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We were playing the Days of Wonder game Pirate's Cove earlier this evening; it's a lot of fun but the rules aren't exactly watertight, and more than once I felt there was considerable ambiguity in how they should be interpreted. Here's one that I remember:

  • If a pirate ship flees or is sent packing from combat, their opponents remaining in the fight get 1 Fame point for seeing them off. At one point two of us sailed to the same island and a third player sprang the Royal Navy on us. The Royal Navy crippled one ship, which was forced to set sail for Pirate's Cove. The question: does the remaining player get a Fame point, on the grounds that they have outlasted an opponent in battle? Our group majority-voted no, because at the time both ships were fighting the Navy together, so it didn't count as seeing off an opponent. But I wasn't so sure...
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The remaining opponents get 1 Fame each.

(Quotations are from the rules (English, German))

The Scoring section is somewhat confusing in the English version:

Pirates GAIN fame from each of the following actions

  • Winning Battles (1 point per player that is defeated or flees after being hit)

The German version (note that the original game was German) translates to:

  • Winning battles (one point per player whose ship has been destroyed or flees after being hit)

However, the emphasis seems to be on the action of a ship being disabled or a ship fleeing, not in the outcome being called "winning" a battle. The Forced retreat section follows this thinking:

A crippled ship brings all remaining opponents on that island 1 point of fame.

And the German is even clearer:

All opponents remaining on the contested island receive one fame point for a destroyed ship.

The fact that the word "opponents" is plural and that the German still calls it a "contested" ("umkämpften") island both refute the fact that a battle must be completely "won" by dispatching all other opponents.

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That's what I argued on the night, but my fellow players weren't contesting any of this: they were contesting whether the other pirate ship counts as an opponent, given that (at least to start with) you're fighting the Navy together. If three players had defeated the Navy together, and then one pirate ship had fled from the ensuing inter-pirate melee, there would have been no doubt that each of the remaining two would get 1 Fame at that point. – thesunneversets Feb 15 '11 at 17:19
@thesunneversets: That's a good counter-argument. But after the Navy or legendary pirates are defeated, you must fight each other, so they're still your opponent and the island is certainly still contested. Also, thematically, it certainly would make sense for a pirate to gain fame telling the story about how he outlasted that pirate over there when taking on the Royal Navy. – Firefeather Feb 15 '11 at 18:50
@thesunneversets: Or, looking at the meaning of the word opponents another way, they're all your opponents in the game, even though they may not be in that round of battle. – Firefeather Feb 15 '11 at 18:54
I agree really. And I think you should get fame just for lasting longer against those blasted Navymen than the other lily-livered cowards did! – thesunneversets Feb 15 '11 at 19:48

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