Captains of the Golden Age is set in a fictional East-Indies, in the golden age of trading and piracy, a time when pepper was worth more than gold!
Four brightly coloured ships of different shapes and sizes lie anchored at Smuggler’s Cove.
Their sails are lowered and their crews are resting while they gently rock back and forth on the waves. An albatross circles the shipwreck that lies broken on the shore. The sun is setting and a warm light starts to shine from inside the gaping ship; it’s the Smuggler’s Cove inn.
Four Captains sit at a round table at the center of the inn; some of the other guests are staring at the brightly coloured clothes they are wearing. A parrot closely watches the whole scene from a chandelier above the table. The colourful captains don’t seem to mind; they talk, rest, laugh and enjoy their beers.
Suddenly a small boy runs in, holding a sealed letter for the innkeeper. After reading the letter, the innkeeper glances at the other guests before walking over to the four captains. In a low whisper he says “Friends, my contact from the Republic tells me that the price of pepper has just surpassed the price of gold”, and turns back to his bar.
The mood changes as a storm on a summer day and the captains reach for their weapons as if struck by lightning. Cautiously, they slowly stand up and back off from the table, but as their greed gets the better of them, they start running to their brightly coloured ships…
Players start the game on smuggler's cove as one of these brightly coloured captains. Each captain owns a small ship with a tiny crew, one cannon and an empty cargo hold. Over the course of the game, each captain gathers resources to upgrade their ship at the shipyards of the Orient and the Republic or trades its cargo for valuable pepper in the Orient to get shares in the Trading Company and ensure their victory.
The amount of sails determines how far you move per turn. Crew is used for boarding other ships and plundering cargo. Cannons deal damage to other ships and the size of your cargo hold determines how much cargo you can load and carry.
Each player holds a hidden hand of cards from his own deck that can be used as temporary buffs to sail further, carry more cargo, or change the tide of battle.
Besides all this players can hire the notorious pirate at Smugglers Cove, to secretly ambush other captains.
CotGA has 0% randomness, all skill. Its main mechanics are pick-up and deliver combined with hand-management and bluff. Players choose the length of the game by the size of their starter ships.
Trade cargo to upgrade your sails, crew, cannons or cargo holds. Attack other captains and board their ships to plunder cargo. Hire the notorious pirate to ambush competitors. Whatever your strategy, always keep one eye on the captain with pepper in his cargo hold.