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Scurvy Dogs: Pirates and Privateers» Forums » Reviews

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Joe Lott
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Caveat: We messed up one rule: that things income from items sold does go to the bank (which doesn't make sense anyways, it should be bought, but eh, we got the point). However, it made the game end quicker!

The game:
Scurvy Dogs, is a simpler game about piracy on the high seas. The players all play English Pirates, attempting to make their fortune on the Spanish main. You do this by sailing around and collecting booty from 'booty challenges' that can be drawn all around the board. The goal is to be the pirate with the most cash at the end of the game, while surviving.

The pieces: A
Once thing were you can say this game did things right is the components. The board is nice and heavy, the cards are of a nice stock, the coins and other components great. The art on the cards is a mixture of slightly cartoony (when appropriate) to realistic of the ships. A+ all around, for the pieces, and I would only offer this one small complaint. The pieces representing the players on the board, could of either A) been taller or b) had a more easily identifiable symbol, like the flag of the pirate attached to them. This is so far not a deal breaker at all, (we will come to that in a moment.)

The rules: D- (WITH PREJUDICE)
OH BOY, these are a COMPLETE MESS! There really are only like, 2 pages of them (3 technically, but most could fit on 1 or 2 pages of a word doc.) They are, incomplete, poorly written, fail to really give a sense of the flow of the game, typos involved etc... A little hint guys, give your game to some people you have never met before, and have not explained how to play to, let them try and play it, did it work? If not then rewrite the rules.

The rules BTW, come on the back of this map thingy, which while pretty shows a total lack of concern about rules, and more about art. Seriously, failed. I have seen worse, but not by much.

The sad part, they could of easily fit all the rules on the space they did, if they just written them better! I died a little inside.

The game play: C
Well if you can figure out the rules, and we could because we had heard some rules from the makers, the game is not bad. The game flows in sort of phases, a build up phase, and exploration phase, and finally a phase of all out WAR!

In the beginning players sit around not doing much trying to build up crew and cargo to expand further. Once they do, they move to the nearest island or deep water and start hitting booty cards, in attempt to build up treasure. They bring this back to port royal, and exchange it for BIGGER and BADDER ships, which then get more guns/crew to go after MOVE BIG STUFF. As players get more and more stuff, they will start to come after each other to steal the opposing players Treasure, in attempt to amass a horde. You can bury treasure to make it safe, (but unusable) once a game, and the timing of this is a balancing act. Bury to little, and you only sequestered a little, wait to long, and you might get it all stolen, before you can get it in the ground.

Most actions are simply resolved by the roll of 2d6 + either land or sea mod (depending on where the fight/check takes place). Simple and interesting mechanics.

The game ends when the gold is all gone, some one slays the kracken (and brings it back for the prize), or raids the port (and brings it back for the prize). Then gold buried and on ship is counted up, and total wins, but WAIT there is something I have yet to mention, and that is the letters of the MARQUE! Through out the game, players may purchase these little things for 5 gold each, and collect them. They do nothing in game, BUT they do keep you alive at the end. Depending on the number of players, if you have X less than the player with the most, you LOSE, no matter how much gold you have. In a 4-8 player game, the range is 4, in a two player it is 2, and a 3 player game 3.

This last little idea is nifty, however, in our game, it ended up that everyone lost besides the guy who ended with LESS THAN HE STARTED WITH, because he made a rush to the port, SOLD OF EVERYTHING, BOUGHT A HUGE PILE OF LETTERS, and the game ended (note the caveat). Not a very neat ending for what was otherwise an interesting game with lots of interaction and fighting!

I would say though, the game might play a little to long for what it is, and can lead to a lot of boredom, as players basically can do anything almost anywhere, it can be a lot of sitting around. Play goes fast, and there is little down time, but it doesn't nessarily mean your doing much than, draw another card, roll to see if you succeed, get gold.

Overall: C-
There is a good game in there, I know it. HOWEVER I would not spend a dime on it till the rules were totally RE-WRITTEN. Then I could make a good judgement of how good the game is. Till then, and with the way we played (and I say that because hell if I know if we played it correct outside the one rule we know we messed up which only made it FASTER, for an already longish game.) it needs to be a better.

I'll give the makers a chance, and if they put out some new and better rules (and send it to everyone who already got the game), then maybe I'll make a big revision. There is so much fun just waiting to be had, if only it would come out to play!
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Steven
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After playing the game with Joe's group, I also have a concern (which was also brought up by the couple who taught us), where there are no real mechanical incentives to try and finish the game until you feel you can win. The only time limit was the cash and that did not seem to drain fast enough. In fact, it would have lasted even longer, except we played the money rules wrong!

IMHO the game only became exciting and tense when I, falling behind due to some poor luck, turned on my fellow pirates. Suddenly people were maneuvering, burying treasure, avoiding me and trying to end the game. I lost horribly, even though I had a lot of stolen pirate booty money, because I had no letters.

So I guess this may be a complaint about groupthink, but if you have a group of players who ignore each other until the very end... this game is going to boring.
 
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Brad103
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Letters of Marque

I dont have the rules in front of me but here is from the Beta Rules:

Quote:
Letters of Marque Reckoning - Players with the fewest Letters of Marque (the Pirate) check their total against the player with the most Letters of Marque (the Privateer).
2 players = If the Privateer has 2 more Letters of Marque than the Pirate, execute the Pirate.
3 players = If the Privateer has 3 more Letters of Marque than the Pirate, execute the Pirate.
4-8 players = If the Privateer has 4 more Letters of Marque than the Pirate, execute the Pirate.


The way I took this is that only the Player (Players in the event of a tie) with the fewest Letters of Marque compares #'s with the Player (Players in the event of a tie) with the most Letters of Marque, and if they meet or exceed the listed amount they are executed.

4 Player Examples:
Letters: 3, 4, 5, 6 - The 3 is executed only
Letters: 3, 3, 5, 6 - Both 3's are executed only
Letters: 2, 3, 4, 5 - None are executed


Good playthrough review though. And I agree with the pieces and rules grades given.
 
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Joe Lott
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Braffe wrote:
Letters of Marque

I dont have the rules in front of me but here is from the Beta Rules:

Quote:
Letters of Marque Reckoning - Players with the fewest Letters of Marque (the Pirate) check their total against the player with the most Letters of Marque (the Privateer).
2 players = If the Privateer has 2 more Letters of Marque than the Pirate, execute the Pirate.
3 players = If the Privateer has 3 more Letters of Marque than the Pirate, execute the Pirate.
4-8 players = If the Privateer has 4 more Letters of Marque than the Pirate, execute the Pirate.


The way I took this is that only the Player (Players in the event of a tie) with the fewest Letters of Marque compares #'s with the Player (Players in the event of a tie) with the most Letters of Marque, and if they meet or exceed the listed amount they are executed.

4 Player Examples:
Letters: 3, 4, 5, 6 - The 3 is executed only
Letters: 3, 3, 5, 6 - Both 3's are executed only
Letters: 2, 3, 4, 5 - None are executed


Good playthrough review though. And I agree with the pieces and rules grades given.


Ummm ok, maybe, but it did not matter because no player was with in 4 of the lead player.
 
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Brad103
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Drat, I knew I forgot an example.

Letters: 3, 4, 5, 12 - The 3 is executed only.

I think its just the players that are the lowest, its stated as players for when there is a tie, but it is still only the fewest letters.

Anyways, I didnt want to highjack your thread with rules, just wanted to say this so that you might have a better game next time. Thanks for the playthrough/review again!
 
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Darren Gendron
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We are currently working on a revised rulebook, which will include a new quickplay rules-set, as well as more fixes throughout. We did make an error in only having players that had been through the beta tests read through the rules, so basic stuff like island placement, diagonal movement and winning booty challenges on ties being missing from the rules were overlooked.

If you want to try the quick-play version, strip the cash supply down to 25 gold per captain, remove all letters of marque, remove all burying of treasure, and remove all booty challenges that involve letters of marque and burying treasure.

And on the executions for piracy: It's killing all pirates that don't have enough letters compared to the Privateer. Currently, the only defense for this is to kill the Kraken.
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