you trade my goods. That will be a bigger factor in subsequent plays.


But doing the Merchant is the only guaranteed way to make money, eventually. Trading depends on there being goods available to trade, and on other players allowing them to be traded. The Merchant puts my goods in the market, and only I can reap the rewards from their sale.

I'm not saying the privateers are a good investment, but I believe they could be, especially if your economy is strong relative to other players. They are fairly cheap, when you think about it. The last Exploration level, for example, costs me three money and an action to get one more bonus pip -- very pricey compared to a privateer.
 
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Tim Seitz
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skipsizemore wrote:
out4blood wrote:
To clarify, you don't get money doing merchant action. You get money doing a trader action, which pirates do not stop. Late in the game there were plenty of tokens in the pile. I probably could have declined to let you trade my goods. That will be a bigger factor in subsequent plays.


But doing the Merchant is the only guaranteed way to make money, eventually. Trading depends on there being goods available to trade, and on other players allowing them to be traded. The Merchant puts my goods in the market, and only I can reap the rewards from their sale.

Yea, that's a fair point. If players are more astute than we were about refusing sales and trades, then you can't get as much income.

That will certainly be a more refined way to attack an opponent, eliminate their controlled resources and refuse to sell them goods. That's far more likely to happen than war!
 
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Tim Seitz
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Update from additional plays: When privateers are used, they can be devastating. 4 pirates can easily knock out 1-2 merchants and some of them might even survive the navy's response.

Not having a resource monopoly can really mess you up, since it makes it hard to get merchants (you have to conquer to get one).

We still have not found any use for upgrading Navy, though. Maybe that power would have been better also increasing privateer placements (and possibly merchant fleet placement).

Or maybe we are just not being creative enough in waging war?

I'm still waiting to try the upgrade-navy-and-go-wipe-out-everyone's-merchant-fleet strategy...
 
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Fake Fake
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out4blood wrote:

I'm still waiting to try the upgrade-navy-and-go-wipe-out-everyone's-merchant-fleet strategy...


Trust me, you'll love that strategy especially if you're the only one to try it arrrh
 
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Tim Seitz
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Xenopat wrote:
out4blood wrote:

I'm still waiting to try the upgrade-navy-and-go-wipe-out-everyone's-merchant-fleet strategy...


Trust me, you'll love that strategy especially if you're the only one to try it arrrh

Possibly, but I have tried to find a way to make it work. Here's my analysis that I had posted in another thread.

Quote:
If you're going to go that route, you have to forego exploring. Otherwise the Logistics players are going to sweep in and take control. If you declare war in that position, you are in great danger of losing, unless you go after someone else.

Also, I've yet to see a game where players neglected their navies, so everyone generally has about the same. You'd have to invest in navy tech, spend a couple of turns building up that advantage, and then use it. Meanwhile, you'd have given up investing in seafaring or logistics, which seem much more valuable in the long run. Here's how I see it, given that's you'd probably want at least a 3 point advantage before declaring:

tech navy navy enemy
turn cost cost size size
1 2 2 4 3
2 3 3 7 4

The player has already spent 10 coins just getting started with tech and build costs. That's gonna take a loan. Then he's possibly going to need another loan to protect his treasury during a war. All that investment and upgrading takes time, meanwhile the other players can see it coming a mile off and take steps to make it less attractive, such as viceroy into your areas.

After the war, even if successful, you're going to need income to replace those losses if you want to attack someone else.

With 2 or 3 players, War seems like it might be a good option, but at 5 or 6 players (where the game is arguably better) it seems like it just slows you down too much, as you have compromised your ability to explore and conquer (and by extension, govern)

Like Jesse, I have been trying to figure out to make it work, but I don't think it's all that viable by yourself. An alternative which I will admit we have not explored is to openly make alliances. One player provides the economy to support the other player's rampaging navy.
 
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Joël Simard
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out4blood wrote:
Update from additional plays: When privateers are used, they can be devastating. 4 pirates can easily knock out 1-2 merchants and some of them might even survive the navy's response.

We still have not found any use for upgrading Navy, though. Maybe that power would have been better also increasing privateer placements (and possibly merchant fleet placement).


In one of my game, 4 players gang up on the leader and he has no choice but upgrading is navy to get rid of the privateers on his board. Which delay him enough to not win the game...

Privateer is definitely an action that you have to take in group against the leader...In this way in can be a powerful enough action...Moreover if you also use it as merchant fleet...
 
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out4blood wrote:
A privateer is one of your tokens that sits in the merchant fleet of an opponent. When they use the merchant to ship goods, your privateers can attack the fleet and cause them to lose merchant fleets.

Is this worth it?

Assuming that actually using your privateers is voluntary, I would imagine that you could use them as a sort of diplomatic leverage against a merchant fleet-rich, navy-poor opponent: "Ship my goods with your surplus merchant fleets and I won't attack you".

Would that work in practice?
 
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