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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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Pirate Games: Theme or Function?

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02 Feb 2021 11:00 #318734 by Jackwraith
Who doesn't like pirates? (I mean, other than Richard Phillips...)...

Two very different approaches to pirate games seem to embody the age-old Ameritrash vs Euro conflict.

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02 Feb 2021 13:02 - 02 Feb 2021 13:03 #318735 by Gary Sax
M+M is a truly a savage and merciless combat system, like way more than most comparable AT games. I get why people aren't into it but talk about very real high stakes.
Last edit: 02 Feb 2021 13:03 by Gary Sax.
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02 Feb 2021 13:04 #318736 by WadeMonnig
One interesting note is that Sebastian Bleasdale (Black Fleet) is a long time playtester of Reiner Knizia. It's hard to unsee Knizia's influence on the design (all in fantastic and pure gameplay ways).
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02 Feb 2021 13:19 #318738 by Jackwraith

Gary Sax wrote: M+M is a truly a savage and merciless combat system, like way more than most comparable AT games. I get why people aren't into it but talk about very real high stakes.


No argument there. It is extremely punishing. But that's kind of why I drove the comparison with Talisman. When you lose a combat in Talisman, you're dead. You have to start over and all your gear drops on the board and you start without anything you may have gained with that character. In contrast, death in M&M at least allows you to keep all the Glory (VPs) that you've gained AND all the gold that you've stashed. So, you're starting out with a new boat and without all the gear/crew you have had, but you're at least not completely starting over.
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02 Feb 2021 13:21 #318740 by Jackwraith

WadeMonnig wrote: One interesting note is that Sebastian Bleasdale (Black Fleet) is a long time playtester of Reiner Knizia. It's hard to unsee Knizia's influence on the design (all in fantastic and pure gameplay ways).


Heh. That's a great point. In fact, Amun-Re probably would've been the better comparison, since it employs a card system roughly similar in terms of the bonuses that you can gain for that single turn, like the Fortune cards in Black Fleet. But T&E has combat, which Amun-Re doesn't, so I went in that direction.
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02 Feb 2021 14:24 #318744 by the_jake_1973

Gary Sax wrote: M+M is a truly a savage and merciless combat system, like way more than most comparable AT games. I get why people aren't into it but talk about very real high stakes.


Being able to pull off a boarding action and capture an opponent's galleon or NPC man o war when you have a sloop is one of the greatest feelings in the game.
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02 Feb 2021 16:01 #318747 by jpat
"The board represents the, you know... actual Caribbean region, from Cartagena to St. John. Many of the captains are very loosely based on actual historical figures who were present in that area . . ."

If memory serves, several of the captains, at least in the expansion, are loosely based on game company staff members, or at least their likenesses.
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02 Feb 2021 16:18 #318748 by the_jake_1973

jpat wrote: "The board represents the, you know... actual Caribbean region, from Cartagena to St. John. Many of the captains are very loosely based on actual historical figures who were present in that area . . ."

If memory serves, several of the captains, at least in the expansion, are loosely based on game company staff members, or at least their likenesses.


The expansion captains were playtesters and the like. I really dislike the expansion captains for that reason. That and the neckbeardy artwork.

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02 Feb 2021 16:33 #318751 by the_jake_1973
I tend to be a Theme over Function person for my games. Anyone familiar with my post history will not be surprised by this. I love a game that tells a story and can have those points of high drama where fortunes are won, or lost, with the roll of a die. It's the gambler in me I suppose. I've not played a pirate game that would supplant M&M for my gaming time. The tie into history is a definite draw. The combat has not been an issue with my group thankfully. It could be streamlined, but then you need those combat options to represent war at sea I think. Pirates like cutlasses and the combat system is a cutlass to the face....no elegant rapier fights here.

I've said it before, but if Christian reskinned his game to be in GW's Old World setting.....Sigmar be praised!
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02 Feb 2021 17:15 - 03 Feb 2021 10:33 #318754 by Shellhead
I like pirates, but I only need one pirate game in my collection, and I have it. Not Blackbeard, which I tried over 20 years ago and found to be cumbersome with chrome and detail. Not the small euroish filler game from early FFG that I can no longer remember by name. No, my pirate game is Pirate King. At it's heart, Pirate King is an unholy marriage of Monopoly and Risk, but it is lavish with components.

Every player has a plastic treasure chest, where they keep their (plastic) coins and (glass bead) gems. They conquer ports and plant their flags. They can shore up the defenses at the ports they control. You hire crew and purchase cannons, and the crew tokens have great art. There are goods to ship and battles at sea, plus an NPC naval vessel hunting players for a bounty. You move your ship by aiming for a particular nearby space and then randomly determining how much the wind helps or hurts your movement. There are even curses and magic artifacts.

The game is designed for 2 to 4 players, but runs a little long for modern tastes, up to maybe 3 hours. With respect to this discussion, Pirate King is a triumph of theme and style over function.
Last edit: 03 Feb 2021 10:33 by Shellhead. Reason: paragraph breaks
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02 Feb 2021 17:47 #318759 by dysjunct
I'm one of the (apparent?) few that prefers Black Fleet over M&M. I tried M&M but found it really overwrought and clunky. BF looks great too, with the sculpts and metal doubloons. Plays much faster, smoother, and still has lots of potential for fuckery. I suppose it would be nice to have a bit more heft in the combat, but I don't know that it would really be worth the extra cruft.
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02 Feb 2021 17:56 #318761 by Gary Sax
Last time we checked in, I got the sense that most people here preferred Black Fleet fwiw. Lot of movement away from the cruft of Merchants and Marauders.
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02 Feb 2021 18:09 #318764 by Jackwraith
That was my impression, as well. There seemed to be favor for Black Fleet, mostly because of extra chrome that suffuses M&M. I think dysjunct is right that adding on to BF would only be a detriment, since the system is already pretty tight and Knizia-like (as Wade pointed out.) It's an open question as to whether M&M's combat system drags it below the "lighter" game that Black Fleet represents. That, again, is what most of my rambling was about: What do you value in your games?
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02 Feb 2021 18:34 #318765 by san il defanso
The problem with the M&M combat is that it's SO punishing that players tend to avoid it altogether. It's not totally possible with the NPC ships, but pvp combat almost seems rude, like your forcing another player to play a totally different game that can knock you out of this one.

It's a fun game, but at this point I like it in spite of its combat.

I really like Pirate's Cove too. It's the kind of pirate game that feels designed for me, with all its bluffing and double-guessing.
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02 Feb 2021 18:57 #318766 by jason10mm
I loves me some pirate games and i have a small stack of them. I like the holistic experience of M&,M but i kinda want a solo version because when i play it i just want to play sid meiers pirates! Instead.

So i tend to gravitate to the more focused games like pirates cove that just does 1 piratey thing instead of a much more complex game that tries to do it all.
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