I love how you aren't limited to a map or board, I think it's one of the coolest aspects of the game. I did have some environmental issues before I started taking pictures, when my room was less organized and I had a low table that provided some interesting space constraints where ships could partially sail underneath a bit. I miss that old setup in my room a tiny bit, but most of my games nowadays are played on VASSAL or on a table with a blue fabric for the ocean. (I got 5 different types of ocean fabrics at Joann's for about $17, and it was one of the best purchases I've made for this game)
I have all my copies of ships punched and stored in boxes, with the exception of recent acquisitions that I don't usually build until I play them. Duplicates are kept unpunched in separate areas for trading, giving, selling, or maybe even making customs or doing something else with them. I like having my deckplates in binders with 9 pocket pages so I can flip through a faction at a time and find a ship easily.
I think there's a lot of value in changing up your games
, so I don't always have home islands close to the edges. That might be the case for flat earth campaign games, but otherwise it can be fun to have HI's close together or chosen in reverse turn order like I enjoy doing, in which case they could be any of the islands in play.
I punch all my crew because I don't like having the cards around for playing when there is enough other things to set up. However, I do admit that having a 100% punched crew collection can be annoying when I spend time looking through the bags (all kept in a large PotC tin) to find a single crew I need. I like having the crew chips on the deckplates of the ships during play. Like Xerecs I've played a ton so I don't usually need the ability text handy. Speaking of which though, I do like to have a copy of the Master Keyword List and Pirate Code (and my Basic Rules/the Complete Game rules) handy so I can reference them if needed.
No offense to anybody of course, but I just find the whole "not ever removing the masts" thing overrated. I understand trying to preserve the ships as much as possible, but when you can get deals for less than $.50/ship and it's just plastic that you can even repair or glue if needed, I find it very satisfying to remove them as they're meant to be and show the damage. For a hardcore player like me, I would hate to not see the masts falling overboard (carnage!) and be able to actually repair the ship when it needs it. Almost like real life as usual - ships were absolutely pulverized and sometimes unseaworthy by the end of major fleet engagements, so to fight battles and not see debris and masts everywhere is just too unrealistic for me. Besides, I do battle reports with pictures for pretty much every game I play at this point, and I would consider the aesthetics of the game VERY compromised if the masts were all in place during the whole game. I just love the naval warfare aspect of the game, and with plenty of ships, plenty of duplicates, and enough passion for the game to spend money on replacements if it ever got to that point, I'm not afraid to take masts out of almost any ship. One thing I try to avoid is taking out a mast that has already broken and has a good tape job, since I don't want to rebreak it or have to tape it up again (often the ones that break off near the base where the die picture is). I think experience plays a role here too - I broke more ships when I was younger and when I hadn't built as many ships. I almost never break masts when removing or replacing them nowadays; ironically when I break things now, it's usually because of overconfidence from how many ships I've built and battles I've fought and repaired from. XD (you should have seen my Historical Fantasy Scenarios from back in the day - some battles had hundreds
of masts taken out and replaced in a single day, let alone multiple times throughout the scenario! Wish I had pictures, but this
gives a decent example of what an average battle back then would look like.)
I prefer when people play faction specific, but newer players usually have to mix and match to find a suitable combination of ships and crew at the given point level. With a large collection I'm just used to playing single faction for thematic and historical reasons. The biggest exception for me would be competitive tournament-style fleets and permanent alliances for campaign games.
|xeriousone wrote: |
|Islands are placed by random toss (including a random flip beforehand to determine side up and a spin in the placement toss). Home islands are based on picking the closest island to your current seated position. We pick 5 islands per player (random reach in a blind bag choice) |
I like the random toss idea, but I haven't found it effective yet. The few times I tried it, it didn't result in a fair distribution, and it gets weird with islands landing on top of each other or rolling off the table. Now that you mention it, having each person get the island closest to their seat is how I've done a bunch of physical non-solo games over the past couple years. Definitely helps with maneuvering and logistics.
With two separate players that were both pretty adept strategically, I did play some games where it was a constant moving around the table type thing. It was fun though, since we were both pretty into the game when we played. I sometimes did it to get different picture angles, but sometimes we both did it because we needed to see a new angle of attack or get the movement card in the right position to move something without knocking over an arch lol. (which are extremely lightweight and prone to bumping) Not much beats having a competent strategist on the other side of the table, especially if they surprise you with their interest in the game and it becomes a bit of a chess match with the superior player or tactics usually winning.