After watching some videos on Beasts of War about the Black Scorpion rule set Cutlass, I purchased it. The rules seem very interesting. They are a set of skirmish-level rules for fantasy pirate games with Orcs and Humans and all that...
Hold up! I like Orcs - but in my world they have no more a welcome in Pirate games as they do in Napoleonic games. I have absolutely zero need for Elvish swashbucklers and the like. To me, ridiculous. To others, fine - I bear you all no ill will.
So why the hell did I buy them? For the mechanics of the game. I think they may be good for other skirmish games - yes, pirates (no Dwarves) or cowboys or whatever. Let me describe the mechanics here and you players of any of the Piquet family of games will find an interesting thread of commonality: polyhedral dice.
First of all, this is a game played with two sides. Each side rolls a die to determine the winner of initiative. The high roll acts on that number of actions, when completed or the initiative is stolen by the opponent, the opponent acts on their number of actions. Yes, initiative can be stolen! Certain actions make it possible for the "inactive" player to become active - yes, the initiative can swap several times during a turn. In my mind, something like this is a good mechanic for skirmish games where the action can be fast and furious. The use of the actions is has more detail too, more in a later post perhaps.
A miniature pirate has a number of statistics that describe him (or her). But, instead of a numerical value for each the miniature has a polyhedral die value for each. So, instead of a Dexterity of "4", a character may have a Dexterity of "D6". Certain conditions modify die sizes up and down from D4 to D20 - some earn a "bonus die" where you roll 2 dice and select the highest value.
Combat and some actions are resolved by opposing polyhedral die rolls where the margin of victory determines the outcome...maybe a miss to maybe a critical hit.
I have not yet had a chance to look at the campaign section, but there is one. From the brief scan, it looks somewhat similar to the campaign section of Legends of the High Seas (an awesomely fun game, BTW): skills, permanent injuries, etc.
So, really looking forward to giving these a go very soon!!!!!!
Oh, in the interest of full disclosure - and yes, this may be contradictory - while I don't want any Orcish pirates, I am not against a skeletal or ghostly pirate here and there in the right scenario!