hi i like the game but i think combat may be broken i had a game with 5 of us and the 1 person kept getting himself killed so he was getting himself the restart stuff and 40 gp cus of the insurance and charity because he would spend his gp on influnce then attack then die because he had no gp he would get 40 gp and do the same and so on and buying influnce
The combat in the game isn't broken. The strategy that your friend employed is essentially one of the pirate strategies in the game. Personally, I think your friend is using the games rules really effectively. It might not be able to compare to profits from other enterprises. Even having a load of sludge at the volcano can give you more than 40 GP, but it gives you a chance to hurt the other players and gain influence at the same time. Also keep in mind that it depends on the number of players. If there's only 3 of you then when a player dies he's only getting 20 GP in charity and it makes it less effective, but because of the damage you can do, you can force people to lose their loads or crew while gaining influence yourself. Risky but in the right situations I bet it's a great strategy.
RULES CLARIFICATION: Keep in mind that when you attack another player who does not have a wanted token, you immediately get one. In the course of combat if you suicide against the other player they will collect a 50 GP bounty which outweighs the benefit of just charity. So you'd need to do real damage to make the same amount against the other player. Of course if you suicide against weak players then it means you get an edge, ever so slightly, against the players who are more ahead.
Also,according to the FAQ, when you start you get your starting 20 GP in addition to insurance and charity, so that's a bit more of an edge right there.