Once either your ship or the enemy ship has been reduced to below 50% health, either ship can then be boarded at which point deck side combat ensues. Depending on whose ship reduces below 50% first will determine who attacks first in Deck Side combat. If the enemy boards you, they go first.
If you board the enemy, you go first. Deck side combat plays very similarly to land combat in which there is a planning phase, an execution phase and a victory phase. As stated in the “Broadside Combat” section, if there are any previous damage tokens that have not been dispersed before deck side combat begins, those tokens will become obstacles on the battle board.
Should you defeat your enemy in deck side combat you will have the opportunity to run around and collect the spoils of war…treasure! Remember, if you decide to group with other players, don’t worry—everyone receives an equal share of the treasure no matter who opens the treasure chest.
Should you lose to your enemy in deck side combat, your ship will sink and you will be returned to the last visited life fountain. Your ship will be available once at the docks if it is unbottled.