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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut

Evening all,

So I am looking for a skirmish game with a pirate setting.
Basically I have a load of models (and I do have Legends of the High Seas Rulebook from many years back),
A lot of Black Scorpion minis, the humans male and female, and I think I even had a load of skeletons too.
Either way, I have Bones V coming with the whole pirate expansion which also looks like it’d fit in with all this (it has both living and dead)

Any suggestions of a good pirate rule set?
Easy and fun would be ideal..
That is fantasy for the skeletons, though I wouldn’t be against a more historical as I have plenty of just humans.

Any suggestions welcome.
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut

Southampton, UK

I haven't actually played it but Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games looks interesting. It's pretty unique in that it has integrated rules for skirmishes on land, ship combat and mixing the two for boarding actions etc.

They've got a kickstarter beginning on 6th October for a new 2-player starter set including Hard Plastic ship kits!
Made in us
Dakka Veteran

Seattle, WA USA

En Garde! by Osprey looks pretty good. I've read through it and liked what I saw, but haven't had a chance to get it on the table yet. Bonus is no dedicated model line.

It did have an optional rules section to add some "voodoo" type things, too, as I recall.
Made in ru
Space Marine Scout with Sniper Rifle

I've been playing Blood&Plunder almost exclusively on and off for the past year and can recommend it as a great ruleset - relatively simple (not as many interactions or combos as Infinity or Warmachine, units have only 4-5 charasteristics depending on their class, tests are usually done with one D10 per model or one D10 period, there's almost zero math involved), fun and engaging. Despite not being strictly fantasy (I mean, any pirate game just has to have some elements like drunken sailors setting their ship on fire, but it's still far from dragons and dwarves), it has a lot of factions and units to make unique armylists - both on land and sea. Firelock Games have their own model line of both units and ships to suit the game, but you can use any models, no pressure on that.

Card activation system is also pretty good - quite innovative (at least I've never seen anything like it) and fits the theme perfectly: you have possession of a few cards (depending on your unit count), each of them enables one of your units to activate, and quicker cards (those that will generally go first) contain far less actions than slower cards. So you have to choose: either go first if you really need to do so, but you'll most likely going to have only one action, or you can wait for your opponent to act and then capitalize on it with 2-3 actions later (if you manage to survive this turn that is). It creates interesting balance and mindgames since you don't know what your adversary is going to do but you can guess based on his previously drawn cards and situation on the table and thus either risk and try to beat him with quicker cards or place clubs/diamods and retaliate later with stronger units.

ALTHOUGH I would still highly recommend it to anyone interested in pirate skirmish, it's not a perfect system. Factions are, as expected, nowhere near equal, and it primarily touches on the subject of subfactions since many of them are comparable but straight worse or better than the other: for example, Ostend Privateers are 100% clones of Spanish Corsairs, but they have better unit selection and better faction rules, so playing Spanish Corsairs is meaningless from the gamey point of view unless you really want to field fleet of small boats.

Roughly the same can be said about the game balance as a whole, there are several key points I dislike about the game (note: I still consider it to be great). As a general rule, hordes of naked marines with sabres and grenades will dominate any other list unless you manage to squeeze a combo to table them as quickly as possible: they are dirt cheap, have good morale, hit hard and throw grenades that completely ignore any cover so your Indian elite is going to blow up no matter how good they are at hiding and defending themselves. If you're not going to play in competitive environment, it's no big deal, but still take note on this one. There is also a problem with pistols being extremely expensive and pretty much a waste of points while braces of pistols usually cost the same and are completely broken from game terms: they get no reload markers and can theoretically shoot up to three times a turn, which is insane for any gunpowder weaponry in this game. Also relative simplicity can sometimes lead to really weird unit interactions like soldiers running almost as fast as cavalry (if you have a lot of actions and command points from your field commander) or Indians being extremely good at cover both in jungles and on ships, which is kind of strange as they manage to fight better than dedicated marines.

Still, despite all these grievances, B&P is a superb game. Firelock also released a different ruleset, called Blood&Valor, for WW1, if you're interested - I've heard it's great too!
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut

Southampton, UK

While looking at pirate minis yesterday I doscovered that Black Scorpion miniatures actually have their own skirmish game called Cutlass! Somehow I'd never heard of it - I thought they only did figures - didn't realise they published their own games.

It looks to be a very Necromunda-like gang skirmish campaign game, and has rules for orc & goblin, dwarf, elf and undead pirate crews as well as human pirates, privateers and navy crews. It's entirely land based, no ship rules or anything though. Designed by Gav Thorpe of all people.

Best of all it's a free PDF download from their website. https://www.blackscorpionminiatures.com/product/cutlass/
Made in gb
Rotting Sorcerer of Nurgle

Portsmouth UK

just seen this on my fb feed:

Check out my gallery here
Also I've started taking photos to use as reference for weathering which can be found here. Please send me your photos so they can be found all in one place!! 
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado


Danny76 wrote:

Any suggestions of a good pirate rule set?
Easy and fun would be ideal..

If easy and fun is the priority, I'd give "Flashing Steel" a chance.
I honestly can't remember if we ever got around to playing it in my last group, but we played the heck out of "Song of Blades and Heroes" of which Flashing Steel is a variant. There's also a version for expanding up to company-level battles and allows you to incorporate your heroes from Flashing Steel.

Flexible, easy unit creation, warband size games, and usually you can wrap up a game in less than an hour. There's even a free warband creator here:

I can't say enough about the Song of Blades system. It's not a super-detailed or stat-intensive system, but it plays fast and has a unique "gambling" activation mechanic that makes every decision important.

Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.

My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad!
Made in us
Lone Wolf Sentinel Pilot

Los Angeles, CA, USA

I would also suggest Frostgrave : Ghost Archipelego. It’s a fantasy Wizard ruleset with a heavy pirate theme.
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