The Best Parts of Board Gaming

When it comes to being a pirate, less is more.  Don’t ask me why. 

This game has been long in the making.  We started on it 2 years before Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales, came out.  It was supposed to be ready for release with that movie!  Ha, ha ha. 

We made about 10 different pirate games that all really sucked.  We wanted a game on this subject but we won’t publish it if we don’t like it.  There are already too many crappy games that just get cranked out there because they know people will buy them.  We want to do games we are really proud of.  Games that WE like playing. We almost gave up.   After many attempts, we finally stumbled onto the right combination of secret ingredients. 

Mike asked about the lack of detail in the game.  Is it too generic?  Usually you see rules for loading different types of shot.  Different qualities of guns and crew.  Some of them have special abilities and such.  The ships could have more detail too.  What about a ship’s log where you can track the status of various kinds of damage and the little differences between each ship?

Yeah, we started with all that stuff.  Just like all the other games have.  We experimented with 10 different ways of doing all that.  In the end, we cut it all out.  Why?  Because it ruined the game.  I know! 

Don’t ask me to explain it.  I’m not sure I completely understand it myself.  I always say that the best test of a game or any particular rule is to just throw it on the table and play it.  Often rules sound great.  I get some brilliant new idea.  The theory behind it sounds fantastic.  True, true, true…   but it just doesn’t work.  I don’t know why.

All those chrome rules sound fun.  On the table, they were just boring.  What did they add to the game?  Lots more time required to play it.  Lots of work for the players to do.  Lots of pages added to the rulebook, that you have to read, learn, teach and remember.  Work, work, work. Not fun. What we discovered was that the more of that we cut, the better the game got! 

Who cares what kind of shot that was?  What’s our damage?  Can we fix it?  How long before it’s operational again?  How bad did we hit the enemy?  What are they going to pull next?  How about we just drift here for a turn and make it look like we are in serious trouble.  When they circle back around, we’ll take off and blast em!!!  Yes!

That’s the fun part.  Who cares about all the details?  That’s what we have crew for, right?  Let them sort it all that out. For crying out loud, we’re the Captain!  OUR job is to outsmart that other wily seadog. Oh, they’re going down.

Of all the pirate games we made, this was the best.  It is actually fun.  It’s intense.  It feels real.  It puts you in the Captain’s chair.  A fantastic story narrative.  To me, those are the best parts of board gaming.

It’s more than good enough for us to publish.  It is truly epic. 

2 thoughts on “The Best Parts of Board Gaming”

    • Yes. It is a fantastic system for moving and fighting with ships in the Age of Sail. Right now, it doesn’t include anything beyond that for like a story or campaign.

      So comparing it to D&D, it would be like a really fun and intense system for moving and fighting monsters with magic for a fantasy game; but there is no system or structure to run a full campaign or adventure. A good DM could easily throw all that together though, right?

      One of our play test groups already started doing that. They started creating islands. So you can take your crew ashore. Bury your loot. Go to a port. Refit or upgrade your ship. Hire more Crew, etc. then head back out to sea. It would be a good engine to build an adventure like that around it.

      We do have plans and rules for expansion maps that include islands, ports, reefs, shallows, forts, etc. I suspect we’ll start seeing prepared scenarios and campaigns later.

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