Had a four player game of Pirate’s Cove last night with Cris, Mike, and Jesse. This was about the sixth time or so that we have played so I am starting to get a solid feel for the strategy and I went in with a definite plan on what I wanted to try and do. I thought that if I could get to about 35 points I stood a good chance of winning as that seems to be around the magic number so far for our games. That’s about 3 points a turn, which seems very doable when you look at it that way.
My strategy early on was to build up my hull and maximize the amount of treasure that I could carry, I planned on making two trips to Treasure Island over the course of the game. One would be on the 12th (and last) turn, the other would most likely be in the first half of the game. I wanted to make sure that I had full treasures every time that I went. That pretty much left me with ten turns to get as many other resources as I could. I tried to look at each Treasure card in terms of Fame Points, as that seems to be a good baseline to convert everything into. I made some quick adjustments and roughly equated resources to be worth the following: Treasures-4/5 of a point (obviously they are worth a fame point each, but there is always the risk that they never get buried), Gold- ½ a fame point (Again, three gold are worth a fame point, but the fact that you can use gold for all sorts of stuff makes them worth more), and Tavern Cards- 1 fame point (worth two gold each, but can be real hit or miss. Definitely a wild card in the game). I also wanted to make a definite effort to avoid combat so I decided I would be a wimp about things and try to steer clear of islands that looked very tempting.
Things started off well when I drew the parrot that lets you shoot six dice in combat (I forget it’s name) as my initial Tavern card. Unfortunately I sailed to the same island as both Jesse and Cris and before I could even attack my parrot had been killed. At least I had no fame points to lose. I wound up losing the battle as well and retreated to the Cove for a little R&R and to plan my revenge. After that things went well for me as I avoided battle for the next couple of rounds and tried to concentrate on building up my ship and grabbing some tavern cards. Mike and Cris jumped out early in the Fame Point lead, but the one thing I am certain of in the game is that an early lead means nothing so I paced myself and tried to stay on target of getting at least three Fame Points (or the equivalent) each round.
I finally made it to Treasure Island on Round 5 and buried a hull’s full worth of booty, but I was still in the back of the pack, though Jesse was struggling mightily as I had managed to damage most of his ship with a well rolled Six Gun Salute. Mike was in hunting mode as he managed to take down both the Flying Dutchman (with help) and the surprisingly wimpy Captain Hook. This was setting up a showdown with Ann Bonny and Mary Read who I knew would be at Treasure Island on the last turn, which was fine with me as I was spoiling for a fight at this point. I had Grapeshot Attack sitting in my hand for my final stand, and since the lady pirates attack every part of your ship I didn’t really care about damaging my cannons since my sails were going to be crippled first anyway.
Heading into Round 11 I played Consort on Mike. It wound up getting me 1 Fame, 3 Gold, and a Treasure. I was happy with that.
On Round 12 I went to Treasure Island with 9 treasures stowed away in my hull. Jesse also went there so I had some backup for the fight, which I was happy about. I was surprised to see Mike go to Tavern Island, even though he had some treasure in his hull. Cris also opted to stay away, having been there last turn to unload and take the lead. Cris also dispatched the Royal Navy after Mike, taking advantage of his weak hull and forcing him to Pirates Cove. Jesse and I made quick work of Bonny and Read with the help of good rolling and Grapeshot Attack. Between the buried Treasure, buried Gold (I had 17 gold!), and Fame points from the Legendary Pirate victory I netted 17 points on the final turn which pushed me into the lead. After we played the cards in our hands I wound up with a 1 point win over Cris. Another close exciting game.