Wednesday, 16 August 2017

OAAH Beta Test Black Sails or Hammer Horror. When pirates die they go to Devon

This is my proposed participation game. First draft for playtesting. Now we are using beta- (test version) rules- this one will use the 3rd version. There is a movement to focus the playtesters, but I'm out of sync. I'm enormously pleased that our last contribution has seen amendments to cavalry, chariots and cavalry. Please take this into consideration as I'll always adapt to the latest version.

Top Right The Saucy Scullion home of Captain Red
Right Church & graveyard  The Reverent Allbright
Top middle Manor Farm Squire Kettle
Left  Cock and Bottom Captain Hook.

I've taken Captain Avery as my starting point. Not only was he one of the most successful, he had a fleet of ships and lesser captains under him. He also retired to the West country and was said to have been robbed by those bigger sharks, Bristol merchants.

So let's take the Devon coastal town of Trumpton under Green. Somewhere betwix here and the parish of Camblewick there be treasures:
Deed box, containing deeds of local manor farm, and coaching inn plus several large properties in Bristol and Boston. Whoever has these can control rents and sell the properties.

Treasure chest containing the jewels of the Sultana of Marmalada.

Treasure map of the Madagascaran Brotherhood.

Lost key to said map.

Now let us look at the key players, all ex captains under Avery. Each one has a core unit plus 1 or 2 personalities:

Vicar the Reverant Allbright, with his villainous verger, the murderous Meeps. There is a church upon the cliff, under which caves what are the haunt of local smugglers controlled by the pair. Them who do say talk of secret tunnels.

The Vicar and Meeps (personalities) have a core unit of 10 local smugglers to hand. These are always replaced. They are armed with the odd pistol and farm implement, but they have superior local knowledge and can be virtually invisible.

Rev Allbright Q4 A3 D4, Hero 2xlives, Shoot3 34
Mr Meeps Q3 A3 D4, Shoot2, Assasin3, Stealthy 22
Smugglers Q5 A1 D4, Shoot1 Highwaymen 10x9 = 90 Total 146

Squire and Magistrate Kettle and the local militia. The great hall, located in Manor Farm, close by the church, is the scene of much quaffing of illegal brandy by these scions of the gentry sworn to uphold the rule of law.

The Squire (personality) has a core troop of 6 mounted dragoons always to hand. Plus 1 irreplaceable niece/ward (personality). These are supplemented by stalwart chaps from the estate plus any “visitors” who may happen by.

Squire Kettle Q4 A2 D4 General, Mounted, Shoot2, 2xlives 28
Dragoon, mounted, Q4 A2 D4 Fast, Mounted, Shoot2, Drilled 6x17 = 102
Niece, Q4 A1 D4 Assasin L1 Shoot1 13 Total 143

The Cock and Bottom coaching inn. This establishment, plus a couple of hovels, straddles the road overlooking Trumpton under Green betwix Camblewick. Here is becalmed old Captain Hook and his cronies, drunkards all.

Captain Hook (personality) has a core of 10 replaceable cronies.

Cpt Hook Q3 A3 D4 Hero, Shoot2, 2 ex lives 32
Cronies Q4 A2 D4 Shoot1 10x12 = 120 Total 152

The Saucy Scullion. Captain Red and his Fanny. There's one tavern on every harbour waterfront that caters for the sort of person who wears too much black leather and hats with lots of feathers. Now it's home to this captain and crew. Deep cellars, private rooms and interesting passages await.

Captain Red and Miss Fanny (personalities) core of 11 Scullions.

Cpt Red Q4 A3 D4, Shoot1 Hero, 2xlives 26
Miss Fanny Q4 A2 D4 Assasin L1, 12
Scullions Q5 A2 D4 Shoot1 11x10= 110 Total 146

Getting MORE. How to play.
All forces start in their home areas with their core unit.
Everyone rolls a D6 for initiative.
Highest gets 1st choice of doing:

Marching to the middle of Trumpton and declaring that you have a treasure and are recruiting a new crew. You roll 3 D6. 1st D old hands, competent pirates. 2nd drunken sailors, 3rd local riff-raff. A natural 6 gets you a personality.

Declaring an attack on one of the other players. You may join with another player in accord if you've parleyed.

Parleying, meeting another party in a neutral spot to come to any agreement.

Wait and See. Do nothing, but you can sneak in at any time.

If you gain a treasure you can either declare a new round or run home.

Obviously, once all are done, a new round starts.

Suggested play. I want to get a “black Sails” type plot twist feel going. To do this I'm going to suggest using the initiative rolls. Could use event cards.

Rather than take turns and to encourage roleplay I'd suggest that a player declares a move on an opponent then both roll for initiative. Fortune favours the brave. One word of warning, this type of play is best suited to a group who agree that the aim is to have interesting games rather than point-scoring.

You can go to extremes, with one faction fleeing with 1 or more treasure then being pursued by 1 or more of the others. I'd suggest that only the captain knows the location of the treasure and a search may be of limited use. Players should aim to have fun! You can take the basic game as season 1 and go from there!

First play. Freely admit to some mistakes. First off, wrong alien. (Although if I was doing Bovington, this force vs a large local milita force backed by pirates-) Wrong methodology. What I should have done, the first wave of fairly ordinary pirates are there to show the basic game mechanics. Once they are gone, in serious trouble or joining forces then other, more forces comes into play:

The Vicar can summon, or if he dies the unquiet dead rise from their pit to reek.

Squire may summon regular county militia troops if faced by an alliance or deaded.

Hook if losing or dead can call on the pyrats, however, these should be seen as rather untrustworthy allies.

Captain Red may raise the forces of the deep, but these too have their own agenda.

This is what I used for the first game.

Vicar the reverant Allbright
1) Someone squeals to the Revenue and the winner can swap out for a revenue force
2) Someone squeals to the Revenue, the Vicar can hide (leaving the local to their fate) OR rouse another D6 of locals to come to his aid
3) Choice of ground, can stage an ambush.
4) Can swap out with the Squire. (Has tricked the squire into attacking, if attacking the squire you've talked a servant into starting a fire in the stables)
5) The Revenue are searching the beach, looking for your cave-.
6) Raising of the dead. If all is lost and the Vicar is last man standing, he can call on the powers of darkness and unleash the dead from the local plague pit upon the town.

Squire and Magistrate Kettle
1) All are drunk, -2 on actions and reactions.
2) Late start. Each rolls D6 indicating turn appearing. If niece rolls a 1, she's been kidnapped.
If she rolls a 6 she's kidnapped one of the Scullions who was in boys clothes.
3) Gains a D6 of Pirate Hunters on foot (Officer, Sergeant+ rest)
4) Can swap out with the Revenue. You stay at home unless you've made an agreement with a second participating party.
5) Word has come of an attack, you prepare for seige.
6) If all is lost and the Manor is burnt, the regular army may be summoned to give aid.

The Cock and Bottom
1) Everyone is drunk and the place is surrounded
2) Everyone is drunk (-1 all Q rolls) but Hook & D6 of his cronies (all drunk) have snuck out the back.
3) Hook and a remarkably sober crew set up an ambush.
4) Can swap out with the Squire. (Has fooled the Squire into attacking by false messages)
5) Under seige by the Revenue. All trapped inside.
6) Hook has attracted the attention of the dread pyrates, and a raiding party is on its way-.

The Saucy Scullion
1) The Scullions have got pissed (-1Q) and gone off after someone (winners choice) rest turn up D6 turns later, roll (Q) for sobriety
2) Everyone is drunk (-1Q) but gain a D6 of patrons
3) Forewarned, a force sneaks off and sets up an ambush.
4) The Scullions have captured the opposing captain and is demanding ransom. There is talk of a portrait painter.
5) Blackmail, Pirate Hunters have taken the pub and are in ambush-.
If Captain Red is last man standing, he can call upon the sea to give him aid, leading to an invasion by one of the local Sea Peoples.

Now we come to the add-ons. This list will grow to include 3 aquatic races, Pyrats and Medieval dead.

Pirate Hunters
Captain Q3 A3 D4 Shoot2 Drilled
Trooper Q3 A3 D4 Shoot3 Drilled

Captain Q4 A3 D4 Shoot2 Drilled
Trooper Q4 A2 D4 Shoot2 Drilled

449 point Aquatic 1 force
General Q3 A3 D7 General, army standard, 2extra lives, Amphibious 50(?)
Infantry Q4 a2 D6 Shoot2, Drilled, Amphibious 8x 27 = 216
APC Q4 A3 D5 Boat, Resilient, 2extra lives, Amphibious 32
Lg Tank Q4 A7 D7 Art.4, Boat, Resilient, 4extra lives, Amphibious 68
Sm Tank Q4 A5 D5 Art.2 Boat, Resilient, 2extra lives, Amphibious 43
Mortar Tank Q4 A3 D5 Seige3, Boat, Resilient, 2extra lives, Amphibious 40

The Games. First one was a good go at the basic game. Second an invasion. Have to admit that I found these first and they hold a sentimental attachment. I bought the first batch from Brigade during a sale, loved 'em enough that when they announced a revision of their range, (with sizes generally going up) I bought a further batch in the hopes of further purchases. Then they dropped the range!

Game 1 I made slips for the players and treasure. I got Captains Red and Hook. Which left Tony with the Squire and the Reverent.

I won the toss and started by sending Cpt Red marching against the Vicar. This, of course, didn't work. With Red and his Fanny in the lead, they are jumped by Mr Mipps. He comes off worse in the shooting, although they both lose a life. That leaves the locals to shoot, he kills one, but dies. Fanny does a runner back over the bridge, only to be shot in the back. Poor Fanny! The pirates go back. With no leader I rolled. I got a 5 Blackmail, Pirate Hunters have taken the pub and are in ambush-. So that finished them off as a force.

Meeps attacks!

The Reverent pontificates in front of his church

Fanny does a runner but gets it in the end.

Now the Revenue turn up!

Meanstwhile at the other edge of town Cpt Hook was unable to join in the assault, as that would have left cavalry to his rear, never a pretty sight. So I decided to wait and see what the Squire would do. I rolled on the chart- first time Hook has attracted the attention of the dread pyrates, and a raiding party is on its way-. No use. Second, 5) Under seige by the Revenue. All trapped inside. That was a result-. Finally I got 4) can swap out with the Squire. (Has fooled the Squire into attacking by false messages) Tony got a surprise when his troops just- deployed. Spotting roll meant that the troops were recognised and they were escorted back to the Manor. That effectively ended the game with Tony winning. Time, about 90 minutes.

Oi!  Get orf my Manor!

In the end Hook decides to chase the hunters, but it doesn't end well for him-.

Multi players. Don't worry about it. Establish the original order and keep to it. Others “slot in” as needed. Reactions need to be logically handled. If a unit is facing, say, pirate hunters, they are far more likely to react than a unit at rest halfway down the board. I think of it as throwing a rock into a pool. Grabbing initiative is the same.

Game 2. Tony took all the other sides bar Captain Red. I had him on table but none of his forces. The aliens poored of the beach, blew up a couple of houses. Now I don't think we've got the hang of ambushes yet-.

The locals start to respond

The General stops for a conflab with Captain Red, then he's ambushed by some locals, but he beats them and they go back.  For the first time so far, he follows up, hits them and they break.

Frontal assault by the Vicar wounds him, but at great cost.  Now Mipps sneaks in from the side-

Mipps and the General are dead, so the General has effectivley destroyed one side on his own.  The attackers all go back one--.

Captain Red's pirates assemble.

The Squire liaises

The niece finds herself trapped by the creeping horror- 

The large tank slivers over the wall.  Not hard to imagine the horses in a mad panic, then it opens up and blows them away.

Captain Hook is a Hero, not to be daunted he takes on the small tank alone!  A lucky shot takes a life- not hard to imagine it lurching forward to impale itself on the sword while crushing the Captain underfoot.

The figures:  Biologicals are from an old Brigade Games range, now only available in 6mm.
Cavalry, most infantry and pirates Old Glory.
Pirate hunters, a few pirates Rebel Miniatures
Sea Peoples Khurasan
Vicar Splintered Light.

The pirates were my first mass buy on starting 15mm, some have had minor repaints but most are a good few years old and in need of TLC.