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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:

  • One of our pirates was fortunate enough to draw a Parrot as his starting card. Within the first couple of turns, though, our ships came into conflict. Being a hater of birds, I opened fire on his parrot and shot it clean off the mizzenmast instead of concentrating on sinking the shap. Losing one's parrot is obviously worth a humiliating -2 Fame. But if you had 0 Fame when you lost it, do you go to -2 or stay at 0? The scoring track is circular so it was easy enough to represent a negative score, but was this correct?
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While I don't know that game, a good general rule is "if you can go negative, do it". Not doing so is more likely to be inbalanced/unfair than doing so. There may be exceptions of course. – o0'. Feb 12 '11 at 11:43
I was confused, for a while, by the title case in your question title. I thought you were referring to something properly called Parrot Perdition, instead of just a term you created to describe your situation. Perhaps you could rephrase your question title like so: "In Pirate's Cove, what if I'm supposed to lose more fame points than I have?". – Firefeather Feb 22 '11 at 19:49
@Firefeather: Yeah, sorry, I just couldn't stop adding words that started with P to my title! – thesunneversets Feb 22 '11 at 20:29
Heh, yeah, it is quite alliterative, isn't it? :D – Firefeather Feb 22 '11 at 21:07
up vote 0 down vote accepted

There is, unfortunately, no official ruling. You can attempt to get one by contacting Days of Wonder directly: Question Submission Form. However, as it's a popular question and no answer has appeared for some time, I wouldn't hold my breath.

As with any rules dispute, I highly suggest the group agree on a strategy for resolution beforehand (for all games). My group usually does not like to halt the action, so we take a quick vote, go with the majority (or flip a coin on a tie), and then look it up later.

As for my personal opinion, Pirates Cove makes no distinction between Fame and Notoriety, so when even bad press is good press, the concept of being 'less than a nobody' doesn't make much sense. All the pirates start out as absolute nobodies, and there's no where else to go but up.

A better defense than theme is that many games which take into account the possibility of going negative will often give an in-game way of tracking that, such as a -1 token, card (e.g. dominion's curse cards), or to start the players out with some points to lose. Since this game did none of those and there are not explicit negative numbers on the fame track, the evidence points towards no negative fame.

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