Showing posts with label Broadsides and Boarding Parties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Broadsides and Boarding Parties. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2016

[Annual Public Service Announcement] Play Like A Pirate, Don't Talk Like One -- Or if You're Going to Talk Like a Pirate, Go Big!

In 2008, I began advocating that people should celebrate "Play Like a Pirate Day" rather than participate in "Talk Like a Pirate Day." My contention was that one of the most irritating things you can hear your co-workers say is, "Aaaargh, Avast, Ye Mateys" a couple times an hour in some half-hearted participation in a day of international live action role playing. Even worse are the inconsistent uses of "Yar!"

What makes it most irritating is the fact that these small offering of participation are lackadaisical at best. It isn't talking like a pirate that's annoying, it's an ironic detachment or lack of commitment that's annoying.

I would rather my co-worker show up dressed in full "Age of Sail" apparel, blunderbuss and cutlass in hand, and charge into the office while staying in character as much as is possible for the day.  A wholehearted celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I can get behind.  It would be fun, in the "employees showing up to work in costumes on Halloween" kind of way. You know... like when a person comes to work in their full blown Optimus Prime costume -- one where they can actually "transform" from robot to big rig.  Things like that create moments where you are truly impressed with your co-workers commitment. On the other hand, when your other co-worker shows up with only a pair of "cat ears" on and a mild scowl on their face, it's annoying. 

Most participation in International Talk Like a Pirate Day is of the cat ear type, and not the Optimus Prime type. That's why I still believe that it is time for the phenomenon to die. That doesn't mean that we should no longer have a day "celebrating" piracy and the outlaw attitude, or as the founder of Talk Like A Pirate Day called it "Piratitude." Pirates are still awesome (though not as awesome as Transforming Psionic Robot Pirate Ninja Dinosaur Mutant Demon Hunting Vampires), it's just that inserting random "arrrrs" like a pirate that is lame. I think gamers, and geeks of all kinds, should lay claim the holiday and re-cast it as "International Play Like A Pirate Day." That way the costume role players can  cosplay pirate and other people can play pirate themed games, read pirate themed novels, or watch pirate themed films.

As I wrote a couple of yeas ago, "from now on September 19th will be a day when families and friends get together and enjoy some form of Piratical Recreation. Such recreation can include celebrating by talking like pirates, certainly role play (in the traditional sense) is play. Our celebration is inclusive, not exclusive. But families and friends will no longer be limited to listening to the 'yars' and 'aaarghs' of everyone around them. Some might choose more formal ludographic participation -- that's game play."

Here is a list of recommended activities for this year's festivities:

1) Play a pirate themed roleplaying game. In particular, we recommend Pinnacle Entertainment Group's excellent PIRATES OF THE SPANISH MAIN. This is highly recommended for those who want to talk like a pirate. It encourages such behavior in an appropriate venue. Besides, by role playing (in the game sense) participants can act far more Piratical than is allowed under modern mores and laws.

If you want a more heroic bent with mystical aspects, you can always play Pinnacle's 50 Fathoms instead. If you aren't a fan of the Savage Worlds system, but still want to play an excellent pirate/swashbuckling role playing game you should check out 7th Sea.

2) If you own a copy -- and not many do -- play an exciting session of the classic Broadsides and Boarding Parties

If you don't own a copy of Broadsides, try one of these two excellent pirate games from GMT Games.

3) Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracy. The game is a redesign of Avalon Hill's classic game of the same name. The new version is suitable for 1 to 5 players and has less "down time" for players who aren't in their current turn.

4) Winds of Plunder is a quick and fun game that is more in the style of the "Eurogame" than Blackbeard or Broadsides.

5) You can play the previously reviewed Sword and Skull.

6) Lastly, we recommend watching one of your favorite pirate films.  Classics include Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn, Pirates of Penzance for those of a musical bent, and the more recent PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films. There is a long list of wonderful films filled with pirattitude, give one of them a play today.

Or you can sing "For I am a Pirate King!"

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

#RPGaDAY #1: First RPG Played -- Dungeons & ... Boarding Parties?

I'm a couple of days behind schedule with my first #RPGaDAY post, but work and vacation took priority. It's my hope that I'll be able to do one of these a day for the next month and answer all of the questions posted by @autocratik. I don't often participate in list-memes, but this one has more of a blog carnival feel to it.

I've been playing role playing games for a long time and most of the friends I have today are connected one way or another with game play. Mirroring that sentiment, I was first introduced to gaming by one of my dearest lifelong friends Sean McPhail -- or rather he and I were introduced to gaming by one of his older brothers. I have discussed my first gaming session on this blog before when writing about "Pants Issues." In that post, I use the image of the Moldvay edited Basic Set to represent the version of Dungeons & Dragons that Sean and I "played" on that occasion.

Thinking back about that first gaming session though, I don't think that is correct. My parents did purchase me a copy of the Moldvay set for Christmas after I came home and conveyed how exciting my introduction to D&D had been, but I didn't own the boxed set at the time. My friend Sean owned some of the AD&D books and had rolled up 1st level characters named Gandalf and Aragorn. When the friend of one of Sean's brothers said he knew how to run a D&D game, Sean loaned me Gandalf and the adventure was on. BTW, the fate of Gandalf is discussed in the Pants Issues post.

The "game" that Sean and I experienced had very little relation - as far as I can remember - to Sean's description of the AD&D rules, but it was definitely some form of D&D. It was D&D that was highly adversarial in its player to DM relationship and it was so free form and abstract in its description of combat that I think I can claim that my first gaming experience wasn't Moldvay Basic. Though Moldvay Basic with its rich introduction is the reason I continued playing. It most certainly wasn't AD&D. There was no talk of segments, modifiers against armor type, or any of the particularities of that rules set. I think that Sean and I were introduced to White Box OD&D...though as the Pants Issues post makes clear I wouldn't say that I actually got much of a chance to play it. 

And if I didn't get much of a chance to play it, then what was my actual first RPG played?

That would be something that my friend Sean and I put together ourselves. We had been playing a bunch of Broadsides & Boarding Parties and we loved everything about the game...except the hand-to-hand combat and campaign rules.

So we decided to use the rules from Moldvay Basic as our combat system. Thus began a couple of weeks worth of piratical adventures with Fighter, Thief, and Wizard ship captains, and thus began the first of many house rule adaptations in my role playing game career.