yarrr ... Pirates ...

I've been woefully remiss in updating this blog, I know. Unlike fatgoblin, I haven't found that much time to paint. But I have been doing other things ...

... namely ... PIRATES! (yarr...)

I'm talking about the , of course.

pirate ship

I must admit to being rather taken by this game (yes, merchandising and all), which comes in a packs which, for 6 of our dollars here, gets you 2 plasticard assemble-it-yourself ships, some treasure, and a little cardboard island (the lovely vessel you see above is the pirate ship Sea Nymph). I must confess there's a delightful joy and anticipation in opening new packs, hoping for a new ship, preferably something rare. (Omigod, I have so fallen for this collectible card game thing ...)

To try and redeem myself, I'm going to bend this whole thing back towards real wargaming. The rules for the 2 player game revolve more around acquiring treasure than sinking the enemy fleet, but I've been thinking that with a few modifications, a nice little age of sail fleet game can be had. Here's my suggested House Rules to turn the Pirates game into a true wargame (i.e. none of that getting treasure stuff, just good old sinking the enemy).

1. All the current rules of apply (see them here, in pdf, for all 3 pirates games - that's Pirates of the Spanish Main, Pirates of the Crimson Coast, and Pirates of the Revolution)

2. Games now come with no point limit - 30, 40, 50 points per player, as much as you can field.

3. Terrain set-up is as per the normal rules, except no treasure is placed on the islands.

4. Wind direction is now a factor in the game: At the beginning of the game, roll 1d6 to choose the wind direction: 1=from the north, 2=from the east, 3=from the south, 4=from the west, 5 or 6= roll again. At the beginning of every turn, before any movement, firing or actions, roll 1d6: 1=shift wind clockwise 1 cardinal direction (e.g. a northerly wind becomes an easterly) 2=shift wind clockwise 1 cardinal direction, all other numbers mean no change in wind direction. At the start of the game, randomly determine who gets to be Player A and Player B (see below).

5. Wind direction determines the order in which ships in each player's fleet move. Ships facing into the wind (within a 180ยบ arc of the wind) move first. Movement order goes like this:

  • Player A's wind-facing ships move and shoot
  • Player B's wind-facing ships move and shoot
  • Player B's remaining ships move and shoot
  • Player A's remaining ships move and shoot

The next turn, the other is reversed - i.e.

  • Player B's wind-facing ... etc

6. All actions for a ship are resolved before moving on to the next one (i.e. finish moving, shooting, ramming, boarding etc before the next ship.

[the reason for this mechanic is two-fold: firstly, to introduce wind into the game as a tactical factor, for realism; secondly to take into account the fact that movement order is extremely important in Pirates. Given that most ships can only either move or shoot in a turn, the order in which ships move often determines who gets to shoot first, which in this game can mean your ship gets sunk before it can fire a shot. A player who gets the wind gauge, getting all his ships facing off the wind, could force his opponent to move some ships into range, and then use his action to fire first instead of moving.]

7. Forts and derelict ships (even those which have oarsmen) always act as if they were ships facing into the wind.

That's about it really. I'm going to try and get some real painting done soon, perhaps over the holiday weekend, but in the meantime plasticard ships are about all I can manage for the time being. In the spirit of the whole pirates thing though, here's a link to Talk Like A Pirate Day website, so come 19th Sep, you too can go ... yarrr!


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