Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Aaar me hearties!!

Pirates CSG &  simple Campaign rules

I recently felt the urge to dig out my Pirates Constructible Strategy Game, a currently out of production game formerly made by Whizkids. For those who haven't played this game, its a little cracker, quick, cheap, simple and easily played in an hour or two at most. Packs can still be picked up here and there and single ships are still available on ebay and other places, I'd recommend buying a couple of packs to see if you like it, followed by cherry picking single ships (a full list of which is available over at Miniature Trading where there is still a fairly active forum on the game) and its worth looking at US webstores as they tend to be cheaper even factoring in the postage.

For those who don't know, each ship type is rated by then Number of Masts, Hold Space and Speed. Masts act as damage, in that they are removed by successful hits, they also act as your firing points with each mast having a die printed on it showing the number required to hit and the range indicated by a red or white die red being long range short is white. Most ships also have a unique ability and some have a Keyword which provide it with certain special rules. The basic aim of the game is collect more gold coins from the islands scattered around the table than your opponent and return them to your Home Island.

The basic game can be added to with more varied terrain i.e whirlpools, Sargasso sea, mysterious islands; crew which take up cargo space but add abilities to the ship, such as a Helmsman who increases basic speed, Cannoneer who grants a canon shot re-roll, and various other specialists.

There are a number of ships types and I think I have an example of most if not all:

Single Mast ships, and Turtle ships

The single mast ships are useful for exploring far flung islands and filling out points in your fleet list, Turtle ships are tougher than they look having armour plates which need to be removed before the mast.

Two Mast ships

One the more bog standard ships in the game, still quite useful in a number of roles, depending on their unique ability.

Three mast ships with bowsprit
These again are fairly standard and make up the bulk of fleets.
Three mast ships without bowsprit
As above just different aesthetics.

Native canoes

Useful en-masse and for harassment purposes, other than that, a novelty in my opinion.

Sea Monsters 
Good for a bit of fun and some are quite powerful.

Their Keyword allows them two shots per mast, and the oars mean that even when dis-masted they can still move.

Mercenary Submarines
All but invulnerable if your opponent doesn't bring the right ships to the table (certain ships special ability is that they can fire at submersibles)
Two Mast Junks

Three Mast Junks

Ten and Six Mast Junks

A Fleet of Junks
Junks have better arcs of fire as their masts do not block their own line of sight - unlike all other ships, plus these are the only ships to come in 6 and 10 mast varieties.

Single & Double Catamarans
These have a saving throw whilst their outriggers are intact, making them more difficult to take out than their 2/3masts would indicate.

Can be towed or left in place, useful and cheap, each having 4 cannons, but they cant take much damage.

Icebreakers and a Windjammer
Icebreakers are good if you are using Icebergs amongst your terrain, Windjammers are more maneuverable than most ships.

A Turbine, Bombardier and Hoist
Turbines are hard to stop, whilst Bombardiers have a very good fore cannon which can taken as a flame cannon, Hoists are able to transfer crew/treasure, and also steal treasure from opponents.

2 Scorpians and a Switchblade
Awesome when it comes to ramming, the Switchblade in particularly can do a lot of damage to a number of ships at once.

Two-Mast Schooners

Three-Mast Schooners

Three-Mast Schooners (alternate design)

Four-Mast Schooners
Schooners are better at turning than most ships, and due to the layout of their masts can often bring more shots to bear than regular ships.

Two-Mast Galley's

Three Mast Galley's

A Four Mast Galley alongside a Single Mast Galley

A Fleet of Galley's
Galley's can't be pinned by ramming and due to the oars are able to keep moving even when dis-masted.

Can be constructed on islands during game play, some have five cannons which make them quite formidable to smaller ships.

Four Mast Ships
Having four masts and thus four shots, these tend to be the main gunships in your fleet.

Five Mast Ships

The big boys, and the pride of your fleet, though due to cost you are unlikely to field more than one or two.

The Factions:

The Mercenaries
I don't have many of these, useful for their subs.

The Jade Rebellion
A fictional Chinese faction, if Junks are your thing these are the faction to choose.

The Cursed
A supernatural faction, and one of the more powerful factions, with a wide variety of ships to choose from.

The Vikings
For the Longship aficionado's.

A good selection of ships available for this faction, all-rounders.

The Barbary Corsairs
Galleys galore for this North African faction

The French
Plenty of decent four mast ships available for this well balanced faction.

The Spanish
Tend to better at gold running over fighting.

The Pirates
A vast selection for this faction including almost every type of ship, with some amazing and not so amazing ships in there.

The British
A fighting faction, and good at it too.
I wrote up some very simple campaign rules as at one stage we played this game quite a lot, even got the Mrs involved, so I thought I'd put them here for those who might be interested:

Aaaar Me Hearties!

1. Before the Game

Each player starts the campaign with 100 points of ships/crew/events/equipment, preferably all from the same Faction, although more than one Faction can be selected if desired. Any unused points are converted to gold on a one for one basis and are noted in the Player’s “Fleet Treasury.”

2. During the Game

Games are played normally, however instead of all players bringing the same amount of points to each game; each player can bring up-to 100 points but must field a minimum of 30 points if possible.

During a game, the only addition to the rules is that, Ships can now sail off the edge of the table, if they do so; then any Gold they are carrying is halved rounding down and added to the Fleet’s Treasury, the Ship survives the battle without any further penalties.

3. At the End of Game

At the end of each game, all Gold on your home island and/or carried onboard a Ship is added to your Fleet Treasury.

Each of your Ships at the end of the game that are still capable of movement are permitted to Tow 1 of your own derelict’s off the table (the owning player chooses in which order his/her derelicts are Towed)   – this is a free action and does not require you to actually move the Ships involved, simply remove a derelict for each of your still moving Ships.

If you do not have sufficient Ships to remove all your derelicts, then the remaining derelicts are left behind. I f you have more Ships capable of moving than derelicts and your opponent is unable to Tow all his/her derelicts from the table then you are permitted to Tow enemy Ships – (it is important to note that you must have Towed all of your own derelicts first, before you start towing enemy derelicts and that your opponent is unable to Tow them him/herself). Enemy derelicts that are Towed from the table become Captured (see below).

If at the end of a game, only one player has moveable Ships on the table, they are permitted to gather all the remaining Gold on Wild Islands and can automatically Tow all remaining derelicts (including enemies) without needing to have sufficient moveable Ships to Tow each one. Any derelicts left on the table at the end of the game after all players have Towed as many ships as possible are lost

4. After the Game

Note on your Fleet Roster any Ship that was sunk and any named crew that was killed, these can not be selected again during the course of the campaign.
Any Gold in your Fleet Treasury can be spent on new Ships, Crew/Named Crew, Equipment and Events.

Ships that were derelict but were Towed from the table and Ships that have had masts removed are all repaired in time for the next game.
Captured Ships now become part of the Faction that captured them, and can be added to the Fleet Roster and used in subsequent games. Named Crew that have been captured can be rescued if the original owning player pays twice the value in gold of the original Points cost.

Hope these are of use to someone, let me know if you use them and what you think.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! There are SO many custom rulesets for this game, but I'll add this one to the list! https://pirateswithben.com/game-ideas/

    Feel free to join the forum at my fansite! https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/

    Love the pictures.
    Have fun,