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Some excerpts from the journal of missionary Friar Deacon, a member of the HMS Beagle’s second voyage, Charles Darwin’s ‘Voyage of the Beagle’:

The 24th of March, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Thirty-five
After a long, hard journey, we arrived and disembarked at Discovery Island. The voyage has left us quite low on many sundries. As a result, we watched the HMS Beagle set sail for the mainland, to restock the hold before our trek across the Pacific. Nigh everyone was excited to make landfall, none more so than Mr. Darwin. He has been collecting research at numerous points along the trip, but, he has had the most excitement for the mysteries contained on and within ‘The Island’, the moniker he has given it. The Beagle will return in a few months for us, and we will be on our way before the storm season.

The 13th of May, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Thirty-five
I write this at the end of another exhausting, but truly satisfying, day here on The Island. Our exploration of it has been quite unhindered, with only the most minor of setbacks befalling us. Due to a shortcut to hidden glade we discovered, and an ingenious set of snares that someone devised, our food and wood supplies have been more than ample. Mr. Darwin believes we have fully explored what we can of this land, and that our focus should be on collecting samples and specimens when possible, before our departure. He has had our carpenter, Master Federspiel, intent on the construction of traps with said wood, for trapping the local wildlife. Lieutenant Koch, our resident man-at-arms, will be attending Mr. Darwin on expeditions to hunt and collect these wild, unknown species. Our cook, Signora Pagliaroni, has been adapting what we have our found well to her pots, and has assisted me in the construction of a number of items. I must confess, her bawdy humour and good spirits have raised morale in the camp. However, working in proximity to her, with her wearing less and less clothing every progressing day (due to the rising temperatures and humidity), has raised something in me, as well: unclean thoughts. Perhaps an extra half of an hour devoted to prayer tonight will help…

The 24th of May, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Thirty-five
The collection of samples for Mr. Darwin’s (he has been in the habit of noting to people to call him ‘Charley’ lately; I will refrain) menagerie continues to grow on a near daily basis. We filled all of the collection chests we constructed with various birds, bugs, wood, and too many other things to count. One strange thing Mr. Darwin has had us gather some odd plants that appear to date back to prehistoric times. They appear to be carnivorous! I saw one of the ones we approached consume a small bird that landed on it! As difficult as a task as that has been, our lovely cook has used our map to successfully find and extract a number of these beastly things. Mr. Darwin and Lt. Koch have been responsible for the majority of our trapping. Strangely, Mr. Darwin has been carrying one of the more foul plants with him, a multi-mouthed sticky thing, and has given it the moniker ‘Mr. Chomps’. On their last outing, the hunting party encountered a unique panther-esque creature. Oddly, Mr. Darwin insisted on taking the lead. ‘Mr. Chomps’ in one hand, and an empty bottle of rum (which he fully consumed in the past two days) in the other, he apparently used an almost hypnotic gaze, locking eyes with the beast. He slowly approached until he was nigh nose-to-nose with the large feline! He then subdued it by shattering the bottle over its head, like he was a sailor on leave in a seaside pub brawl.

The 9th of June, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Thirty-five
Despite some of our fears of it being lost at sea, the Beagle has returned! For you see, a storm, the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime, battered us on the island as we anxiously awaited the return of our ship. Our camp was torn asunder, and a number of our helpful tools were lost or destroyed. Luckily, most of Mr. Darwin’s finds have remained intact. Despite the rise in our spirits at the sight of sails and the Union Jack on the horizon, all is not well with the ship. A number of repairs will have to be made before she is remade sea-worthy. There will be some strenuous work ahead, and I, for one, am not anticipating hauling some of the fall tall trees to the shore for repairs.

The 29th of June, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Thirty-five
Repairs to the Beagle have been underway for some time, but the good fortune we faced in our initial exploration of the island seems to have been reversed. Some religions of the Orient refer to ‘kharma’, and I believe we are facing the ‘bad’ aspect of that belief. What malady shall I start relating? A major shaking of the earth itself awoke his one morning, and we found a corner of the island almost sheared away, inaccessible to us. ‘Charley’ noted this was an earthquake, and his explanation of it somewhat boggled us all. The cabin boy, a great help to us all in these past few months, sliced his arm open while crafting a shield to assist us on our hunting expeditions. I applied what little first aid knowledge I had. Without that, and the assistance from the chirurgeon (when his head is not buried in a text), he may have been lost to us. Finally, Charley has become obsessed with hunting animals. Despite the pressing need to leave the island as soon as possible, in fear of both the coming storm season, and losing what we dear things we have collected, he has come to be gone from the camp more than he is in it. Eschewing any aid from Lt. Koch, he has travelled numerous times into the wilds, armed with only a spear, a knife, said shield, and a pity helm he won in a game of cards with Lt. Koch. The first time, he returned after apparently facing down a chamois, which are not known to be native to this part of the world. We hardly believed him, but he his clothes were splattered with blood, and it did seem that he fashioned a necklace from the beast’s horns. The following week, his 4 day sojourn led to Charley coming back to us unshaven, shirtless, and wearing what looked like bear claws on his hands. We are worried for his psyche.

July the 15th, 1835
Mr. Darwin may be on the verge of being lost to us. As dusk approached yesterday, he arrived as we sat around the camp-fire, with a wild look in his eyes, and a gorilla pelt as a cape. He wore the creature’s head as a skull-cap! He noted to us that now he defeated the largest creature on the island, and ate its heart, that he was now ‘King of The Island’. We were bewildered beyond belief. While he has been in his delusional state lately, we have redoubled our efforts to repair the Beagle. A number of our efforts have been hasty, not bringing the level of disrepair up to the standard of true sea-worthiness. Also, in the midst of Charley's temporary loss of sanity, the crew has been making and filling as many barrels as possible with water, to sustain the specimens on the next leg of our return to England. Sadly, there is only one source of clean drinking water on this beautiful, but slightly cursed, isle, so I do not think we will be able to bring back every plant we found. The crew believes that shortly we will be ready to depart, and all the better, as I do not believe Charley’s fragile mental state can bear much more delusion. I will note that our quickly dwindling food stores have been bolstered by Charley’s bloodlust, and that we grudgingly have cooked and enjoyed his conquests.


July the 29th, 1835
Charley vanished from camp in the middle of the night last night, and we only feared the worst. Our search in the morning found him in the middle of a clearing, naked, supposedly in a battle to the death with a creature not visible to our eyes. The chirurgeon administered some of his remaining sedative medicines, and we quickly finished packing the ship. Our journey to New Zealand continues, with Mr. Darwin securely stowed, and under close observation. May God have mercy on his soul…


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We had four players recently attempt the first two scenarios of 'The Voyage of the Beagle'. We had a glorious time, as Darwin, controlled by the first player, primarily, took on a life of his own. In about 10 games of Crusoe, this was the most like an RPG for me, as we really started playing up the storytelling aspect of it. Didn't hurt that the cards, events, etc. eerily added to the atmosphere. Darwin had a lot of hit points, mainly because we finished the first scenario so well. As a result, we had him hunt. A lot. Turns out he had a taste for blood, and ran with it. We turned him into Col. Kurtz.

First scenario: Cook, Missionary, Carpenter, Soldier, Boy, starting items of Bible/Empty Bottle - 66 points: 5 beasts, 4 plants, 5 collections, 1 fossil
Second scenario: Surgeon instead of the boy - 3 of the ship parts at minor repair, 3 at full repair, 1 plant lost

We won't continue our voyage until after the holidays, but, I plan on continuing Friar Deacon's journal.
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Robert Masson
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You made my Saturday! Reading stories like this make the long epic struggle to get this game made make it all worthwhile. Thank you so much for sharing and I can't wait to hear how the next leg of your journey fares.
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Thank you! That was absolutely fun to read
Like Robert I am very anxcious to hear about how the journey continues...
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