Had the gang over for the monthly gaming meet yesterday. The arrangements went very smooth considering that we got it put together in less than a week….

Jason has just gotten his own copy of Blackbeard and was itching to play that. I insisted we go for the long game, as I found the short version disappointingly too short to get anything done. Things went a little slowly at first, as it had been a while since our last go-round, but it finished right on time for a full day of gaming, with no danger of it going overtime.

Three of us, me, Mark and Jason put two pirates on the board at the start. I specifically did this as I put one pirate off the very lucrative coast of India, and wanted to have the other to use until merchants actually showed up there. Dave on the other hand only put out one pirate, and kept to one pirate at a time for the entire game.

With a fair amount of attention in the Caribbean, I shifted up to the New England area, and caught a prize before anything turned up in India. The problems of limited actions caused me problems all game, but in this case meant the merchant went away before I could spot him (due to the reset in Natural Disaster). But another immediately appeared, and I took a 4000-gold cargo and a… Dutch noble. The latter was a small problem, as he was valuable, but there’s only three Dutch ports, and the only without an anti-pirate governor was in west Africa.

On the way there, I cashed in my prize in the Madagascar pirate port, undergoing involuntary Debauchery & Revelry… and as soon as I got it taken care of, I was hit with it again! (Going to spend all the booty before they get out of port….) It was a very happy crew that set sail to ransom the noble. After that, I set out for a nice retirement home in the Caribbean (there being a shortage of friendly governors anywhere else in the world).

That also had problems. I had arrived in west Africa about the time the deck ran out and was reshuffled. By the time I got close to my goal the deck was already getting dangerously thin. Right before I arrived, I drew the Finger of Fate, which wrecked my plans to get a Letter of Marque and retire by forcing me to discard one of them, and hand the other to Dave. So, I could bribe the governor. Then Jason went into the port, and bribed the governor ahead of me to get a Safe Haven. So, I had to set sail and find another governor, finally retiring a turn ahead of the end of the game.

If we had remembered how the General Pardon card worked before hand, I would have saved the effort and just turned myself into the local English governor in Africa when the time came. I did get a couple extra points for turning in a last cargo at a Safe Haven and getting the 10% bonus, but it was not worth all the pain of chasing after this for pretty much the entire deck of action cards. For the entire last 3/4s of the game, I only ever spared one action point for my other pirate, and couldn’t even spare an action for him to accept the General Pardon.

In the meantime, everyone else retired their first pirates about the time I was setting out on this saga. I had managed to get a King’s Commissioner out, but missed Mark before he retired, Jason retired before I could try to do anything about it. I did, however, manage to block Dave’s pirate in, and catch his ship as he attempted to slip into port. The ensuing battle was furious with good modifiers and die rolls on both sides, with Dave winning by a point.

My anti-pirate career did not do well in this game either. Dave got the notoriety of defeating a KC: 2 x 11 combat factor, driving him up to a Notoriety of 30. He decided to bribe the governor and retire on the spot.

I think both Jason and Dave managed to retire further pirates, but no one equaled the fame and riches of the first ones. At the end of the day, Dave won with 113 VPs, Jason was in second with 97, I made 85 (I had been worried I’d be stuck at 8…), and Mark had 53.

The single pirate method seems to be the way to go—with the possible exception of my plan. If I’d remembered the pardon, I would have avoided a lot of pain (at some risk to losing my pirate…). But sailing from one side of the board to the other is just too long a process to be contemplated.