31 July 2012

Captain Richery and his misfortunate pirate career

Played another game of Merchants & Marauders, another 3 player game with the same guys as last time. This time I drew the French captain with the most epic Glam metal haircut to ever grace the seas of the Caribbean - Dominique De Richery.

Right off the bat this guy offered a flamboyant pirate adventure with his spotting value and the high influence value would allow me to pick up missions on the side. I was set on getting a Frigate as soon as possible and pirate the hell out of everything and everyone. De Richery also started with two great cards pushing me towards the pirate career even further.

Everything started out just fine, my captain focused on doing some initial trading and then picked up a mission which yielded a nice 20 Gold reward. As soon as my money allowed it - I swapped ships and was ready to hoist the Jolly Roger when the most absurd thing happened.

I sailed out of the port and was instantly jumped by a small Pirate sloop. As I myself had not yet had the chance to plunder anyone I was a valid target for NPC pirate vessels. I smirked and thought that this would be over in seconds - but the small sloop had a superb captain which kept out rolling me with his seamanship rolls. Every lost seamanship test resulted in the small vessel bombarding my ship with its tiny cannon, picking away structure points on my ship! And when I finally destroyed the cannons and crew on the enemy ship it managed to flee.

Damaged beyond belief I had to postpone my pirating and returned back to port for repairs and acquired a rumor card instead. The following turn I sailed out and that little devil jumped me again, and again it managed to inflict damage and escape before being destroyed.

I limped into another harbor making sure I would be far away from the "Sloop from Hell" and just reached port when the Caribbean was struck by high seas and tropic storms. Stuck in port I could just wait for the storms to pass.

In the meantime one of the other players managed to jump from port to port and do some trading, upped his ship into a Galleon and started considering to raid ME! Even as the storm passed I was pressed to stay in Port for a turn because one of the other players was lurking in the nearby seazone with an upgraded Galleon perfectly suited for ripping apart my Frigate and with a higher Seamanship than my captain had.

In the end the wannabe pirate Richery and his tooled up ship, boosted by specialists and Glory cards made for raiding - did very little plundering. The hostile merchants accumulated victory points at a much faster pace, and had done so while I was battling a Sloop and then hiding in ports from storms and other players. The funniest part was that the player who still had a regular Flute won the game with this tradign and gold depositing!

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