In this segment I talk about games I’ve played for the first time. I won’t talk about games I own myself, but games that I’ll probably only play once or not very often for whatever reason. If I get the chance to play them a couple more times, I will also review them. For now, here are my thoughts.
I’ve played this game with four players and we played it wrong. Good to know. Yes, we haven’t used the location tiles in the second and third voyage, which isn’t wrong, but it is sort of a beginners way of playing this game. We also, in case of the admiral and the governor, put the remaining silver and gold in our treasure chests instead of taking points. With that in mind, I still like to share my thoughts here.
First of all, this is the most beautiful game I’ve ever played so far. The ships, the glass jewels, the treasure chests, the illustrations, just wonderful.
What about the game itself? Well, I think it’s a pretty straightforward game. You get goods (crew, cannons, supplies) in the harbour that you want to use during your expedition and then you go and sail the seas. You trade goods, attack villages, forts and galleons. When you attack successfully, you get points (and treasure if you are the first player who does so).
The cool thing is you get your goods by sailing through a one-way street, you can claim the nice spots (worker placement style), but you can’t go back. The order in which you exit the harbour is the sailing order and tiebreaker. The sailing phase is sort of a blind bidding phase. You bid on certain actions .The winner gets first pick and some extra treasure if he succeeds, and the player who’s in second place can also do the action but without the extras. Most of the actions can only be done by two players. If you think you have done enough, you can choose to go back to the harbour. When you are the first player in the harbour, you will be the first player in the next round. There are exactly three rounds.
You get points for conquests, commodities, treasures and succeeding in different conquests.
The one-way street worker placement idea is very interesting and the blind bidding also works quite well. Off course I’ve played this game only once and, yes, I did enjoy the game, but you basically do the same stuff three times in a row (three rounds). The game is almost completely resets every round, there is no sense of development. That’s a pity.
Francis Drake is extremely beautiful to look at. The game, I mean. In terms of component quality it can hardly get any better, but the game itself doesn’t bring anything new or special. Just one of many.