Shane, Eric and I played something I am calling “The Kitchen Sink” Merchants & Marauders. I recently purchased the Seas of Glory expansion for this game and I am eager to try it out. It adds something like 12 modular upgrades and variants players can mix and match to add exactly the level of complexity they desire. Of course I want to add the maximum level of complexity so I can have the most premium pirate experience.

I may do a detailed review of this expansion at a later time but you give you a general idea of what this expansions adds:

Contraband cargo adds an interesting new twist for generating income through cargo for both merchant and pirate players by accepting a little risk. Delivering contraband to the port listed on the card pays 10 gold for a single cargo item. This is awesome for pirate ships which have small cargo holds anyway, but is also good for merchants because you can have multiple ports to travel to to still get paid. Every two cumulative contrabands delivered earns a glory point.

Weather (wind spinner) opens and closes opportunities for traveling around the map. If you travel with the wind you get a free movement action, and if you travel against the wind you must pay two movement actions. Sometimes windmight completely mess up your plans, but other times it will offer you a great path forward! It’s random, but feels thematic.

Favors can be used to mitigate luck by letting you re-roll dice or redraw cards at critical moments. This is great when you really need to get a good cargo pull, or to not waste an entire turn missing a scouting roll. You can have up to five favors at a time and you can buy them for two gold each as your final action at any port.

Crew morale forces you to keep your crew happy either through consistent glory gain, or monetary payments. Having a happy crew also offers a very easy way to actually get ship specialists! In the original game getting a specialist feels almost impossible. You need to get a glory card which offers you the opportunity to get one if you go to a specific place and succeed on a roll. You would be lucky to get one in a game. But with a happy crew, you can just get one for free at any port!

Of course there is also the typical more, more, more! More ships, weapons, mods, events, rumors, missions, glory cards! The biggest general change these make to the game is to lengthen it. Which might seem bad, but is actually good. One of the biggest complaints about this game is that it ends just as it’s ramping up. Once all the players get nice ships suddenly it feels like a game ends. Now with the crew morale mechanic your income is essentially “taxed” having to pay your crew a salary. I am only one game deep, but I think these are positive changes.

Anyway, let’s get to the game report. I got off to a good start because I picked up a sweet mission called Letter of the French Marque which turned me into a French privateer. This means whenever I performed a merchant raid on any non-French nation I received a bonus three gold. This made it easy for me to consistently earn 12+ gold from merchants raids and gain glory points which naturally kept my crew in good spirits.

Meanwhile Hart had a captain who let him buy ship mods for only one gold, and he made use of that decking out his sloop into a real gun boat. He also had some decent luck with merchant raids and delivering some contraband cargo.

Shane… Well Shane’s crew hated him so much they mutinied and killed him. So he had an early reset, at which point he got a very strong pirate captain with insane stats, but he chose the merchant ships. Maybe he knew something I didn’t but unfortunately with such a setback he was unable to make anything happen.

At a critical moment I found myself slightly wounded with 40 gold on my ship floating off the shore of Old Providence. Hart spotted me and seized the opportunity to attack me and steal my gold! It wasn’t a very epic battle as I was quickly overcome and crushed by his legendary pirate sloop. Lucky for me I had a the “Ship with a History” glory card which let me new captain start the game with the broken remains of my old ship. Despite the damage, that ship did have some mods and weapon upgrades still on it which gave me a bit of a boost.

I got back on track doing merchant raids and started earning more glory points and stockpiling more money. I decided to get myself a bigger ship. This turned out to be a pretty stupid idea because I think I could have just won the game by stashing my money… I guess I was blinded by revenge as I committed myself to getting a war ship to find Hart and sink his ass. I saw that he wanted to come home and stash gold so I camped his home town waiting for him. Unfortunately he isn’t totally stupid so he didn’t go home on his turn… Passing it back to me. Lucky for me I was only 3 glory points from winning and the wind was in my favor. I could take a free move action toward my home, do a quick merchant raid to earn 12+ gold for a glory point leading me with 20+ gold to stash and I would still have enough actions to get home and stash it. It was an epic final turn but I got it done to steal the game.

  • Devil World - 0/1

    I said this was a Japan only game and I was wrong about that. It was also released in Europe, it was just America that didn’t get this game because of how scared we are of any religious iconography. Nintendo itself both developed and published this game which I find very strange for some reason… The gameplay is reminiscent of Pac Man and I don’t think it’s bad at all. You need to grab a cross to “eat” the dots. The cross only lasts for either a limited time, or a limited amount of dots I can’t tell which one. The level is over once you eat all the dots. Meanwhile ghosts are trying to kill you and the Devil moves the screen around trying to crush you on the sides. We took a democratic vote on the game and both my co-hosts gave it a 0, although I think there is nothing wrong with the game.

  • Dick Tracy - 1/1

    I have seen this game critically panned by most reviewers on youtube. I never owned or played this game as a kid and maybe if you try to “seriously” beat it it’s worse than just flirting with it. From what I saw, the gameplay looked fun and it seems to follow the movie pretty closely. Driving takes a bit of getting used to but once you get the hang out it, you can only blame yourself for failure.

  • Die Hard - 1/1

    A decent movie adaptation. You run around killing bad guys working your way up the skyscraper in a top down perspective. A bit like Guerrilla War or the countless other top down shooters on NES. The game has a unque line-of-sight mechanic which I think is pretty innovative. Shooting pop machines and drinking Coca Cola refills your health. Hilarious.

  • Dig Dug II Trouble in Paradise - 1/1

    I guess after Dug’s first adventure he decided to take a little vacation, in paradise. Trouble is, the red snorkel-wearing dudes and green dragons had the same idea. The gameplay is quite similar to the original with some optimizations. I always loved the original and I see no reason not to love this.

  • Digger T Rock - 1/1

    I said this game is probably based on an arcade game but on further inspection I was wrong. This is strictly an NES game with no sequels or prequels. The game has your young avatar named Digger searching in caverns looking for treasures. Based on my five minutes, the game looks like an open ended action adventure with awesome music. What is not to like?

  • Deja Vu - 1/1

    This is one of the rare first-person point and click adventure games on NES. I have never been a big fan of point and click games but I can see the value. Some people love them and I think those people would probably enjoy Deja Vu. Obviously it’s not possible to experience a game like this in 5 minutes, but I saw no glaring flaws so I give it a pass.

  • Demon Sword - 1/1

    It feels like playing Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on NES. The controls are very strange but once you get the hang of it you truly feel like a badass ninja who has super natural powers. It felt so much like Legend of Kage I had to look it up. Turns out both games are developed by Taito, Demon Sword is the more recent of the two.

  • Desert Commander - 1/1

    Turn based strategy game similar to Advanced Wars and Fire Emblem series. I didn’t get much out of it in my 5 minutes, but I feel like once you play one of these games you have played them all. Some people really enjoy it. The graphics were fine so I can’t complain.

  • Destination Earthstar - 0/1

    I wasted a ton of my life grinding on this game when I was a kid. I have no idea what I was thinking. The music is good, but this game is a yawn festival.

  • Destiny of an Emperor - 1/1

    It feels and plays exactly like Final Fantasy, there is nothing wrong with that. The graphics are fine and the controls are what you would expect from a game like this. Can’t play an RPG in such a short time, but from what I saw, it felt good.

  • Deathrace - 1/1

    Even though it isn’t much to look at there is something here. The graphics passable and the driving controls are pretty bad, however the novelty of running over pedestrians on an NES game can carry the concept pretty far. The competitive nature of the game with a friend is also interesting.

  • Deathbots - 0/1

    Games like this really confuse me. There is no excuse for how ugly and bad this game is. Are they really just trying to sucker kids into it with the cover art? Was that a viable strategy in the NES age? Box art bait and switch?

  • Defender II - 0/1

    There is nothing wrong with a defender port. The only problem is it’s worse than almost every other shooter on NES. Why in the world would anyone want to own this when you could have Gradius, Lifeforce, Crysis Force, Gun Nac, Paraodius, or literally any of the others?

  • Defender of the Crown - 0/1

    Feels like a board game. Board games have been done well on NES before, however I can’t say this game is an example of that. It reminds me of Castles: Siege and Conquest but only based on the setting. Looks like this game will take a LONG time to learn, and the payoff isn’t going t be there.

  • Defenders of Dynatron City - 1/1

    The dog can throw cars. If that isn’t enough, the graphics are good, the gameplay is good and the character design is hilarious and awesome. I didn’t get a full feel for this game, but after my 5 minutes I was hungry for more.