If anyone has a chance over the weekend or into next week, I could use some help testing two 9-coin mini-ships intended for use as quickie demos. One is built with coins from the Maiden's Vengeance, the other with coins from the Cursed Blade. The idea is to make sure that they're well-balanced against each other (and, ideally, against themselves, if both players in the demo have the same set of coins), and also to make sure that the ships and coins chosen are easy for a new player to understand.
Broadside (Crow's Nest)
Call to Quarters
Mate (Crow's Nest)
Please post comments and suggestions right to this thread. In order to make it worth your while, I'll mail promo Captains to the first five people who respond with comments based on actual play. (You're on your honor.) If you're one of those five, send me your mailing address in a private message on the forums.
I'm playing a couple of times now, more have to come
By the way the combination of 2 linked cannon is an overwhelming combo for a "demo deck". that can give the sensation of unbalanced game in newbies. I'm still playing, more comment about that in a couple of hours.
I suggest to include the "Barrel of Grog" instead of "Call to Quarters" because the second one allows you to pick up a random coin and rearrange the ship. The 2 cannon combo can resurface again, due to the rearrange ability. With barrel of grog you can choose the coin but not the position, so it is better because you have to decide when play it more cleverly...and "force" the player(s) to use the "always-understimated" Phase 2.2 i.e. "Call coins to Captain"
I didn't think it made sense to do a Vengeance mini-deck without including at least two of the three Cannons that come in that set â€” I think the fundamental offensive question of the game is whether to go Cannon-based or Mate-based. I hoped that by starting the Cannons off one behind the other, that a two-Cannon combo would be unlikely to get off the ground early, or to too great a disadvantage for the other player.
I think you suggestion about swapping Call to Quarters for Grog would be OK, except that the Barrel of Grog comes from the Cursed Blade set.
After playing around with these a little bit myself, I have revised to this arrangement. More commentary still encouraged...
Broadside (Crow's Nest)
Call to Quarters
Pistol (Crow's Nest)
Barrel of Grog
Adding the Monkey, although I resisted it initially because its rules can cause confusion, seemed necessary to counter the potential of a disastrous early Cannon attack. It also gives the Blade player a sort of psychological comeback to potential initial disappointment to getting hosed by the apparently all-powerful Cannon.
I swapped the Cutlass for a Pistol to suggest the strength of Mates vs. Cannons: namely, that you can attack to the rear, which is another key strategic understanding in the game, and something that I'd like new players to understand.
Further thoughts, anyone? The promo Captain offer still stands...
mmm...with captain's monkey it's all more clear.
No further comments Jeff . sorry
It might be too late, but hey why not....
My wife and I just played 6 games switching who had each mini-ship. The score was 5-1 Blade to Vengeance. The Mini-Blade 1.1 is much more flexible and seem to win more easily, which really surprised me, I figured the double-cannon would be more of a concern. If the double-cannon happens without either the Captain's Monkey already dead or killed as the second coin, then the next shot kills one of the cannon's and the advantage is lost. This actually leaves the Vengenace vulnerable as now that cannon is useless in terms of getting at the Captain due to the Monkey.
The only time the Vengeance won, I played it just right and got the double-cannon to kill the fore and the Monkey for a quick win (a call to captain doesn't help then as the double-cannon then kills the captain, and killing one of the cannons leaves the other to finish off the captain).
The readily accessible treachery prevents an early monkey with the Broadside in the crow. Also, for the Vengeance to have a shot with a good Blade player, the Vengeance seems to need to go first as well.
Just to recount the Vengeance win in detail: Vengeance, first: pillage the pistols [not treacheried, if it is treacheried, which happened the last game, then the Blade still won], Blade: Mate Broadside, Vengeance: pistol Blade's Treachery, Blade: Mate a Cannon, but Treacheried by the Vengeance; then double-cannon to kill the Broadside and the Monkey, and the rest is history.
Now, for begining player's I think they won't realize the urgency of preventing a double-cannon so the Vengeance might have more of a chance. I think these mini's are actually in favor of the Mini-Blade 1.1. As for complexity, I think it works really well, the main subtelty to point out is the Monkey not saving itself if it isn't active. I really like 'em for showcasing the game. My original thought had been to replace a Pillage in the Blade for another Pistol or a Cutlass to be agressive and use the Mates more. Maybe this would weaken the Blade alittle and help balance it out, but I didn't get to try that one out. Another thought I had in looking at them was to swap the Blade's pillage with a bomb to use the mates more and go against the cannons [and switching the pistols with the mate into the crow to start to keep a mate handy], but I think this would be too much advantage for the Blade and could be frustrating if both Mates were killed before the bomb was revealed/used.
Anyway, that's my experience with the mini's and my thoughts, but YMMV (YMMV=your mileage may vary).
Thanks for the help, guys!
For future note, the demo mat is off to the printer, so we don't need any more help with this.