When I stumbled upon M&M, I was looking for an epic adventure game that would allow me to take on the role of a pirate, obtaining a ship (or two), decking out the ship with weapons and equipment, and exploring the seas and islands looking for booty whilst avoiding any..."Imperial entanglements." I was looking for something that was reminiscent of the popular Assassin's Creed pirate games, and I found it most closely in M&M.
In this game, which can last 3 or 4 hours, players begin as merchants, buying and selling goods in the Caribbean. Through a turn of fate, however, or even player choice, players can battle NPC merchant ships and naval vessels, plundering them and earning nice, fat bounties on their heads. Defeating pirate vessels, however, can remove those hateful bounties, or you can decide to just become a marauding pirate yourself and grab as much gold as you can.
Players will win by ending the game with the most glory points. Glory can be earned in many ways, such as winning naval battles, completing special mission cards, trading large amounts of in-demand goods at port, obtaining larger ships, and stashing large amounts of gold at your home port for surprise, end-game bonus glory points.
M&M is a meaty game with plenty of theme and strategy to chew on for several hours of adventure on the high seas. As in any thick strategy game, it may take a few plays to develop strategies and try "merchanting" and "marauding" to see which approach you like best. However, if a pirate theme interests you, and you enjoy meaty strategy games with a variety of paths to victory, Merchants & Marauders would certainly be worth you time to check it out.