Over the last two days I have played a four player 100-point game where players use the gold they bring back to their home islands to buy and launch new ships and crew.
The participants were the same as the game above, with a few small changes to the French and Pirate fleets.
The game constituted of mostly gold-running, and the Spanish were quickly eliminated, finding themselves between the English and French/Cursed. The French only had one good gold ship (La Dijon), and they used her haul to build Paradis de la Mer.
The Pirates and English built their forts as well, Dead Man's Point and Fort Brompton, respectively. The English and Pirates had home islands on opposite sides of the sea, and so were free to accumulate treasure and build their fleets in relative peace. The French were all but eliminated when their two gunships (Le Gaule and Divine Dragon) were taken out in quick succession by the HMS Grand Temple, HMS Apollo, and HMS Dover.
The English put together a scattered expedition of ships to go east to attack the Pirates' home island, but these plans were foiled when the Pirates tried to end the game quickly, sensing they didn't have the firepower to match up in a fleet action (it was looking like the Harbinger, Revenant, Ballista, Muerta de la Corona, and Lady's Scorn vs the Titan, Grand Temple, Dover, Apollo, Nautilus, Auckland, Cygnet, and two captured Spanish galleons, Joya del Sol and Santo Columba, with the Lady Provost lurking by the Pirates' HI waiting to steal gold).
After short skirmishes, desperate treasure-running, and a few well-placed UT's, the final French/Cursed ship (Fallen Angel) was finally rammed and dismasted, triggering an endgame condition with two of the original four players not able to give any of their ships future actions.
The gold was tallied up, and the English came out on top, with slightly more gold coins than the Pirates, but with coins with much greater values (at least two sevens and a handful of fives):
1. English: 170 gold
2. Pirates: 126
3. Spanish: 37
4. French: 19