Here are some second impressions after playing Blackbeard again last Friday, this time with 4 players.
I still think the game feels quite random, but once you get used to the rules it's a bit easier to gain a bit of control over that randomness.
The KC rules both helped and hurt. They did provide a greater chance of failure for the pirates, but they also provided an opportunity for greater wealth if they were killed. Almost half of Frank's VP came from killing one KC: 11 combat x 2 notoriety, and he retired to turn that into x2 VP for 44 VP total. That seems excessive to me. On the other hand, I think we played even fewer Warships this game, since they're so weak.
There was a lot more port attacking going on. No one grabbed anyone else's booty. There was very little motivation to go take the Buried Treasure instead of just attacking another port. The game still felt too short in turns, even though it was about the same length in time as our 3 player game.
Overall, I'd still play it again, to see whether I'd want to play it again or not.
53 minutes ago