This is less of a game update and more of a discussion (mostly with myself) about what I would like to see in the game. Since the game is based hugely on pirates, there is a lot of energy we want to come from the game. If the players don’t feel like pirates, what’s the point? But this isn’t easy, maybe even possible, with a board game.
My first idea for adding in more pirate tactics is to add more opportunities for the players to roleplay. However the problem here is that the game is not Dungeons and Dragons. There is no Dungeon Master, and quite honestly, the dungeon master is really the only thing keeping a roleplaying game together. Cards just don’t do the trick. There is no way to predict every possible move a player could want to make and write it onto a card, not without the card being 10 pages long. I want to make this work and give the player some choices, but I can’t see a way to do open world roleplay.
The other thunk I had was to add in more pirate tactics to the game, like stealing and cheating other players. And I think there is merit to this idea! But right now I don’t want to make the game too complicated. Once we figure out how much stuff we have to make and how the game will work as an actual playable system, I want to come back to this idea. But I also know that paring down the number of things happening is really important. We’ve worked in a little bit of this with just the mechanics in general; the ability to fight other ships and raid towns, I just don’t know how much we can add.
What other games have done
And here’s where I’m stuck. I wanted to look at other board games based on pirates to see what they add that makes the theme actually matter, and there are none. The closest I got was Pirates of the Caribbean Monopoly, but it really doesn’t matter if you’re a pirate in that game. It’s just Monopoly but slightly cooler. Video games are more open world and have plot that makes you feel like a pirate, but that’s because they’re video games. They can do that. Roleplaying board games aren’t really something that’s been done, and I can kind of understand why.