Once combat begins it continues a number of rounds until a Captain has lost or has escaped. Each round the players declare which combat action they wish to perform (starting with the aggressor i.e. the Captain that engaged the battle). The first round "shoot" is the only available action, but on the subsequent rounds players can choose one of the following actions:
- Shoot: Try to hit the enemy ship with cannon-fire.
- Board: Try to board the enemy ship.
- Flee: Try to escape from the battle.
II. Seamanship Contest
After declaring an action, each player rolls his Captain's Seamanship skill in what is called a Seamanship contest. The Captain who wins the roll (rolls the most successes) out-maneuvers his opponent and gets to perform his selected action. If no Captains get any successes, no one wins – proceed to the next round.
Resolve ties by adding up the numbers on the dice that did not come up as successes. If still tied, then proceed to the next round (after inflicting cannon hits, if any). Add 1 die to a Captain's Seamanship skill, if his or her ship has a Maneuverability that is 2 or more higher than the enemy ship.
(Win, tie or lose refers to the Seamanship contest roll)
Shoot Win: Inflict a hit with all your "Cannons". Tie or Loss: Inflict a hit with each die that came up a success (up to the number of "Cannons" on your ship).
Board Win: You board the enemy ship. Naval Combat ends – proceed to Crew Combat.
Flee Win: If your opponent made no successes, then you escape the battle and combat ends.
Cannon-hits, if any, are applied before you manage to board. Proceed to Crew Combat unless your ship is sunk (you die), or you lose your last "Crew" (in which case the Naval battle continues).
Hit-Locations & Damage
In order to determine hit-location, a die is rolled for each cannon that hits its target. All locations except "Hull" have a number next to them and when that number is rolled, the location is hit. For every rolled, the target decides which of the five locations is hit (unless the attacker chooses to use any Special Weapons). Inflict the "number" hits first and then the hits.
A hit-location cube is moved down 1 step for each hit received (i.e. rolling two 2s means your opponent moves the "Masts" hit-location cube down two steps). When a cube is moved below 1, the cube is removed and the location is considered "destroyed". Further hits to destroyed locations are transferred directly to the ship's Hull!
Damage to- and destruction of locations has the following effects:
Hull: If destroyed, your ship sinks. You lose the battle and your Captain dies.
Cargo: Each point of damage means your ship can carry one less Cargo Card. Cargo Cards in excess of your cargo capacity are randomly removed.
Masts: If destroyed, you only roll one die during Seamanship contests and can only select the "shoot" action.
Crew: If destroyed, you can't select the "board" action and automatically lose Crew Combat once it begins.
Cannons: You inflict one less hit for each point of damage. If destroyed, you can't inflict any cannonhits.
If you survive combat with destroyed hit locations, it is assumed that your remaining seamen make enough basic repairs to move around on the Game Board. However, if you are engaged again you are still subject to the effects of any destroyed hit locations. In other words, your ship works well enough to get around (typically going to port for repairs), but remains crippled in a combat situation. Additionally, you cannot make any Merchant Raids with destroyed locations.
Hits inflicted by two players the same round are inflicted simultaneously. A player therefore gets to inflict hits even if sunk, or if he/she loses any cannons.
Crew Combat takes place immediately after one player boards another (or as a result of some rumors or missions).
Every round both Captains roll their Leadership skill simultaneously. Each success inflicts a hit to the enemy crew. The maximum amount of hits you can inflict in a round is equal to how many "Crew" you have (prior to rolling).
Captains who lose all their "Crew" lose the battle, die, and the winner may plunder the ship.
Note: If both Captains lose their last "Crew" the same round, the battle is won by the Captain who made the most successes. Resolve ties by adding up numbers on the dice that did not come up as successes. If still tied, combat ends with no winner.
Glory Cards During Combat
Player Captains participating in battles may play Glory Cards with combat effects. The cards state when they are supposed to be played and at that time a player can declare the intent to play a card. If the opponent is another player Captain, he too may then declare he wishes to play a card with a similar timing.
Cardsare then resolved (aggressor's card first). Then, if no new cards with similar timing are declared, the battle continues.
There are three types of Special Weapons. "Grappling Hooks" used to increase the chance of boarding, and "Grape Shots" and "Chain Shots" that are used for better control over which hit-locations you hit.
You may have only one of each Special Weapon token.
Grappling Hooks: After a Seamanship contest roll where you choose to "board", you may spend (discard) your Hooks to re-roll any number of your dice.
Chain-shots & Grapeshots: Normally rolling a for hit-location, means that the target gets to decide where the hit is inflicted. Change that by spending (discarding) either a Chain- or Grapeshots token after rolling hit-locations.
Chain-shot: Each you rolled inflicts a hit to your enemy's "Masts". Hits to a destroyed "Masts" location are never transferred to "Hull" in a round where you used Chain-shots.
Grapeshot: Each you rolled inflicts a hit to your enemy's "Crew". Hits to a destroyed "Crew" location are never transferred to "Hull" in a round where you used Grapeshots.
If your Captain dies you must discard:
- Your Captain
- Your Cards
- Your Ship
- Your possessions on the ship (Special Weapons, cargo, Gold)
- Your Bounty Tokens
You draw a new Captain with which you continue on your next turn. If you died on another player's turn, you simply enter the game again when it's your turn.
Your new Captain is imagined to have advanced as far in his career as your previous one. For that reason you keep the number of Glory Points you have and any Gold you may have stashed (now located in the home-port of your new Captain).
Follow the Player Board setup instructions with two important differences:
1) If there is a pirate NPC located in the Sea-Zone of the Captain you draw, you may draw another.
2) You only receive 10 Gold from the game if you have no Gold stashed. If you have less than 10 Gold stashed, you take all the Gold you can from your stash and the game will supply you with the remaining Gold up to 10.