ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,

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Game Design: Pirates!

So I have a kilobuttload (hey, if it's a metric unit, I can use prefixes) of Pirates of the Yada Yada Yada1 stuff (and Mike S. gave me even more!), and I have one little problem: I find WizKids' rules for it kinda stinky. They don't work for hard-core gamers, because there's just too much incentive to stay out of cannon range unless you have a captain. (Generally, you can move or fire, and if you move into range, your opponent gets first shot. A captain lets you move and shoot, so it's really really good to have one!)

So I'm trying to come up with A Better Pirate Ships Game that uses the very cute little ships2 while not complicating things. It's a light, fun game, and if you're looking for Serious Simulation, this is probably the wrong base to start from; try Wooden Ships and Iron Men from Avalon Hill. I've found some wind rules that look good, but violate the part about not complicating things, so I'm likely to dump them overboard.

What I'm thinking to do is a random-initiative system instead of the original around-the-table system. This means that instead of Alice moving, then Bob, then Chungli, then back to Alice, etc, each of their units is matched to a playing card, and a deck with just those cards is shuffled. Order of play in each round is thus randomized, and players have to contend with varying and uncertain initiative.

Anyone have any other ideas that could add strategy and fun without adding significant weight?

1: It's that WizKids constructible/collectible series that started with Pirates of the Spanish Main and most recently added a Pirates of Davy Jones' Locker expansion, à la the movie3.
2: They are indeed very cool constructible ships made from die-cut printed plastic stock. They're also relatively cheap. It's a good enough deal that even people who bought a few and put them together but never actually played the game don't complain about it, because hey, neat little model ships!
3: Yes, there are sea monsters, and yes, I have one. Also, rum.
Tags: games
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