Scourge of the High Seas is played over 7 rounds where players will move their ship to attack merchants, islands, navy, or other players in order to gain supplies to sell at market in trade for money. Once sold, bury the money and treasure to keep it safe for the end of the game. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins.
With a reversible gameboard, two to six players can set sail on the ocean to try and gain the most money. Players will search out merchant ships or royal held islands and plunder them for supplies, treasure and money. With the supplies, the players can deliver them to nearby markets for selling to further increase their money. However, a captain's fortune is not safe until they can successfully bury it on the hidden island. Do not hold onto too much loot or another player may decide you are an easier way to grow their fortune.
Each player will have crew tokens to assign positions on their ship board in secret. When all players have made their assignments, everyone reveals their choices and whoever has the most speed will move first. Assignments depend on many factors including wind direction, nearby targets to attack, other players and the navy ships out on patrol.
Each round the merchants and navy move around on trade routes, while the King's islands produce more supplies to be sold at market. Each market has its own demands for the four different types of supplies and it changes as player's sell their ill-gotten goods. In addition, every round has shifting winds making every decision in every round impactful.
Will you go for the island that has a bunch of one resource in hopes the market demand is high? Or will you risk confrontation with the navy to steal from the merchant ships? Perhaps that other pirate ship is too encumbered by its own fortunes and is ripe for the taking. The choice is yours and each game has a different starting layout giving unending variety.
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