Friday, 10 February 2023

54mm Pirate game on 5th february 2023

 Many year ago, inspired by a convention game run by a Dutch group( I think), I shortly after, organized a pirate game myself, with at the time unpainted pirate figures. A fun game that was often talked about a became somewhat legendary. I decided to do a rerun as the first game of 2023. 

A game with 8 players and 2 game masters.

Simple with not many rules, just a limit in move distance and firing range. Al the other thinks were decided by the game masters. 

The Story

Somewhere on a South American island, in the Spanish town of Trueno León, the notorious leader of the pirate confederacy Bartholomew Smith is imprisoned.

But the governor of Jamaica Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Effingham, his daughter Hilda is also being held by the governor of the city: Alfredo de la vina tinto di taberna. The British Governor, Howard also sends a ship with marines to join the pirates to raid the city and free his daughter. In the middle of the night the city is stormed, do the guards sound the alarm in time? Does the garrison react resolutely? What about the residents? Do you trust your fellow pirates? Who are the shadows there in the dark?

We are with 8 players: 2 of the players arrive with the British ship and each lead a team of 10 marines and 4 sailors. The other players have a team of 15 pirates.

Participants are:

 Pots : Archibalt Pots “The Black Marshal” always has a loaded pistol at hand

 Steven: Ebenezer Mac Swiers “The Banker” Once employed by one bank but now a veteran of many campaigns 

Siegfried: Siegfried Von Brandenburg "The Prince" Said to be a German nobleman, notorious for his temper 

Ronny : Liam Roonnie “The Collector” Crafty insatiable Irish collector of goods. 

Bruce: Turgett The Bruce: “The painter”, latest addition to the pirate league. “Paints” the decks of the ships captured by him red with blood. 

Kristof: Christophe-Julien de Rapier. “The Viper” French pirate, infamous for his ability to suddenly strike like a viper. 

Guy: LT Guy Newport “The Omen” Usually when he appears, a bad omen for pirates, which he dislikes. 

Patrick VDB: LT Patrick Brands “The Colonel” It is said that he once served in the army, now a Lt of the marines: Reckless and deadly.

Goal of the game :  collect as many points as possible with:

  • Liberation and escort the pirate headman of the playing field by the pirates : 500 points
  • Liberation and escort the governor's daughter of the playing field by the English: 500 points
  • Capture a ship and get out of the harbour 300 points
  • A large amount of gold 50 points (must be carried by 2 figures)
  • A medium amount of gold 20 points
  • A small amount of gold 10 points

The headman or governor's daughter is freed and can be taken when the direct guards are eliminated. A ship can only leave the harbor when it has been towed out of the harbor by a sloop with 4 oarsmen. Gold usually can be found in the houses, but there is not only gold inside…

Before the game even started, players left for a moment the room and made coalitions.

Before every turn, we diced for a special event.

The British went directly for the ships when arriving in the port, killing all the Spanish sailors on their way.  The pirates with their ladders entered the city and met some resistance from guards and civilians, but the numbers of the pirates were too telling. 

In some houses, pirates were distracted and out for some turns by barrels of wine or the women. 

The British were able to eliminate  the garrison from the citadel to find it was only the pirate headsman inside. Another group of the British landing crew entered the city, but found the pirate turning against them. After a fierce fight, Lt Newport and his team were eliminated.

In the governors house , the pirate found the Miss Howard guarded by 3 Spanish soldiers who put a fierce resistance. A least 8 pirates were killed, but in the end, with more and more pirates rushing to the scene, the Spanish soldiers went down. Outside the walls of the city, British and pirates continued to shoot each other, a gunpowder barrel exploding with a deadly bang. 

Gold and women were taken out of town with chariots.

Pirates now turned to the British ship. With not enough crew to leave the port, the British had to negotiate a “parler”.  The pirates turned in the governors daughter against the headman and  the two captured ships. The points of the ships were distributed amongst the 5 coalition pirates, but the pirate who had caught the Miss Howard and made the exchange did win the game with 650 points: Pots, The Black Marshall was the winner.

The Black Marshall

The Spanish relief force coming to late.

Trees from Patrick VBD.
Most of the houses, bridge, windmill, wouden ships made by my father in law, Florent.
Many tanks to my son Alberik for the assistance as second game master and photografer. without his help it wouldn't have worked.

Sunday, 5 February 2023

HG Wells War of the Worlds Game

 I am not normally a fan of science fiction, in my reading or in my games, but I make an exception for HG Wells' War of the Worlds. Wells published the book in 1898 and Wells' Little Wars, the mother of all modern wargames, was published in 1913, so I decided to combine the two and run a Little Wars type of game, set around 1905. I used the Fistful of Lead Bigger Battles rules. Fistful of Lead were originally designed as western gunfight rules and I used them because the more I thought about it, the Martian Tripods were like six big bad men coming into a western town and the British army, artillery, tanks and infantry were like the marshal and posse trying to stop them. I made up a 6X10 foot table with all the appropriate 54mm buildings I own. The British (Human) players got to set up their artillery, tanks (WW1 German A7Vs), and infantry anywhere ahead of the Martian entry on the table edge. The infantry included Royal Engineers who carried dynamite to attempt to blow up one of the tripod legs.


The game is card driven, with each player receiving one playing card per unit, or tripod. The cards dictate who goes first, using Bridge suit order. Some cards have special powers, like healing wounds (or repairing damage points for the tripods and tanks). Aces are wild cards. As this was a play test, I was not specific about the Martian victory points. In the future I will make victory points that encourage the Martians to advance down the table. So most of the action took place on only one third of the table. It was still an exciting game. Some highlights were a Royal Artillery battery on the left that tied up the advance of three tripods, at great cost in dead an wounded artillerymen. On the right, the Grenadier Guards managed to topple a tripod with a successful explosion. Also on the right, one tank sacrificed itself ramming a tripod.  The next turn, a second tank took down the damaged tripod, but it was also destroyed. After losing half the tripods, the Martians called it quits.


I will be running the game again in two weeks at our local DundraCon convention in Santa Clara CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley. As I mentioned above, I need to come up with more incentive for the Martians to advance down the table. I think I will make one of their victory conditions having to capture X amount of human civilians. As you can see from the photos, I did supply civilians, but they were just for show and automatically ran from the invaders six inches per turn.