Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another Pirate Game at Dave's!

On Saturday, Jan. 8, my son Lucas and I headed over to Dave's for a session of pirate gaming. Dace had cooked up another interesting and flavorful scenario.

This time, the marauding band of pirates wake from their alcohol-induced slumber in a tavern deep in the British town, far from their boats, and have the unenviable task of hauling their ill-gotten gains back to their ships before being stopped by arriving British reinforcements or bribed local militia deciding to go loyal again!

The game was played on Dave's huge gaming table, filled as usual with tons of awesome terrain. The one difference is that he was in the middle of playing a Napoleonic battle on the same table! So he covered the blocks of Napoleonic troops with cotton batting, and we played that those were banks of smoke rising from buildings that the pirates had torched during their pillagin' and lootin'.

The pirates began the game in a tavern, groggy from too much rum and ale. They could choose to use wagons to carry loot overland, or canoes to go down the river.

At the other end of the river, their ships await - ready to sail off as soon as the loot is loaded.

Oh oh! The first hurdle - one of the militia officers stops the pirates, and demand that they go back to the cemetery behind the tavern to collect that treasure. They'd need all of it to bribe the militiamen, so they decide to go back.

Meanwhile, closer to shore, the arriving British troops assault some of the turncoat militia in a small fort.

After that they advance on the main fortifications, defended by the bulk of the militia.

The pirates, meanwhile, begin their journey, deciding to hedge their bets by taking both the wagons and the canoes.

The militiamen took up positions in a cornfield and tried to hold off the advancing Brits.

After taking the small fort, the main British column continues their advance on the castle. The first unit to try the advance was shattered by the defenders fire, but succeeding waves of disciplined troops were able to take the walls.

The game was quite interesting, and took place on two completely separate fronts. On the one hand, the main pirate party was making good time down the river. The wagons went in a different direction as those pirates joined some militia trying to break through the British lines.

The canoes of the pirates arrive at the last obstacle, and will have to transfer the treasure from the boats to the mules for the last leg of the journey. They are accompanied by the militia officer, who decided to throw his lot in with the pirates rather than face British justice for accepting bribes.

At that moment, a British frigate decided to go a'piratin'.

At that point we ran out of time, with the pirates on one side of the table close to reaching their objective, while the other group found themselves in a stalemate against stronger and more disciplined British troops.

All in all, it was a great game, and Lucas and I had lots of fun. This was his first effort at a game of this type and scale. I think he did great, although I could tell he was getting a bit bored towards the end. By that time, though, we'd been playing for four hours, so I can't blame him. For being nine years old he was awesome!

I have a couple of observations - the biggest one being that the board was a bit too large for a small-scale game. It took too many turns for the pirates to come to grips with the militia on the one side, and make their way down the river on the other. Also, we're caught in a sort of middle ground between a full-blown large scale game, and a skirmish game. I think we're using too many figures for a quick and dirty pirate game. But not enough to justify using large-scale horse-and-musket rules. Some things to think about before the next gaming session...

'Til next time.
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