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View Full Discussion Looks really interesting -- ranks #145 out of all board games on BoardGameGeek (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/25292/merchants-marauders), and is essentially Sid Meier's "Pirates" videogame implemented in rich, thematic board game format.
- nice production value, and won award nominations for game art
- very thorough thematic treatment, complete with many mechanics and nuances
- considered to be best Pirate-themed (complex) board game out there, blending elements of so-called "Ameri-trash" and "Eurogamer" playstyles
- open sandbox gameplay style which allows players to take a Merchant approach (slow and steady, going for the win by racking up victory points through trade and gold accumulation), or play more aggressively as a Pirate (much riskier, but higher reward -- Pirates can win the game more quickly, but can also die or fall hopelessly behind in the process).
- main criticism #1 seems to be around gameplay length due to downtime while waiting for other players to complete their turns. Game designer Christian Marcussen addresses this with a nice proposed rule variant:https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/841389/port-end-turn-minimizing-downtime-beta (can also shorten game length by reducing Victory Points needed to win from 10 to 8)
- main criticism #2 seems to be around merchants being able to avoid conflict and win the game too easily (especially with a conflict averse group with too few pirate players). The game designer's CutThroat rule variant fixes this by making things a bit tougher for merchants and more fun for pirates: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/586759/cutthroat-variant-beta
With these two rule tweaks likely shortening game length and better balancing play between Merchants vs. Pirates, I think this game becomes a Must Own if you're a fan of the theme and genre! :)
> is essentially Sid Meier's "Pirates" videogame implemented in rich, thematic board game format.
SOLD. One of my all-time favorite games.