Ended up with something of a surprise gaming session with Jason and Mark this Saturday. After a little debate, we settled on a game of GMT’s Blackbeard, which hasn’t gotten to the table in quite a while. We went for the ‘long game’ option, though we ended up cutting it a bit short as we were delayed by Jason being a bit late, and we had to do a lot of rule checking since we hadn’t had any real prep time.

With a three player game, we can have up to three pirates on the board at once, but everyone opted to just place two and keep the third in reserve. I placed my two at the far ends of the board—North Atlantic and India—while Jason centered around the Caribbean and Mark placed one on the Gold Coast (and the other… I think in the South Atlantic zone). Jason cycled through a decent number of captains during the game. His most successful one retired, but at least one went down to a King’s Commissioner (mine), one was replaced by a successful mutiny, and one lost a duel with one of Mark’s captains. One of his captains also had major trouble with repeated storms in the East Caribbean. Mark was a lot more stable, fending off a mutiny, though he lost a captain to another of my King’s Commissioners, and taking over ships from both Jason and me with successful duels (the latter with Blackbeard himself).

For quite a while, it seemed I wasn’t doing much. I positioned my best captain (Edward England) in India, and despite an Ability of 4, I had a heck of a time spotting merchant ships (2/3rds chance, and I was about 2 for 8); thankfully, I didn’t have any competition, and new merchants trickled in at about the rate I could nab them. My booty rolls weren’t that great either, though several of the ships were good, and I kept rolling high on the notoriety gain. I ended up trading up to a brigantine shortly before a King’s Commissioner showed, and installed Heavy Guns to be able to beat him, a warship that showed up (we used the original printed values for warships and KC), and loot the port of Goa (with information provided by a hostage). This led to a retirement with 48 Notoriety and about… 5200? in net worth, which shot my low score well past everyone else.

My other captain had a 1 Initiative, so he was a poor choice for any cards that determined actions by that score, and I mostly ignored him until after England retired. I managed a couple decent prizes with him, and defeated another King’s Commissioner before retiring him. My third captain finally came into play at this point, who was defeated by Blackbeard shortly before we broke up for the day.

Jason ended the day with 76 VPs, Mark had 134, and I had… 233. It sure didn’t feel like a huge win like that was possible with my frustrating beginning, but once England got going, he became impossible to stop, and raked in a huge score by himself. And despite the overall relearning the system nature of the game, I think we learned a lot on successful play. Anti-pirate play picked up a lot as we went along (to levels not seen before), and warships are handy for wearing down a good captain until a King’s Commissioner can take him out.