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Subject: Frigate vrs Galleon... what am I missing?!?! rss

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Played our first game of MnM last night. I went pirate, others went merchant. They picked up Galleons, and I went with the Frigate. Early on we all were wondering the same thing:

Why on earth would you ever get a Frigate!?!??!?!?!!?!?!?!?

We all agreed the 1 extra Manuverability can not over come the loss of 1 or 2 points in every other catagory. Since Manuverability is ONLY used to see if a merchant escapes, you have these two choices:

1. Buy a Galleon, pick up Rigging. BANG you're a super Frigate.

2. Buy a Frigate, spend half the game trying to find and buy the parts to make your ship at least equal to a base Galleon, then try and raid other players. Oh wait, the game just ended, and you lost.

So, what are we missing?
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Jim Patching
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Manoeuvrability is also used for ship to ship combat - if your ship has 2 or more points of Manoeuvrability compared to your opponent you get to roll an extra seamanship dice. I think the idea is that if you buy extra masts for your frigate it'll give you this bonus dice when it comes to fighting gelleons.

To be honest, I'm with you though. I don't really see that the frigate has much of an advantage at all over a galleon. I mean, it's just as easy for a galleon to get the extra masts, isn't it?
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Guido Gloor
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This has come up countless times already

A Galleon is indeed mostly superior to a Frigate when it comes to player or NPC combat. The trouble is that player or NPC combat is not always available, particularly if you're making clear that you want that by buying a Galleon as a pirate; it's quite easy to stay away from the guy that sucks at merchant raids, by port hopping and the likes (or just staying on the far edge of the map, or sailing away).

A Frigate on the other hand is strictly superior to a Galleon for merchant raids (which, with special weapons, are really efficient for getting glory points).

A Frigate with rigging is superior to a Galleon without rigging for ship-to-ship combat, too (Seamanship is really important and an extra die is incredibly powerful), and a pirate will probably equip his ship further than a merchant (and go to St. John for upgrading, to retain those early upgrades), netting him an advantage in the end after all. Mind you, merchant Galleons are still a tough cookie, nowhere near the easy prey that a Flute is even with upgrades, a Galleon does give a merchant much-needed pause from the relentless chasings of the pirates about. But it's definitely beatable for a dedicated pirate in a Frigate.

So:

Ship-to-ship combat: Galleons are better, given equal upgrades (which a pirate shouldn't have)
Merchant raids: Frigates are a lot better

Consequently, if you really have a lot of ship-to-ship combat, and merchants who suck at avoiding the lumbering merchant-losing pirate juggernaut, then by all means buy a Galleon as a pirate, it's the best possible venue. In all other situations however, Frigates are better. Maneuverability is that important, because it is the one stat that determines how good a pirate is at raiding merchants and gaining relatively easy glory points.
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Greg Fulford
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You're missing just how easy it is to pick up glory points from merchant raids using a frigate, and how much of a handicap it is for a pirate to give up on doing them.
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Doug Herring
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mmmtofu wrote:
You're missing just how easy it is to pick up glory points from merchant raids using a frigate, and how much of a handicap it is for a pirate to give up on doing them.
What he said. Merchant raids are the quick road to victory for a pirate.
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Vasilis
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Ι wonder how many times are we going to read about this frigate vs galleon contest?

Is it ever going to stop I wonder?

The game is just fine as it is.
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Jakob Silk
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If you start as a Pirate, start accumulating bounties and decide to upgrade your ship, you almost always have to choose the Frigate to keep on performing Merchant Raids - Maneuverability is essential for successful Merchant Raids.

In addition, it's not like you are suddenly forgiven by all the nations and can happily start trading in their ports. However, a Merchant can easily start in a Flute and switch over to Frigate at the halfway point to begin Merchant Raids. I would suggest that this is exactly what a Captain like Frances Wright should be doing.

----

It is at this point I would love someone with some programming knowledge to design an app that can simulate the following: A Pirate captain (average of 3 Seamanship) in a Frigate vs. a Merchant captain (average of 2 Seamanship) in a Galleon and see how often one side defeats the other.

Considering I've yet to see a 3 Seamanship Captain using a Frigate lose in Ship-to-Ship combat vs. an NPC Captain with 2 Seamanship in a Man o' War (this has happened 3x so far), I'm willing to bet that the Pirate Frigate captain wins a heavy majority of the battles.
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Anthony
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The above points about Merchant Raids are correct and to see this mathmatically. The galleon can only absorb one escape card before the merchant flees. Half of the cards are flees and you will usually (not always) need 4 cards to reach a glory point...therefore on average you would have 2 flees.

The unmodified frigate can absorb 2 flees which on average you would expect from 4 cards...that 2 to one advantage represents a 50% increase in success of merchant raids and merchant raids are what will allow you to score points as fast as merchants. Once your rolling and especially if you manage to get rigs and sails you should be scoring a glory point on most turns which helps you catch up with the often faster start of merchants.
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You keep mentioning Glory Points for merchant raiding. Now, as I read the rules, you need to get 12+ gold for it to give you a glory point. Of the 5 merchant raids I succeded at, none were worth 12+, as in I received NO glory points.

It would seem actually getting the required cards for a gp is a bit of a break luck wise. Lets say you really roled well on your Seamanship die. I supposed you could add cards to try and get the total up to 12+, however, at this point your ship is shot to pieces, and you have to spend a few turns refitting.

Again, it seems pirating, (unless you are very lucky), is going to lose out to merchanting every time. Plus, with a Frigate, you stand no chance of attacking player run Galleons to try and even it up.
 
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Vasilis
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Icedanno wrote:
You keep mentioning Glory Points for merchant raiding. Now, as I read the rules, you need to get 12+ gold for it to give you a glory point. Of the 5 merchant raids I succeded at, none were worth 12+, as in I received NO glory points.
Did you have a Frigate or a Galleon?
 
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Guido Gloor
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Icedanno wrote:
You keep mentioning Glory Points for merchant raiding. Now, as I read the rules, you need to get 12+ gold for it to give you a glory point. Of the 5 merchant raids I succeded at, none were worth 12+, as in I received NO glory points.
Ah, you didn't use special weapons Those are quite essential.
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Christian Marcussen
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Icedanno wrote:
You keep mentioning Glory Points for merchant raiding. Now, as I read the rules, you need to get 12+ gold for it to give you a glory point. Of the 5 merchant raids I succeded at, none were worth 12+, as in I received NO glory points.

It would seem actually getting the required cards for a gp is a bit of a break luck wise. Lets say you really roled well on your Seamanship die. I supposed you could add cards to try and get the total up to 12+, however, at this point your ship is shot to pieces, and you have to spend a few turns refitting.

Again, it seems pirating, (unless you are very lucky), is going to lose out to merchanting every time. Plus, with a Frigate, you stand no chance of attacking player run Galleons to try and even it up.
Speacial Weapons are key. If you do 5 raids without scoring a point, then it tells me you aren't utilizing the options/tactics that the game gives you. This might in turn explain this thread.

You ought score a point from Merchant Raids around 50% of the time (you can't really put a percentage on it - too many factors - but on average 50% seems right).
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Jakob Silk
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Icedanno wrote:
It would seem actually getting the required cards for a gp is a bit of a break luck wise. Lets say you really roled well on your Seamanship die. I supposed you could add cards to try and get the total up to 12+, however, at this point your ship is shot to pieces, and you have to spend a few turns refitting.

Again, it seems pirating, (unless you are very lucky), is going to lose out to merchanting every time. Plus, with a Frigate, you stand no chance of attacking player run Galleons to try and even it up.
The average value is 3 on the cards. Like Yoren pointed out, you typically need an average of four cards to complete a successful Merchant Raid. 3 x 4 = 12. If half the deck are 'Escape' cards, 2 of the 4 will be 'Escape'. This is why most are stating how important the maneuverability is.

You NEED to draw more cards in order to get the Glory Point. The more cards you draw, the more likely the merchant is going to flee. Taking two or three hits to your ship is a very big deal when you are in a Sloop - not so much when you are in a Frigate.
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Ken Marley
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I haven't played yet, but one other difference is that Frigate can be captured or purchased where is a Galleon must be purchased. The Man of War can only be captured.
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I was using the Frigate, and as far as special weapons go, they have no bearing on merchant raiding, and since everyone can buy them, it seems we are back to square one and the Galleon beats the Frigate every time.

With adding extra cards to try and get enough gold for Glory Points, you end up with a wrecked ship. Time and cost of refitting can kill you in a race to Glory Points 'cause the Galleon using Merchants are making money hand over fist that whole time.

Again, we could not think of a reason to go Pirating over Merchanting, or Frigate over Galleon.
 
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Harald Torvatn
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Icedanno wrote:
You keep mentioning Glory Points for merchant raiding. Now, as I read the rules, you need to get 12+ gold for it to give you a glory point. Of the 5 merchant raids I succeded at, none were worth 12+, as in I received NO glory points.

It would seem actually getting the required cards for a gp is a bit of a break luck wise. Lets say you really roled well on your Seamanship die. I supposed you could add cards to try and get the total up to 12+, however, at this point your ship is shot to pieces, and you have to spend a few turns refitting.

Again, it seems pirating, (unless you are very lucky), is going to lose out to merchanting every time. Plus, with a Frigate, you stand no chance of attacking player run Galleons to try and even it up.
With a frigate, you can draw more cards (without the merchant escaping), thus getting to 12 without having to be lucky. Yes, you have to repair. But you dont have to spend "a few turns" refitting, one harbor action is plenty.

Also note that with special ammo, you dont have to roll well on your seamanship roll, as special ammo turns faqilures into successes. (It sounds like you try to pirating weithout special ammo, in which case it is no wonder the pirates lose in your group.)

perhaps, if you tried merchant raiding with a frigate and lots of special ammo, you would find that it is not so hard to gain a glory raiding?
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Christian Marcussen
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Quote:
I was using the Frigate, and as far as special weapons go, they have no bearing on merchant raiding
I'm sorry, but we are trying to tell you that THEY DO. They are crucial - you can't underestimate just how important they are.

Re-read the rules for Merchant Raids again and play some more. I would be suprised if you still found no "reason to go Pirating over Merchanting". It also screws your perspective on the Galleon vs Frigate issue (you may still feel like you do once doing it right, but with an unmodified Galleon you are cutting yourself off from Merchant Raid points).

Cheers
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"With a frigate, you can draw more cards (without the merchant escaping), thus getting to 12 without having to be lucky. Yes, you have to repair. But you dont have to spend "a few turns" refitting, one harbor action is plenty."

Well, a few turns as in, go to port, port action, back to sea. If you are in a sea area that is unfriendly to you, (which will happen if you are pirate), you have to spend extra actions reaching a port you can use. Thus, 'few turns'. Now, all you are doing for that turn(s) is moving and spending money, while the merchants are racing around making money, secure and smug knowing they are immune to your attacks due to their much better galleons.

Not a knock on the game by any means, but a point that seemed to be a no brainer with our play group.

Point 2:

Quote:
I was using the Frigate, and as far as special weapons go, they have no bearing on merchant raiding


"I'm sorry, but we are trying to tell you that THEY DO. They are crucial - you can't underestimate just how important they are."

I understand what you are saying, but all another player has to do is get rigging and that completely nullifies that.
 
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Icedanno wrote:


I understand what you are saying, but all another player has to do is get rigging and that completely nullifies that.
No, it doesn't. First, while a Galleon with Rigging has equal maneuverability, the Frigate can just as easily get Rigging also - the Frigate has the edge. It's the special weapons that will help - being able to manipulate the cards is the key.

Plus, you make the assumption that you can rely on rigging being found. Sure, it's on the board SOMEwhere... but there's only 2 of them, and if the other players grab them first, you're gonna have a hard time finding them.

If you are going to be a pirate, the Frigate is usually MUCH better at merchant raids - that 1 extra maneuverability makes a big difference when it comes to preventing escapes, especially when trying to get 12.

I haven't played as much as some here, but I've come to learn from personal experience also that the Frigate/Galleon thing isn't as clear cut as it looks on the surface - Galleons are good for a lot of things, but aren't ideal for merchant raids unless you happen to get the rigs and sails AND have a captain with really good seamanship.
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Guido Gloor
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Icedanno wrote:
as far as special weapons go, they have no bearing on merchant raiding
Rulebook wrote:
Special Weapons during Merchant raids
After rolling your Seamanship skill you may spend a Special Weapons token to convert a failed die into a success. You may spend several tokens on the same roll if you wish. It makes no difference which type of token you spend – they have the same effect when spent during Merchant Raids.
...and...

Icedanno wrote:
Well, a few turns as in, go to port, port action, back to sea. If you are in a sea area that is unfriendly to you, (which will happen if you are pirate), you have to spend extra actions reaching a port you can use. Thus, 'few turns'.
Well, you know which nations are friendly to you and which ones aren't, and you can influence that, too (by fishing in already unfriendly waters) It's rare that you're more than one turn away from a friendly harbour, and if you're not, you went there on your own.
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Harald Torvatn
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Icedanno wrote:
"With a frigate, you can draw more cards (without the merchant escaping), thus getting to 12 without having to be lucky. Yes, you have to repair. But you dont have to spend "a few turns" refitting, one harbor action is plenty."

Well, a few turns as in, go to port, port action, back to sea. If you are in a sea area that is unfriendly to you, (which will happen if you are pirate), you have to spend extra actions reaching a port you can use. Thus, 'few turns'. Now, all you are doing for that turn(s) is moving and spending money, while the merchants are racing around making money, secure and smug knowing they are immune to your attacks due to their much better galleons.
Well, yes, both pirates and merchants have to go to port. It is not like pirates can get 10 points in 10 turns. What we are saying is that pirates pirating properly can (and often do) get points as fast as merchants.
Icedanno wrote:

Not a knock on the game by any means, but a point that seemed to be a no brainer with our play group.
But your group has played once, and did not understand the rules for special ammunition used during merchant raids?
Icedanno wrote:

Point 2:

Quote:
I was using the Frigate, and as far as special weapons go, they have no bearing on merchant raiding


"I'm sorry, but we are trying to tell you that THEY DO. They are crucial - you can't underestimate just how important they are."

I understand what you are saying, but all another player has to do is get rigging and that completely nullifies that.
Aditional rigging works very well for a frigate. So if rigging is aviable, and I plan on pirating, I will prefer a frigate with aditional sails over a galleon with additional sails.
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All good comments here, and as I read over mine they seem to have taken a negative turn, which was not intended. We enjoy the game, I'm glad I purchased it, and I would recommend it to others.

All I was trying to say was this:

With the time and expense of repairs, the random chance of getting enough gold to get a Glory Point off a Merchant Raid, and the huge superiority of the Galleon over the Frigate in ship to ship battles lead us all to believe:

Merchant > Pirate Galleon > Frigate

Note: The Frigate is OBVIOUSLY the better ship to Merchant Raid with, but all factors considered, the merchant players are going to so far ahead that in order to win the pirate will have to attack and plunder them to even it up, and that just ain't going to happen if you have a Frigate and they have a Galleon.
 
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Jakob Silk
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If your merchants are racking up GPs that easily, may I suggest a very thorough Cargo deck shuffling? The chance that the Merchants are banking triples with each stop is actually pretty low.

Merchant Raids are much quicker to complete but with the a small risk of being sunk, the loss of access to certain ports and pursuit from N/PC ships to collect on your bounties. This balances out how much quicker it is to get GPs from Merchant Raids.
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George
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Seems we are confusing Special Weapons with Ship Modifications...

Special Weapons were explained above (turns your failed dice into successes for adding/discarding/exchanging cards).

But also note that Reinforced Hull is one of the few Ship Modification "powers" that can be used in a Merchant Raid (besides the general stat boosting ones like Crew/Cannons/Cargo/Sails which of course help.)
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Dmitry Vensko
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Galleon is somehow worse than Galleon for Merchant Raids (still it is better for damage cards), but worse when fighting with NPC or players.

Galleon clearly better than Frigate against NPC Frigate - does not matter if he has Rigs and Sails (or if frigate has them)

Unmodified Galleon is better than unmodified Frigate against unmodified merchant-player's Galleon

Only in case of upgraded rigs and sails a Frigate is _not worse_ than upgraded Galleon against of unmodified merchant-player's Galleon (or against NPC Man-o-War). That does not seem really significant.

So even if Galleon is bad choice for Merchant Raids it is generally better for combat and so for pirate player.

 
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