The Great Day has come and gone and the game is torn down, packed up, and put away - well, mostly so. Ah, but there are many a photo that captured the day. My wife took almost all of the photos - a great many during the course of the set up and a couple of dozen during the game. Unfortunately, she left long before the end of the game and I was too busy to take photos (or too tired, 18 hour day before the game and only 4 hours of sleep ahead of the game itself) so there are not as many actions shots as I would have liked. But enough to give you a good sense of how it went. I did get photos of all but one of the prize winners and the game masters at the very end - and I will point out the absent prize winner because he is in some of the game photographs. And something my wife commented on several times - we had three women players in the game. But no young people - though some did come by to look us over and at least one got a small gift as a result.
So, how did it go? Well, besides the five game masters, we had at least 23 but I think 25 players out of the 32 possible. Most stayed through the whole game but a few dropped out and a few got sunk - our earliest sinking earned a consolation prize. And he was a great sport about it. A few of those who got sunk early happily stepped into a vacant roll in order to stay in the game until the end. Indeed, almost everyone seemed to have a good time though a couple had a few issues but those issues were generally a result of not getting into the spirit of the game for there was plenty of action going on. We had one early drop out by a man who really wanted to play but whose less than youthful health caused him to depart. As always with such things, it is important to pay attention to player responses to the game and adjust and improve for the next time around. And one of the things I hope to do for the next game is have a large contingent of non-player ships, small merchants, that the player operated ships can try and take as prizes. We had a bunch of "static" ships on the table - some of which at least one player took joy in moving about just to make other player's nervous. They won't be static next time around.
What were the player's goals? Each player had an individual goal (and these goals will be revised and improved upon for our next outing at Pacificon in September) which ran the gamut from finding and sinking a particular ship, engaging in trade and perhaps a little plundering along the way, founding a colony, rescuing Gina Lobsterbrigitta - her prime suitor was the first sunk! so she went unrescued, and most importantly finding treasure.
We had 100 treasure tokens placed all over the table and charts players rolled on to see what they found. Some tokens were null, most were just basic, some provided a plus or minus to the die roll, and some went directly to the "Shiver Me Timbers" or "X-Marks The Spot" tables. I will be adding A LOT more treasure tokens for the next game. And revising the charts. And adding new charts for players who sink ships and who capture ships. But the ships are going to be hard to sink and more worthy of a fight next go round. I intend to upgun the smaller ships! Be warned.
Any disappointments? Well, not so much generally, but it would have been nice if we'd had all the towns with active players for both the governor and the commander as well as players to run the natives.
I'm weighing and considering giving each player two commands for the next game, will be 36 separate commands available, so that if we only get 18 players we get all commands involved in the game. That, or have each assistant game master run a command - almost certainly one of the four native commands. And I would run the other natives - yes, there are some sem-random appearing natives. As we go over 18 players, then the first 18 surrender a command in a specified sequence so that if we do get the full 36 then we can accommodate them and have a plan in place to do so.
I suspect we will have more players at Pacificon in San Jose than we did here at ConQuest Sacramento. And there will be some additional tweaking of the rules in a few areas - again listening to our players.
Still, all in all, I believe it went pretty darn good.
Now, more to the point of the day and using the photos to tell the story:
And once set up it was time for yours truly, The Mute Parrot, to get "rigged up":
I'm afraid that's all the useful, non-repetitive action photos my wife got. Some of the things not captured were one of the Spanish? players attacking the southern native island and either killing or capturing all of the natives on the island over many turns and then selling them to the Spanish colonists on the Dutch island. They did build their colony as did the British and the French. Alas, it was a very bad day for the French - all their ships got sunk and their town taken over by the British - and their colonists switched allegiance to the British and flew their flag - and some scoundrel broke one of our ship flags for this purpose! : ) So, even though at sea the British did not do as well as they hoped - and one British player didn't care much for the intrinsic crews of the ships still being able to fire their broadsides (which had ammunition limits, by the way). Not adjusting that but explaining better in writing though we did explain at the beginning of the game.
The pirates went into alliance with the Spanish, of all things. And why did they do such a bizarre thing? Well, someone had to attempt to hold the Dutch in check. Of the eight ships sunk during the game, 4 were sunk by the most successful captain who assisted in two other sinkings. During the "Tales of Valor, Tales of Woe" a refrain came into being: "Who sinks ships? The Dutch sink ships!" Even the other players got into the spirit.
Sure, we could have a better after action report. And, sure, we will do it better next time. But I feel comfortable in saying we did okay this time around. Lots of people had lots of fun. There were lots of rounds of loud "Aarghs!" throughout the day.
And before we get on to our prize winners, I would be deeply remiss if I don't take a moment to sing the praises of the staff of the convention from Gabe Vega, grand supremo, on down the line. They went all out to accommodate us, promote us, and support us. They declared Saturday as dress like a pirate day and several staff did so and one of those, whenever he had an announcement to boom out, did so in pirate character. So, on behalf of all of those of us who built this game and the players, a huge THANK YOU to Avalon and staff.
And I will also take this moment to name all of the people, hopefully, who helped put this game together: without all your efforts this game would not have happened. So, an even bigger THANK YOU to all of the follwing: I don't have all the names of the play testers from January but please know that the game would not have been as good as it was without your effort and input. And from MWS, Miniature Wargames of Sacramento (http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/M_W_S/): Mike O'Brien, Joe Riddle, Joe Bianchi, Hal Lotman, Nils ?, Rob Kent, Dave Reed, Robert Knestrick, George Gardea, Charlie Gomez and his son's Anthony and Andrew, and Chris Osborne all worked on the project. If I've left anyone out my profound apologies. No contribution, however small was insignificant. But I do wish to single out a couple of people. While I have mentioned over the years the idea of the club doing a project game, it was Mike O'Brien who lit the spark that became this event - let's keep the momentum going, guys. And I must give special mention to Joe Riddle who painted over 1000 figures in six months for this game, including 250 in the last month or so before the game. And last, but by no means least, I must mention again, my wife, Letty's extraordinary support throughout, from inception onwards.
Now on to the prizes - and thanks to our donors, especially Blue Moon/Old Glory 25s, but also Rebel Minis. Perhaps in relative sizes between the two companies there donation merit equal stature. So, thank you to both companies for your support and please understand that the prizes you see displayed here are only half of what they provided because there will be the same set of prizes available at Pacificon!
Pictured earlier during the game above was Mike Smith who won the Game Master's discretion award, he was closest competition for the funniest and most creative player. He got a pack of Blue Moon naval guns as well.
Congratulations all around.
But please not to leave just yet because there is some additional recognition to be given.
Pirates of the Carob Bean Sea sails off into the setting sun
UNTIL PACIFICON in September!