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Pirate ship combat

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Infinite_Monkey
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I decided to start a new thread for this, since it isn't quite the same topic as before.

I'm designing a pirate game, which includes ship to ship combat, as well as duelling and boarding ships. This is not a miniatures game, and I don't want combat to be a complex mini game in its own right, but I'm not happy with the combat model I have for ship combat and boarding.

For ship combat, I'm just pulled the Pirates Cove model more or less wholesale. Each ship has Sails, Cannons, Hull and Crew. Whoever has the highest Sails shoots first. You roll 1 dice for each Cannon, so long as you have enough Crew to fire it. Each 5 or 6 is a point of damage to your enemy, to the stat of your choice. If you reduce their sails to 0, you can board them. If you reduce their hull to 0, you win. If you reduce their Cannons or Crew to 0 they are forced to flee.

For boarding, you can actually have two types of crew, green and hard. For each green crew, you roll 1 dice, and roll two for each hard crew. A roll of 6 is needed to kill a hard crew, and a roll of 5 or 6 to kill a green crew.

Now, for duelling, I have something different, which I am much happier with. Each player has a bunch of cards (just normal playing cards at the moment). Each player puts one out face down and reveals them at the same time. If they are the same colour, the highest number wins. If they are different colours the lowest number wins. Used cards are put aside until you've used all your cards, at which point you get all your cards back again. You could imagine these being "footwork" and "blade-skill" cards, rather than red and black.

Now, I will be adding other cards to the duelling mechanic, such as a "throw sand in their face" card or whatever, which have different short term effects on the duel, but I am basically happy with that mechanic.

I don't want to use exactly the same mechanic for ship and boarding combat. I like that the other players can see how powerful your ship is and decide whether they want to attack and so on, and I use the Sails and Crew stats in other parts of the game. BUt I don't like the simple dice-fest mechanic I have now.

So, any ideas?

Infinite_Monkey
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pirate ship combat

I've been trying to think of a better mechanism for ship combat, and I can up with this:

From your hand of cards (same cards as for duelling), select one card per manned cannon (max of 3 cannons, use the lowest value out of Cannons and Crew), playing them face down in front of you. When both players have chosen their cards reveal them. In order, starting with the player with the most Sails (also max of 3), select one of your cards and one of the opponents cards. If they are the same colour, the winner is the higher card. If they are different colours, the winner is the lower card. The winner does one damage to their opponent, moving either Sails, Cannons, Hull or Crew down by one. Repeat while there are cards left on both sides. Cards that are left over (because one side has more Cannons that the other) are put back in the players hand, used cards are puty aside until a players hand is exhausted.

That will hopefully capture the feel of ship combat a bit better. When I design proper cards for the game the playing cards will be replaced with cards reading things like "Tack into the wind" or "Hide in shoals", with a value in one of two types such as tricky / tactical, so if both players are tricky or both tactical, the hardest (highest value) manouver wins, whereas if they use different types, the one with the simplest manouver wins.

Im still not terribly happy with this, but it feels better that what I had above.

I might leave boarding as a simple dice fest, with several special cards that can effect the outcome, but I'm still open to other ideas.

Shrike
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Joined: 08/26/2010
Pirate ship combat

Ok, so do you then have a seperate hand for dueling and ship combat? What happens if during the same turn you run out of cards? Does each player start with the same number of cards? Do you get them back immediately or do you wait until the start of the next turn? How big is your hand size, or do you get access to all of them at the same time? Just a question or two.... =) I really like the different suit idea, very cool.

As far as the playing them face down and then revealing at the same time, I've always liked it, I actually used the same type of thing for a ship combat game (16 card challenge game from a contest last year) and I think it worked out great. B/c of the limitations of the contest I only let one ship per player fire per "salvo" (the Spanish start w/ 2 ships and the Brit's just one) and the cards were actually split in half, one end for British gun values and the other for the Spaniards, the defense (tack cards) weren't split though. It does give a good feel (in my opinion) of ship to ship combat. I REALLY like the idea of splitting it into a duelling type thing too... can't promise I won't merge something like that into a game eventually, I was looking for a one on one mechanic for my super villian bg, thinking of using poker chips instead of cards though. Keep up the good work.

Shrike

Ok, quick idea in the boarding, you could put a third symbol on the cards you already have and do the same thing as duelling and cannon fire, it would keep things similar as to the mechanics and you could balance them out in a way as to limit your strength in one aspect by using a card for another resolution... Just a thought

Infinite_Monkey
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pirate ship combat

Thanks for the comments, and feel free to use the idea.

Each player starts with the same number of cards, probably about 4. More can be gained through play. When you run out of cards or combat ends, you pick up your pile of used cards again.

The same hand of cards is used for ship combat and duelling

Shrike
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Joined: 08/26/2010
Pirate ship combat

That's what I figured, sounds like it could be a pretty good way to resolve things too, given enough testing for balance and such. Good luck on it and keep us all informed.

Aric

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