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After some brainstorming in class, Tim and I decided to team up for this one. We decided on another tactical war game, this time involving…PIRATES! We’re calling it “Boarding Action”. Here are the rules we have so far:


  • 2 Players
  • Moderate Complexity
  • 20-30 minute playtime


  • Defeat the opposing player’s Captain.
  • Get to the wheelhouse of the opposing player’s ship and remain there for 10 turns.
  • Force the other player to surrender.


  • d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20
  • Miniatures for both sides.
  • 2 Cardboard Pirate Ships
  • Crewman Statistics Cards
  • Pen/Pencil & Paper


Each player starts with a Captain with no equipment. The Captain’s stats can be found below. The Captain cannot be upgraded using Food, but may be bought new equipment. A player may not have more than one Captain. Players start with 150 Food and 75 Booty. Food is used to buy and upgrade crewman as well as assign crewman jobs. Booty is used to buy equipment for your crewman and special attacks in combat.


Each crew starts with just a Captain, which costs the players nothing.  The players then may use their Food points (150 to start) to buy new crewmen, upgrade these crewman, and optionally assign jobs to the crew.  Each new crewman costs 15 Food.  The base stats for a new crewman are below.  The player then may choose to upgrade this crewman using food points.  The first point of upgrade costs 1 Food.  For each consecutive upgrade point, it costs (previous cost + 1).  So if a player wanted to upgrade their crewman’s Parry to 14 from 13, they would have to pay 3 Food, for a total of 6 Food from 11 to 14 (11->12 = 1, 12->13 = 1 + 1, 13->14 = 2 + 1) : (1 + 2 + 3 = 6).  The Health statistic, however, costs 1 Food for one point, no matter how many you have purchased beforehand.


Once a crew has been assembled, they need to be equipped.  A player may spend up to 75 Booty points on weapons for each crew member.  A crew member may not have more than one of each type of weapon at a time.  A crew member without a melee weapon deals 1d3 damage on a successful hit with a Swing bonus of 0.  A crew member without a ranged weapon cannot attack at range.

During play, a player may spend unused Booty to call on a Special Attack.  These attacks and their effects and costs are listed below.

Players may also loot the Hold of the opposing ship, gaining 2 Booty per crewman per turn that remains in the Hold.


Players start off in the “Start” section of their respective ships. Both players roll a d20 to determine who goes first. The player with the highest d20 result goes first. Ties simply re-roll. Players then alternate turns, moving units and attacking enemies. When one of the above goals is completed, the game is over, and the player that completed the winning goal is declared the winner.


  • Swing – Bonus to d20 while using a sword. Must be adjacent to target.
  • Aim – Bonus to d20 while using a firearm. Cannot be adjacent to target.
  • Parry – Number that a Swing attack must surpass to hit.
  • Dodge – Number that an Aim attack must surpass to hit.
  • Health – Total amount of damage that can be taken before the unit is removed.
  • Run – Number of spaces of movement per turn.
  • Sword Damage – Damage of the equipped melee weapon.
  • Gun Damage – Damage of the equipped ranged weapon.


MELEE WEAPONS:             (Bonus)            {Damage}            <Cost>

  • Dagger                            (+2)                    {1d8}                   <8>
  • Saber                                (+1)                   {1d10}                 <10>
  • Cutlass                             (0)                     {2d6}                   <12>

RANGED WEAPONS:        (Bonus)       {Damage}        <Cost>           [Range]

  • Pistol                             (+2)                 {1d4}              <4>                   [4]
  • Musket                          (+1)                 {1d6}               <6>                  [5]
  • Blunderbuss                 (0)                  {1d10}             <10>                [3]


– S: 4
– A: 4
– P: 14
– D: 14
– H: 21
– R: 5
– Food Cost: Free, no more than 1

– S: 1
– A: 1
– P: 11
– D: 11
– H: 11
– R: 2
– Food Cost: 15




  • Requirements: P:13+, H:13+
  • Special:  Heals one adjacent unit by 1d6.
  • Food Cost to Assign Job: 2


First Mate:

  • Requirements: S:4+, A:4+
  • Special:  Double ship capture rate
  • Food Cost to Assign Job: 1


Master At Arms:

  • Requirements: A:3+, D:13+
  • Special:  Deals an extra +3 damage on ranged attacks.
  • Food Cost to Assign Job: 3



  • Requirements: S:3+, P:13+
  • Special:  Deals an extra +2 damage on melee attacks.
  • Food Cost to Assign Job: 3


Bo’ sun:

  • Requirements: R:4+, H:14+
  • Special:  Grants adjacent allies +1 to P & D.
  • Food Cost to Assign Job: 2



Ready the Cannons:

  • Booty Cost: 25
  • Effect: Remove 1 opposing unit that is not a Captain.


Bombs Away:

  • Booty Cost: 10
  • Effect: Deal 2d6 damage to a 2×2 area.



  • Booty Cost: 10
  • Effect: Cause a unit’s Special effect to happen twice.


Second Chance:

  • Booty Cost: 5
  • Effect: Target friendly is granted 1 extra attack.


Pretty complex, I admit, but I think it will be quite awesome.  Details of the playtest will be revealed Monday, so tune in!


One Comment

  1. Judging on how long it took to do the modifications in class… Do you think this is going to hit the 20-30 minute range? Is that a viable goal at this point?

    -Devin Monnens

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