Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pirates! Part One - The Beginning

The Sunday after Thanksgiving was consumed in part by football and in part by pirates! I downloaded "Flashing Steel", a set of pirate skirmish rules from Ganesha Games. We enjoy the "Song of Drums and Shakos" rules very much - so I figured what the hell, let's try these.

So, Matt and I sat down to play - but, having been drinking (what? isn't it a law that you have to be drinking while playing pirate games?) we got creative. We decided that we'd set up a table full of terrain and people, then we'd make up little goals that we would have to accomplish.

We set up a beach area, with a fledgling town at the beach. Anchored just offshore was a merchant ship. The town had a dock, two buildings and a partial stockade. Outside of the stockade was a strip of cleared land that contained a few farm plots. Beyond the cleared land was the jungle. Cutting through the jungle and into the town was a road.

OK, terrain is set up, let's populate the area with people and things. We tried to be very detailed in everything to help our goal setting. So we used a ton of items, the buildings even had some furniture. Here are some highlights of the terrain set up, there were many more details present...

  • On board the merchant ship, two prisoners were being held. Presumably they were captured pirates.
  • The coast of this area is shark-infested, so swimming to the merchant ship would be perilous.
  • Most of the merchant crew was in the town carousing with the few locals.
  • The dock was loaded with crates and barrels of all sorts, including run and powder. One of the crates even had a monkey on it eating a banana.
  • A couple of businessmen were on the dock discussing, well, business.
  • A small launch from the merchant ship was at the dock.
  • A grenadier was on guard duty on the dock.
  • A drunken seaman sat near the dock on a barrel being harassed by his frying-pan-wielding wife.
  • Farm workers in the fields.
  • Cannibal natives with a couple of prisoners ready for the cooking pot.
  • A prostitute advertising her services from the balcony.
  • The gate to the town guarded by a couple of pike-armed militiamen.
  • The stockade patrolled by a couple of regular soldiers.
  • Missionary monks off to call on the local natives.
  • A small wagon heading down the road back into town.
  • A crocodile living in a small creek.
  • The skeletal remains of a long lost pirate, somewhere in the jungle.
  • Native totems.

People on the board included the Mayor, his daughter, a night-watchman, the Captain of the Guard, the guardsmen and the militia, the Christian missionary monks, wild and docile natives, prisoners, a prostitute, various businessmen and other civilians.

Here are some images of the town and the surrounding area:

After creating the table, we needed a bit of a back story for the setup. Here is what we crafted: "Being visited by the French merchant ship 'Seraphin', the town of 'Donat' is just beginning to place itself on the map of French settlements. Befriending the nearby natives with trinkets, despite their apparent cannibalistic tendency, the town has begun to build. Although small, the Mayor and his people have faith in the stockade and the small military establishment, to keep them safe enough for now."

Then we looked at all we did and silently began to write out the goals. The idea was that each of us would take on a minimum of three goals, but could take as many as desired. The goals would be randomly determined and kept secret from the other player.

So we made a list of 78 goals! I made 33 goals and Matt 45, wow! We could have done more for sure, but, hey, we wanted to play! The goals vary from ridiculous to ridiculously simple to multifaceted goals.

The next post will detail all of the goals!


  1. Simply marvelous table!

    If I may, what about labeling your posts (it can be done afterwards using the 'edit posts' utility) -your blog will hopefully grow to library size, it would make browsing your archives far easier then.

    Looking eagerly forward to enjoy the next instalment!


  2. Jean-Louis, thanks for the word on the table. It was a lot of fun to set up and get creative with.

    I'll try to bang out the next post at lunchtime (Denver, CO, USA) today.

    I usually do label my posts...but...hey...I missed this one. Thanks for letting me know, I have updated it with some labels!

    PS - I love flags, and your avatar picture is really cool.

    - Tony