So basically what I have is this idea for a board game:
The object of the game is to finish with the most hidden hidden "Booty" to go down as history's most prolific pirate, famous for their lost fortunes. The game takes place on a large-ish empty blue expanse of a board with hex spaces that can hold either the players' ships or an island. The islands will be their own tiles so they can be placed semi-randomly amongst the "open sea". One edge of the board will have a larger harbor town from which all players start. The flavor here is the area has just been colonized and the ambitious and greedy people are out to take (hopefully more than) their fair share of the new fronteir.
The main mechanics focus on maps and hiding/finding treasure. There is a combat mechanic between ships as well, which I will be developing further and commenting on as I fine tune it. Players ultimately are exploring the map looking for opponents treasure, tradable goods, and hiding spots for their booty (which generates win-condition points). Each island tile starts face down. Once a player reaches it, the recieve the map for it and may being exploring/utilizing that island. They keep notes on their own maps as to where they will be hiding their trasure (think treasure maps with big red X's) if they decide to hide their booty there. YOUR TREASURE MAPS CAN BE STOLEN. Other options are to search for ancient treasures or tradable goods (like spices, sugar... y'know, stuff to make good old fashioned pirates rum!) These items can be used to generate more Booty.
Booty can be used two ways, either to upgrade your ship and buy supplies, or to bury it on an island to gain the points that ultimately lead to your win condition. The tradeoff here is you either spend on your ship/crew upkeep, or you spend on trying to win the game. I personally like games with strategic tradeoffs like this.
The ships themselves will be upgradable and will have a certain amount of cargo room for Booty and Goods. There will also be a crew size factor that will play a role in how well your ship fares in combat as well as how efficiently you can explore, dig for, and bury your treasure. I suspect I will settle on some dice-based combat for these features. Your ship will also have its own map for the "below decks", so you can store your goods, hide your treasure maps, and possible even install booby traps in the likely event your ship gets boarded and explored during combat.
That is about what I have for now. I like the flavor of this concept, and I would like to gear it towards beinf fast-paced and high-action rather than a slow crawl, laden with too much upgrading and game upkeep. I do like in depth games, but I feel a lot of "hard core" board games take it a bit too far, and the game gets mired in details rather than actual game play. I also like the factor of maps and hidden treasure, putting a prime focus on making sure your goods are well hidden, making sure you diversify and spend your time wisely between exploring, gathering goods to fund your swashbuckling, and making sure your opponents don't get too far ahead in any of those departments via combat and general espionage and sabotage, for which there will likely be cards that can be played.
There will also likely be "captain" roles you can take on, so your particular crew has a special advantage/ability that can be used. For example, if you happened to be Captain Ferdinand Megellan, your ships might move faster to aid in exploration.
And that about sums up what I have for it now. I'd love to see this game developed though, and your feedback is very much appreciated!