This gorgeous game needs more interesting rules ...

By Zozimusque Romanus, in Letter of Marque least for a good 2-player game. Here are some ideas about how to make the game a little more interesting than a simple bluff:

1. There are two types of attack: privateering and piracy. Piracy is an attack by one ship at sea upon another, where the winner of a battle takes the treasure of the loser and places it under his ship, along with his own treasure. The ship remains at sea. When an attack of this kind is announced, both ships' bases are revealed. When engaged in piracy battle, a player may choose to add a cannon card to his defence. His opponent is given the opportunity to add one to his attack, and so on until both players pass, The player with the highest cannon score (ships and cards) wins.

Privateering is an attack upon a ship at sea using a cannon card, where the winner of a battle scuttles the losing ship and its cargo, so nobody can score it. Cannon cards used in this way are taken out of play.

2. When successfully defending a ship, the defender can choose where to place the captured cannon of the loser. If he places it in his score area, it counts for three points (the same as the lowest treasure card) if it is the first captured cannon he has taken. The value of the captured cannons increases by one for each successive cannon taken. If he places it with his cannon cards, he can use it in future attacks.

3. If playing with fewer than 6 players, players may choose to float "ghost ships" out from one of the unused decks instead of playing their own turn. Cards and ships are chosen without looking at the underside. Treasure cards are placed facedown under the ghost ship. These ships can be attacked as normal. Ships losing in battle to a ghost ship are replaced by a randomly chosen ship from the ghost supply: now your cargo is manned by a ghost crew! Then the ship on top of the original ghost cargo is mixed back into the supply for the ghost colour, and a new ship is randomly chosen to replace it, sight unseen. If there are currently as many ghost ships (or more) at sea as the number of players, no player may bring his ships home for scoring unless he randomly discards one of the treasure cards under the ship he is attempting to score. Cannon cards played on ghost ships are removed from the game.

I have not extensively playtested these ideas, but if anyone is interested in doing so, and can give me feedback on how they worked, I'd be interested in hearing about it.