So here's where my question stems from: In the Pirate Islands scenario, each player starts with 3 settlements on the Eastern Island. A player only wins if:
a) he has captured the Pirate fortress of his color, AND b) reaches 10 victory points
There are no special victory points in this scenario besides basic expansion (no Longest Road, no Largest Army, and no VP cards from the Development stack since they are used as Knight cards)
Based on the confined locations of the map, it would appear that if you never are able to expand beyond your initial three placement on the eastern island, it will be impossible for you to win. Thus, the game could be over for someone before it even begins.
For example, in the attached image which simplifies the situation, let's say I'm White. I have been boxed in on the Eastern Island. I have built my maximum 4 Cities, as well as 1 settlement. These 5 locations are the only eligible spots for me to build. There is no way to get extra victory points, thus I will forever be stuck at 9 VP.
Our solution when we've played is that a player is allowed to build roads on the Pirate Fortress island to expand to an additional settlement (marked by the pink outlined question marks on the map)
According to the rules...
A player is only allowed to build ONE shipping route, directly between his initial coastal settlement, and the corresponding pirate fortress. Note that it only says the shipping route may not be extended beyond the Pirate Fortress, not trade route. It doesn't say anything about building roads on the Pirate Fortress island.
In the second screenshot, it could be interpreted that the rules about additional settlements are only referring to the midway pirate island (i.e. I can't build another settlement on the "8 ore" tile)
Am I missing something? Has anyone else encountered this issue?
If you are not allowed to build additional settlements beyond the Pirate Fortress, I would call this scenario flawed. Any scenario where a player can lose before the first roll of the dice needs to be fixed, in my opinion.