Add your own Tips, Strategies, & House Rules! Vote for tips that you think are useful.

Tips & Strategies (21)

Filter by: Order by:
Gamer Avatar
6
I'm a Real Person
Knight
I'm Completely Obsessed
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
49 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Using the "spare" parts in the box to enhance gameplay.”

After punching out all of the cardboard pieces, you may have noticed a number of extra “blank” pieces – don’t throw them out!

You can use the three colored discs (red, blue, and yellow) along with a single white one (colored green with a marker) to mark each player’s home port. That way you can see at a glance where everyone needs to go to stash their gold, instead of having to remember where they started or keep asking what it says on their captain card.

Four of the other white discs can be used to indicate the locations of available missions. Simply write the number 1 on two of them and the number 2 on two others; then you can put one of each pair in a sea zone and place the other on the matching mission card (off the board). That way you can see at a glance where missions are available, without having to worry about the card covering up any important information on the sea space. If you want access to even more missions, there are still enough leftover white discs to make a number 3 set too.

Gamer Avatar
6
I'm a Real Person
Knight
I'm Completely Obsessed
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
48 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Seed the board with NPCs to get more early action”

Due to the draw from the event deck, sometimes it can take several turns before any NPC ships appear on the board. If you’d like to see more action from them at the start, if you’d like to see more activity on the board, or if you’d like to increase the starting difficulty a little, try seeding the board before you start.

Simply go through the event deck until you find the first Pirate NPC and the first two Naval Ship NPCs (from different nations). Place all three on the board immediately, shuffle the rest of the deck, and then start the game like normal.

Gamer Avatar
5
I play yellow
Zealot
48 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Stashing Glory”

We’ve often found that the best way to force players to interact is to limit the amount of glory points a player can accumulate through their stash. Often the end game consists of a player with 50 gold rushing across the seas to his stash to claim victory with every ship in the sea chasing after him/her. By limiting stash points to 2 or 3 (or requiring 20 gold for each stash point) we’ve found players are more likely to go after NPCs and other players.

Gamer Avatar
5
I play yellow
Zealot
48 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Missions”

By far the most often overlooked method of accumulating glory points in our games are missions. We often begin with 3-4 missions on the board to make a player more likely to attempt one. The pre-requisites for taking the missions still make it unlikely that players will get a mission on the first two-three rounds, but it does make an eventual arms smuggling operation more likely.

Gamer Avatar
6
I'm a Real Person
Knight
I'm Completely Obsessed
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
48 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Captain Cards: Draw 2, Keep 1”

Here’s a simple house rule for players that don’t want to get locked into a specific role based on a random draw, or those that just like to have a little more variety in the initial setup:

When selecting Captains, each player draws two cards and keeps one of them.

This gives players a little more control over how they’ll play the game, but still keeps the captain selection somewhat random so players can’t always cherry-pick their favorite every time. Sometimes you’ll get the clear-cut choice between a Merchant and a Pirate, but other times you’ll have the a more subtle choice between two of the same “type” where their individual stats and/or abilities will give you direction.

Gamer Avatar
5
Eminent Domain Fan
Knight
48 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Change the Manueverability of the Galleon to 1.”

This change has actually been supported by the designer (so I’m not sure how much of a “house” rule it is). In fact, here is a direct quote from the designer’s faq/variant document:

Reduced Maneuverability for Galleons
Reduce the Maneuverability of Galleons to 1. This makes them more on par with the Frigate for PvP engagements, and an even poorer choice as vessels for piracy.

Gamer Avatar
6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
48 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Amonsgt the timid, attack then hoard! ”

So, the game was pretty fun the first few games, but then I noticed that I was employing the same strategy each game.

4 games and 4 winds, using the same strategy.

Go out, search for merchant ships, attack them.
Do this a few turns and keep this as your primary strategy at the game beginning. Be aggressive with this and opportunistic with trading and quests. Attacking ships gets you fame and money rather quickly. You’ll need to stay close to you your port to repair and drop off money.

This strategy has worked well for me. I usually get the jump on better ships and upgrades so other players are disinclined to attack me and it hasn’t been that difficult avoiding the NPC ships, but by later game, your ship should be able to handle them and the only risk I’ve seen is getting caught out in open water with a battered ship and then an opponent decides to attack you.

Gamer Avatar
3
Gamer - Level 3
48 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“If you want to be a pirate from the beginning, DON'T start with the flute”

As a pirate, the first few things you should be doing is buying any special weapons/upgrades you can afford, and going after merchants. a flute does appear to be a significantly more capable ship (and it is good), but a pirate player’s number 1 ship stat is manuvering.

With a manuvering of 4, you (with the help of a few ship upgrades and special weapons – cannons help) have a shot at taking down merchant players immediately. This is helped even more if your captain has a higher seamanship (taking advantage of an extra die over your opponent). Being a little aggressive can payoff bigtime, causing merchants to fear you and take longer journeys to stay out of your way, or otherwise alter your plans.

Potentially even more important is your attacks vs. merchant ships. Since merchant ships can escape with a number of “flee” markers (on the goods cards) equal to your manuvering, you must be able to accomodate this somewhat. This means that as a flute you can draw one card with a “flee” on it, and if you draw any more, you lose. As a sloop, you can take 3 flee markers, giving you much more le-way.

As the goods card deck contains about 50/50 of flee/hit cards, there’s a good chance you will lose a lot of merchant raids (unless you managed to get advanced sails for your flute, barely making it viable for piracy. The BEST raids are the ones in which you DON’T take damage. A sloop can lose merchant raids if it takes damage to the wrong area (destroying a station), but it is capable otherwise (and greatly succeeds if it gets multiple flee cards). Special weapon tokens help mitigate risk by giving you more flexibility to dispose of or change hit/flee cards. A flute can really only succeed in a merchant raid by taking hits, making it expensive and less lurative.

So, Sloops can take more cards in merchant raids with less fear of losing. For every raid over 12, there’s another glory point. Add in a little merchant killing, and you have a recipe for victory.

Gamer Avatar
10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
24 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Pirates: Special Weapons = Glory!”

If your captain’s destiny takes a path sailing beyond the borders of the law, then utilizing special weapons is essential to victory!

Merchant raids reward you with a glory point if you plunder 12 or more gold in a single attempt. Settling for three randomly drawn cargo cards will not produce this result very often. Hopefully you will roll well on your seamanship so that you can tweak this into a more successful venture. When the dice don’t fall your way, now you can turn to discarding up to your full complement of special weapons for guaranteed adjustments. Use these carefully, adding cards to increase plunder, while being mindful of not creating too many “Escape”‘s or ship-sinking damage. You can also tailor the types of cargo in an attempt to procure 3 of an “in demand” type so you can sell it right after to get an additional glory point! The extra gold earned should easily offset the continued expense of purchasing and discarding the weapons.

Gamer Avatar
10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
43 of 48 gamers found this helpful
“Pirates: Attack the Spaniards”

You gain bounties by committing acts of piracy against ships of various nations. You won’t want all four of the nations to have a price on your head, so you should try to focus on one or two as targets. Spain should be your primary consideration when choosing.

Spain has the most ports available so finding Spanish merchant ships should be relatively easy. Their ports also offer the most helpful game text for piracy. San Juan, Havana and Cartagena are great boons for enhancing your merchant raids. As a final bonus, the British at Old Providence will even offer extra assistance to pirates with Spanish bounties.

Gamer Avatar
3
Critic - Level 2
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
49 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“New Player Variant”

Some of the games I have played (especially with new players) tend to take upwards of 4 hours, as the game is taught while through individual turns. A shorter version of the game was come up with where you race to the first 6 glory points, and are only allow to count 3 points from stashed gold. This makes the game shorter and perhaps a bit more accessible to new board gaming players or people just learning the rules of the game.

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
48 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Don't make them angry! ~ A MaM Tip of the Day”

A common mistake is to make countries of harbors close to your own harbor quick enemies in order to make a buck. Why is this a problem? Well, moving across the board takes time, so I like to stay close to my harbor to get my coins safe before someone boards me and takes them. If the harbors around your harbor are unfriendly, you will have to venture too far away from your own, and this can waste turns… which can be painful in a 4 person game.

I am not condoning turtling in this game. On the contrary, attacking other ships is what makes this game fun and piratey. You just don’t want to waste turns ending up in open sea if you can help it.

Happy Gaming!

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
47 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“Where it with pride! ~ A MaM Prop Tip”

I am a lover of all things Ameritrash. I enjoy theme and believe it should not stop with what’s in the box (like using the Geico BroStache when playing Junta). In order to bring Merchants and Marauders to the next level, you need:

1) An Awesome Hat! http://www.piratemerch.com/pirate-hats-c-63.html
There is a good range of styles and prices here, but I am not schilling PirateMech. Get the hat at your local costume shop.

2) A Parrot Live is optimal (my dad has a mean African Gray – use it at risk of losing an ear)… or a repeating parrot toy to fill in until you get a real one… http://www.amazon.com/Repeat-Talking-Toy-Parrot-TEW/dp/B001Z0WE44/ref=sr_1_67?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1313703443&sr=1-67

3) Ocean Sounds This really adds to the ambiance… punctuated by occasional death and mayhem. http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Nature-Peter-Roberts-Media/dp/B000001V38/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1313703544&sr=1-3

Now, these items are not needed to enjoy a game of MaM, but they will definitely increase the enjoyment like chocolate on Vanilla Ice Cream (mmmm, I’m hungry). Try it!

BTW The right hat can also be used with Navegador, Pirate’s Cove, and other seafaring games for the most return on your investment.

Happy Gaming!

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
49 of 60 gamers found this helpful
“Let Everyone Pick Their Character”

Honestly, it stinks to be a merchant when you really want to be a pirate. We let players re-choose or just plain go after the card they want. If you can’t get into being the merchant… you will flounder. If more than one person wants the same pirate… roll the bones!

Gamer Avatar
1
48 of 59 gamers found this helpful
“Never leave the merchant players be...”

Always! Always attack a merchant player whenever possible…they will win if you let them play their pick up and deliver game.

Gamer Avatar
6
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Poland
Petroglyph
48 of 59 gamers found this helpful
“Start with a Flute - even as a pirate”

So, you start your M&M game, you get a pirate captain (or choose one, according to some house rules) adn you’re faced with choosing your starting ship. Logical choice would be to get a fighting ship (sloop in case of the starting ships) for a fighting captain. Wrong, or at least unoptimal. Your goal as a fighting captain is to upgrade your ship ASAP – your sloop isn’t going to take you anywhere, you’ll get flatlined by most frigates and everything bigger.

What you want to consider is taking a flute as your starting ship. You want to get your first 30-35 gold as quick as possible, and a flute is way better to do this – just 2-3 good trades and you’re golden. When you get that 30 gold, you can get whatever big ship you prefer and start your pirate career FOR REAL 🙂

Gamer Avatar
6
USA
I'm Completely Obsessed
48 of 61 gamers found this helpful
“15 victory points”

sometimes with only 10 victory points to win makes it feel like the game is a little too short 15 to 20 is better that way when you up grade the ships it will be more worth it

Gamer Avatar
1
49 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“For Interested/New Players”

If you are interested in this game it is probably for you. Do not let the time on the box scare you away. Yes your first few games may take a while but you will be having fun in no time. After a few rounds of the first game a slight interest will turn into a love affair.

Gamer Avatar
6
USA
I'm Completely Obsessed
48 of 69 gamers found this helpful
“stay a merchent for a while”

yes dont be a pirate right away

Gamer Avatar
6
USA
I'm Completely Obsessed
48 of 69 gamers found this helpful
“2 ships”

i think it makes the game more interesting if u have 2 slots for each nation

Add your own Tip, Strategy, or House Rule

You must be to add a comment.

× Visit Your Profile