Rules for Privateer
Players: 2-6 (Recommended 3-6)
Game Length: 30 to 90 minutes. (Games last longer with more players)
Privateer is a board game set during the Golden Age of Piracy within the Caribbean Seas. Players assume the role of a historical pirate or privateer and establish their legends by amassing wealth through a combination of mercantilism, influence, and brevity.
In Privateer, players take turns drawing Bounty Cards, sailing the seas, attacking other ships, plundering goods, selling cargo, and upgrading their ship until one player reaches 20 Infamy to win the game.
The object of Privateer is to be the first Captain to amass 20 Infamy. If at any point a player has 20 Infamy the game is over and that player wins.
Track and Infamy Markers
4 Six-Sided Dice (2 Red, 1 White, 1 Color)
Doubloons (Silver and Gold)
Cargo Cards (Rum, Paprika, Cinnamon, Tobacco, Sugar, and Fruit)
Pick a Captain:
Each player draws two Captain Cards and chooses one of those Captains to play the game with.
After Captains have been chosen, a Port Card is drawn and placed face up on each of the different port’s Supply positions at the bottom of the board.
Each player starts the game with a Ship Board to purchase and track their ship’s upgrades.
All the Bounty Cards are shuffled and the deck is placed face down on the left side of the board.
All the cargo cards are sorted and placed in the bank.
Ship Starting Positions:
Each ship starts the game on its respective color port.
The Wind Marker is placed in the center of the Compass indicating neutral wind conditions.
Each player starts the game with ten silver doubloons. One gold doubloon is worth five silver doubloons. Players keep their doubloons in their Doubloon Purse and don’t need to reveal how many doubloons they are carrying.
The Ship Board is used to track a player’s progress throughout the game. Players use colored track markers to denote their current rank along each of the four upgrade tracks, (Sails, Crew, Cannons, and Hold). Above the track markers is the total Infamy to be gained for reaching the different positions along that track. Below the track markers are the various prices required to purchase an upgrade to the next position along each track.
Infamy is gained in two different ways:
Each upgrade to a player’s ship is worth 1 point of Infamy, however, an upgrade to the last position of any track will add 2 bonus Infamy points.
Some Relics grant the controlling player Infamy. Unlike upgrades, Infamy from Relics may be temporary since players can steal Relics from each other throughout the game.
A ship with a higher sails score can move more spaces each turn than a ship with a lower score.
A captain with a higher crew score will often fare well when a Fortune Card is drawn.
Cannon score dictates how powerful a ship is in battle.
The Hold score dictates how much cargo a ship can hold. A captain with a high Hold score can hold a much larger number of commodities than a captain with a low Hold score. A ship can make a much larger profit when selling cargo in a port if it is holding a large amount of commodities.
If a player’s Hold score is reduced, and the new Hold score has a cargo limit that is lower than before, that player may be forced to discard any cargo over their new limit.
When a Relic is drawn from the Bounty Card deck the player then gains control of it and adjusts any Infamy Markers that may or may not have changed. As long as a player owns a Relic, all effects of the Relic are applied to that player. If a player loses control of a Relic, all effects of the Relic are lost.
After setting up the board, each player rolls the die to determine who will go first. The highest roller plays first, with turn order continuing clockwise.
Before the game begins, players take turns in order, spending their initial 10 silver doubloons on upgrades and cargo, utilizing the Port Card present in their starting port (Note: Port Cards do not change after purchasing upgrades during this phase). If any particular cargo commodity is sold-out before a player begins his or her purchasing phase, that commodity is no longer available for purchase.
Each player has a colored Infamy Marker to track their Infamy score on the right side of the board. Every player adjusts their Ship Board and Infamy Marker based on their Captain’s attributes plus any upgrades they purchased.
1. Draw a Bounty Card:
If the card is a Relic, that Relic is now under that player’s control. If the card is a Fortune, players follow the rules on the card to completion. Cards that have an effect at the beginning of the player’s turn will go into effect.
Players may now move their ship up to the number of spaces equal to their Sails score, plus any applicable bonuses.
3. Attack another ship:
If a player ends their movement in a square occupied by another player or in a space denoted as a Merchant Ship, they must battle.
4. Entering a port:
If a player ends their movement in a square occupied by a port other than the last port that they came from, they may proceed to purchase or sell cargo. In addition, that player may purchase upgrades for their ship. After a player has finished buying or selling at that port, a new Port Card must be drawn to replace the old Port Card.
5. Ending the Turn.
Resolve the turn by adjusting all Infamy Markers and changing any silver or gold doubloons to desired denominations.
A player can move their ship a total number of spaces equal to their Sails score on their Ship Board. Ships can only sail directly up, down, left or right (not diagonally).
Whenever a player moves their ship in the same direction that the wind is blowing they only spend half of their total movement when sailing in that direction. For instance, if a ship can sail 4 spaces and chooses to move East, and the wind is currently blowing East, that ship may sail 8 spaces towards the eastern edge of the board. This assumes the ship is sailing in a direct line, as any movement North or South will require one full square of movement, instead of half.
Whenever a player moves their ship in the opposite direction that the wind is blowing, they are required to spend twice their total movement when sailing in that direction. For instance, if a ship can sail 4 spaces and chooses to move East, and the wind is currently blowing West, that ship may sail only 2 spaces towards the eastern edge of the board. This assumes the ship is sailing in a direct line, as any movement North or South will require one full square of movement, instead of double.
When a player ends their movement on a square occupied by another player or denoted by a Merchant Ship symbol they must enter into a battle. Battles with other players are resolved differently than battles with Merchant Ships. Players cannot battle inside ports.
Battling Merchant Ships:
1. The player rolls the combat die and adds their total cannons bonus to the roll. This is their total combat strength.
2. The player rolls the two red dice and adds the rolls together. This is the Merchant Ship’s total strength.
3. If the player’s total is higher than the Merchant Ship’s, the player wins. If it is lower, the player loses. If a tie occurs, repeat steps 1 and 2 until there is a clear winner.
4. If the player wins, they may plunder the merchant ship. The player rolls the Color Die and takes a number of goods from the bank that match the color rolled. The amount of goods to be plundered is equal to the difference between their total combat strength and the Merchant Ship’s. For example, if the player had a total combat score of 12 and the Merchant Ship had a combat score of 8, the player would receive 4 goods from the bank, provided that they had the available cargo space.
5. If the player loses, their turn ends immediately.
Battling Other Players:
1.Each player rolls the combat die and adds their total cannon bonus to their roll.
2. The player with the highest total wins, and may Plunder the other player’s ship. If they tie, the players keep repeating steps 1 until there is a clear winner.
3. When Plundering an opponent’s ship, steal a number of commodities from the other player equal to the difference between your total combat strength and theirs. For example, if you had a total combat score of 12, and the other player had a combat score of 8, you would steal 4 commodities from the other player, provided that you had the available cargo space. If a player cannot hold the plundered cargo, it is returned to the bank. The losing player must then roll the Color Die and immediately move their ship to the port that matches the color that is rolled.
Entering A Port
When a player enters a new port, they may choose to buy and sell cargo, or to upgrade their ship. A new port is defined as any port that the player has sailed to from a previous port. Thus, players cannot return to their last visited port to buy or sell cargo or purchase upgrades. Additionally, if a player has been sent back to a port as the result of being Plundered, they cannot buy or sell cargo, and cannot purchase upgrades at that port.
After any player finishes purchasing or selling any cargo, that port’s Port Card is discarded and the port is assigned a new Port Card from the top of the deck.