EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Privateer's War

Here are the rules and set up for the game I've put together for the  Arts of the Sailor Board and Card Games event at the Maritime museum on June 28.

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PRIVATEER'S WAR


This is a simple, homemade, historical miniature board game by Ross Macfarlane. (gameofmonth.blogspot.ca). It is loosely based on a number of historical privateer raids on the coast of Nova Scotia during the American Revolution but is not an attempt to recreate any particular raid on any particular location.

1. The Gameboard & Setup. The game board is marked off into a number of areas. Those painted blue are ocean, the rest are land. Areas which share a border are adjacent. Those which only touch at a corner are not adjacent. There are 5 borders between land and sea areas which are marked as beaches. These are the only areas where figures on board ship may come ashore or where figures on land may embark onto a waiting ship. Three brown areas are marked as town areas containing loot. One area is marked as the blockhouse and battery area.

The game begins with 2 Loyalists in each marked town area and 2 in the blockhouse area, 1 civilian in each of the 5 town areas, marked or unmarked. The Privateers begin with 2 ships each carrying 10 Privateers. The Privateer may place 1 ship in each of 2 sea areas adjacent to the Eastern edge of the game board.

2. Groups. A group is any number of figures in an area who are going to do the same thing. A player may decide at the start of each turn how many groups to form out of his figures in an area. Civilians must always be a separate group.

2. Sequence of play. The players take turns beginning with the Privateer player. At the start of his turn a player rolls an Activation Die with the result indicating how many groups of figures he may activate that turn. He may roll the dice before deciding how to split his force into groups for that turn. An activated group may move OR shoot OR plunder. Groups which have not been activated may not move or shoot or plunder. Civilians may not shoot or fight in melee. Each group must complete its movement or shooting and melee before the next group is activated. Once the Privateer has finished with all of the groups that he is activating, the Loyalist player takes his turn and repeats the same sequence.

3. Movement.  A group which is activated may move into an adjacent area. Ships may only enter sea areas. A ship must have at least 2 crew figures to move. Figures may only enter land areas or embark on a ship. To disembark from or embark onto a ship, both the ship and the figures must be activated. The ship must begin adjacent to a beach and the figures must disembark into or embark from that area.   Groups may freely move off the board but may not return.
A group which moves into an area containing enemy is making an attack and must immediately resolve melee.

4. Shooting.  A group which is activated may shoot at an enemy in an adjacent area. Roll 1 die per figure with a score of 5 or 6 forcing 1 enemy figure to retreat 1 area. Shooting against the Blockhouse area has no effect. One or more retreat results against a ship will force it to retreat 1 area.

5. Melee. When a player moves into an area containing enemy he pairs his figures up with enemy figures. If one side has more figures then they may double up in as many fights as he can but no more than 2 men can fight each enemy. For each pair of opposing figures roll 1 die per figure and compare the scores. If fighting 2 on 1 the player with 2 figures rolls 1 die per figure then chooses which to use. The Royal Highland Emigrants contained many veteran soldiers and may add +1 to their dice. If one side's die roll is twice the enemy's rolls then 1 enemy figure is removed. If it is higher but not double then 1 enemy figure retreats 1 area unless defending the blockhouse. Once all the pairs have resolved combat if one side lost more combats (figures removed or retreated) then they must retreat, otherwise if there are any defenders left then all remaining attackers must retreat to where they came from.

6. Retreats. When a figure is forced to retreat the owning player must move it to an adjacent area which does not contain any enemy. A figure may not retreat onto a sea area unless it is retreating from a beach onto a friendly ship. It may retreat off the map but may not return. In the case of a melee, attackers must retreat to the area they came from while defenders may not retreat to the area the attackers came from. If a figure is unable to retreat then it will surrender.

5. Plundering. If a group of privateers which is in one of the three marked town areas is activated and NO Loyalist soldiers are in any adjacent area then the privateers may plunder the area. Place 1 loot marker. A maximum of 2 loot markers may be accumulated from each area.  There are also 5 civilians. If a civilian is in an area with a Privateer at the end of a turn they will be taken prisoner and held for ransom (1 loot marker). The Loyalist must hand this over. Plunder must be embarked on board ship to count for victory points. It takes 1 privateer to move 1 loot marker or escort 1 prisoner.

6. The Blockhouse. One area is marked as a blockhouse and battery. No privateer ship may move adjacent to the blockhouse if it contains at least 1 Loyalist soldier and the battery has not been spiked. Spiking the gun may be done by a privateer who is in the area and has been activated when there is no Loyalist figure in an adjacent area. Loyalists defending the blockhouse do not need to retreat from shooting or melee.

7. Reinforcements. There are 2 groups of reinforcements for the Loyalists. If the Loyalist rolls a 6 they may enter 1 of of these groups with 4 militia entering from the South or 4 Highlanders entering from the North by land or the East by boat. Reinforcements may not enter the board in an area occupied by privateers. If the Highlanders capture a privateer sloop they will sail off table with their prize.

8. Winning and Losing. The Privateers get 1 point for each Loot marker that they get on board ship. Losing a ship costs them 2 loot markers. If they lose over 1/2 of their original figures they must give up and retreat with what they have. If the Privateers have a final total of 4 or more then they have won, a score of 1,2 or 3 is a tie and less is a Loyalist win.  


20 comments:

  1. Pictures show the board/set up/figures to be excellent and visually attractive/stimulating for visitors to the museum. Rules promise much and are accessible ,in my opinion . to non gamers. Will they be able to take home a printed copy of the rules with them after playing or if they are just interested?
    I wondered if the shop had any pirate figures/ boats the public could be pointed towards to try it out again when they got home...

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    1. I don't think the museum sells any figures. I haven't decided about hand outs,the rules are so tightly tied to the scenario that I'm not sure how handy they'd be without instructions for the whole thing. I might just provide put the blog address on the QRS.

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  2. Like it ! - cute looking set up , it should give an interesting game !

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    1. I hope so. So far I've had a win for each side plus a draw.

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  3. This looks like it should attract a lot of interest, and I look forward to reading about how it works with the general public. I suspect that the use of area movement and simple rules may well 'convert' some youngsters (and some older people) into figure wargamers.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Looks great, and the rules seem at just the right level for a project of this nature. I also look forward to seeing how it goes when the scenario meets the public!

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    1. It was hard getting them to the right level but I hope its there. 2 weeks before it goes public but should get some gamer testing tomorrow.

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  5. Ross,

    How big is the board you used? I'm guessing 3' by 4', but I'm really bad at judging this sort of thing. What scale of figures did you use? I would think 40m or 54mm figures would be perfect.

    Best regards,

    Chris

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    1. Actually its only card table sized 30" x 30". Bigger would have made it easier to go conventional but I think less interesting and appropriate. The figures are indeed 40mm .

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  6. Oops, one more question: can the un do anything, or is it mainly ornamental?

    Chris again

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    1. I started off planning on rules for the un in the battery to be able to fire at privateer ships and for the guns on board the ships to fire but it just encouraged inappropriate behaviour so I settled for a rule saying that if the battery is occupied and not spiked then no privateer ship may enter the harbour. So the privateers must either take the battery or lug their loot the long way around back to the ships.

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  7. Looks great, love the coastal gun in the last pic, very impressive!

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    1. Thank you Phil. The gun is a cheap tourist souvenir, very rugged and BIG!

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  8. You really hit a home run with this set of rules. They are simple, can get everyone involved who passes by, and is not overtly bloody or filled with evil doers. Well done, sir, well done.
    Jerry

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    1. Thanks Jerry. You have identified the goals but we'll see if the public likes the pudding.

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  9. Ross, this looks to be an entertaining, simple game ideally suited to participation at a show, but also eminently suitable for playing at home with friends and family. It would be easy to repackage it to portray English 'Sea-dogs' raiding a Spanish colony, or the 'Golden Age' of piracy.

    Just one query: in Section 1 (Gameboard & Setup) you refer to 5 town areas, whereas in Section 5 (Plundering) you mention 'three marked town areas'. Is this a mistake - or do only 3 areas of the 5 contain plunder?

    In Section 4 (shooting) I presume you must mean 'may shoot at an enemy in an adjacent area'.

    I look forward to reading how the game played out. Good luck with it!

    Arthur

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    1. I hadn't thought about adapting it to other settings but you are right. Some settings might need to be a bit bloodier....

      Yes, there are 5 town areas but only the warehouses and rich merchant's homes are worth plundering. On a practical level, initially there were going to be just 3 larger buildings but it didn't look right so it became the town you see, spreading out over 5 areas but there is neither enough time nor enough figures to plunder 5 areas. The rationale holds true though, not much worth plundering in the fishermen's houses.

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    2. Oops I wasn't finished. The gameboard does have a different color for the plunderable town areas.

      Thanks for pointing out the pesky typo and for the comment as a whole.

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  10. I am sure this will be highly successful. The rules seem very simple and the area movement idea is clever. I'm looking forward to the report and wish you every success with it.

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