For a longer, more chaotic game, groups may place 4-8 starred Event cards in the Event deck during set-up instead of the usual 3.
For a shorter game, after you've built the Event deck remove any number of Event cards from the top of the deck and place them back in the box without viewing them.
The more Event cards you remove, the shorter the game will be. You also won't know how many of each card is available in the game. Another way to shorten the game is to use a 30-second timer.
If a player does not choose their action by the time the timer ends, they must immediately view 2 Event cards for their action. If a player is forced to reveal a card, they may have 30 seconds to decide which card to reveal.
If they have not chosen when the timer ends, the forcer chooses which card they will reveal.
For a more strategic, less deceptive game, all players can play with their Loyalty cards face-up. A variation of this is to pass out 1 British Loyalty card face-up, 1 French Loyalty card face-up, and the other Loyalty cards face- down.
For a speedy, insane, and somewhat hilarious "crazy- person" game, put all 8 game-changer cards in the Event deck during set-up. During gameplay, players are not allowed to view Event cards as an action, meaning that each card revealed will be a surprise. Let the madness begin!
For the mind games to begin right away, during set-up place 1 treasure in each treasure area on Tortuga, place 3 treasures in the British hold on the Flying Dutchman, and place 3 treasures in the French hold on the Jolly Roger.
After passing out Loyalty cards, randomly draw out the pawns one at a time. Each player may choose their starting ship and pawn position when their pawn is drawn out. Players may also choose to begin on Tortuga.
Ships may begin unevenly. After all pawns have been placed, the pawn closest to the front of each ship is the captain. Move pawns up to fill any empty spaces on the ships.