Friday, August 19, 2011

Black Flags and Merchantmen - Playtest English Vs Pirates

Commence the fighting lads! We played a marvelous game of Black Flags and Merchantmen on Wednesday 8/17/11 this week. The Jacksonville Garrison folks were there to support my new endeavor and they were more than happy to aid in rolling dice, moving ships and shooting each other (in the game of course)! 

Even though I am planning to have this game span the gambit of pirate activity, I have decided to work up the main rules using one period first before moving to others. The rules will have a core mechanic and plugins that will be available depending on the genre you wish to play. For my main period I am using Golden Age of Pirates.

To that end each person was given 100 gold to spend on ship, crew, cannon and weapons with the exception of John Murk who played the English settlement complete with heavy cannon and a sloop of his own.

Almost everyone picked a sloop for their maneuverability, speed and cost but a few picked schooners and one enterprising fellow selected a brig. I cannot remember which ship everyone chose but the game was a lot of fun although we only played for two hours because people had to leave.

Pirates: Joey Caso, Joe Caso, Edgar Pabon, Brent Rogers, Rick Weaver
English: John Murk
Pirates Win!

The first and second turn had people attempting to maneuver with the wind and get into good positions with their boats. There was a little cannon play but for the most part it was quiet. The third turn had Joe Caso bombing the English settlement and the English returning in kind while Rick Weaver and Brent Rogers snuck up around the island to attack the English hand to hand (and shot each other’s ship up along the way).

The next round had the pirates going ashore and a massive bloody melee that took place followed by an all out route by one of the pirate crews. Joe Caso and John Murk continued to fire at one another while John’s boys on the leeward side of the island kept up the good fight against the dastardly pirates.

The final round had Edgar and Joey trading shots and a collision (intentional ram) by Edgar across the sweet spot along Joey’s stern. As the bow sprint smashed into the broadsides of the sloop Edgar’s schooner smashed into the smaller ship causing the two to become befuddled and lose rigging. No matter that though onto the broadsides where the cannons tore into the hull almost causing waterline damage and the crew quickly assailing one another.

That same turn Joe turned grapeshot (canister) onto the English and tore into the English crew on the island whilst the dastardly pirates of Brents (who had to leave) and Rick (who also had to leave) were taken by me and charged headlong into John’s English (and into a part of the story that is yet to be told…)
After the game I spent about an hour parlaying with Edgar over the finer points of the Age of Sail. His tactical experience and nautical acumen will be an asset to the development of this game.


  1. Looks action-packed and reads very intriguing. Keep us posted!

  2. That`s a big table there. Great report that certainly tickled my intrest!

  3. @Porky - Oh yeah it was a great lot of fun! I really liked it when Rick and Brent shot each other on the way to attack the English.

    @Tomsche - Thanks! I really appreciate the support! Pirates are a bunch of fun!

  4. Hey ACG how soon do you think you will have a copy of the rules for sale my local group up here is always looking for something good in Pirates and I am sure with your rxpertise in writing rules it is a good product. The new ships from your ship making "partner" look good (manufacturers name slips my mind at the moment.)

  5. PS Please feel free to cross post this Pirates game to the volleyfirewargames blog - Cheers VFW