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British Vs Pirates: Volume 1» Forums » General

Subject: Concept: The Flying Dutchman (one-versus-all mode) rss

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RJ
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Ahoy Captains! I have been working on this idea for a while now, considering all the current rules and elements of the core game, in hopes that I could create a really unique addition to future BvP volumes. I know that Apollo has said many times that he wants the factions to stay historically realistic, but who's to say we can't delve into historical, fictional legend? Plus, what's a good pirate story without the legendary spectral ship that haunts the seas and strikes fear into every sailor's heart? That being said, I present to you, the wholly untested, unofficial, and for all intents and purposes unbalanced captain of sailor's nightmares...

The Flying Dutchman

(A One-Versus-All Mini-Expansion for British vs. Pirates)


The Premise

During the BvP KS campaign, someone (I do not recall who) mentioned the possibility of adding fictional or fantasy elements to the game in the future, like "ghost ships." Since then, I have toyed with that idea, and only came to one conclusion: If we are going to add ghost ships, let's go all the way. Let's add the most feared Captain of the Seas, the Flying Dutchman.

A major inspiration that I do not deny I drew from is the spectacularly entertaining Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. In the movies, "The Flying Dutchman" was the name of the ship, and the captain's name was Davy Jones. However, in historical fiction, the Flying Dutchman was the man-a Dutch captain lost at sea someone reincarnated and cursed to roam the seas forever. The exact name of the captain seems to be a point of contention, but the official literary work identified the original captain with the surname "Van Der Decken." In tribute to this literary work, I decided to simply allude to the captain's former identity in the ship's name, and call the captain himself The Flying Dutchman. This seems to be more in line with the fictional works. If you want to read more on this, I recommend checking out the following pages:
https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4427
http://www.occultopedia.com/f/flying_dutchman.htm

Next is the matter of implementation. In the stories of legend, the Dutchman and his ship are a fearsome force that not of this world. His ship navigates the seas with ease. The Dutchman captain as cruel as he is cursed and is the head of an unholy and undead crew. In my mind, the only way to truly inject this theme into the game is to make the Captain extremely powerful. Overtly so. Well, naturally, this led me to believe that the best way of going about this is to employ a One-Versus-All mode. One player plays the powerful Flying Dutchman, terrorizing the high seas, and the rest of the players will attempt to defeat him else be sent to Davy Jones's locker themselves. A simple combat scenario, but we can easily apply some story elements to this. (Again, BvP's modular nature revealing itself).

The Setup: One-Versus-All Mode

E One player is the Flying Dutchman. He takes the Ship card for Van der Decken's Vessel, the Flying Dutchman card, the Kraken tile and hidden movement board (yes, you heard right, Kraken AND hidden movement, covered in more detail later)
E All other players select one ship and captain combination along with their faction deck. These players will be cooperating and never actively attempting to sink each other in this game.
E Begin with the standard setup with three sea tiles. The Flying Dutchman places their ship miniature on any hex in the farthest column on one end, and each of the other players ships on any hex in the farthest column on the other end, in their desired configuration.
E The Flying Dutchman places a player screen in front of his/her hidden movement board, and places all ship tokens to match starting player positions. The Dutchman also places the Kraken's initial position anywhere on his/her sea tile, keeping this position hidden for the start of the game.
E Battle commences per the same rules of the game, with some new additions when interacting with the Kraken (see Kraken section later).
E Win Conditions: The Flying Dutchman player wins by successfully eliminating ALL enemy players. If the Flying Dutchman's ship is sunk, the win is shared by the entire opposing team.

The Captain: The Dutchman


Design comments:
Of course, The Flying Dutchman can captain no other ship than his own, for that is his curse. Instead of a Ship Preference Bonus to stats, I decided to add a little bit of flavor to him. Imagine being a sailor on a ship suddenly boarded by the Dutchman crew's--Grotesque, undead, spectrals of the deep. Kind of demoralizing, huh? I let his grapple value reflect this potency, and added a unique mechanic of "bonus grapple". Poor sailors about to meet their maker are given the chance, through the Dutchman's "mercy", to join his crew; their life spare for one of eternal servitude. The weak and cowardly will of course take this choice, and so boost the Dutchman's crew and thus his grappling potency. I thought it made thematic sense! It would make the Dutchman's successive boarding attempts that more much effective as he grew his crew.


The Ship: Decken's Vessel


Design comments:
First thing you may notice, the Dutchman's ship is ridiculously strong. This is often a common occurrence in one-versus-many games. The person playing the overlord-type character has to have some significant leverage over the other players. It is the only way you win from a position outnumbered. Decken's Vessel is a ghost ship, immune to the sea's winds (in my mind), and so more freedom in movement and speed can really allow the Dutchman player to compete against multiple ships. Furthermore, the Dutchman becomes much more lethal to engage up-close, forcing the enemy team to truly coordinate their attacks and not send ships in one at a time simply to get eaten alive!

Now, I fully recognize that this will need extensive testing, but without a concrete idea of other faction's cards and ship strength values, I am erring on the side of safety and making the Dutchman's ship reasonably strong. The critical points of balance, aside from the ship's stats, are how many players, within reason, could take the Dutchman ship on at once, and still have the Dutchman have a chance at winning the game? Something to be discussed.


The Kraken: Hidden Movement!

Design comments:
This is my FAVORITE part of this concept, and I will not deny I am just a teensy bit proud of conceiving it. Similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I wanted to involve control of the Kraken. The Dutchman can send his fell beastie onto ships, adding another fascinating and tense element to the game: hidden movement.

The idea is that the Dutchman player will maintain a smaller hidden board, mirroring the movement of all players on the main sea tiles. On this hidden board, the Dutchman is also controlling the fearsome Kraken. I feel like the hidden movement aspect is truly the way to go to implement this, because who honestly would see a giant squid attack coming???

The players are given a chance to predict its movement, however, because the Dutchman player must announce whether or not the Kraken moves on that turn. Be ware if the Dutchman seems to be keeping the Kraken stationary for multiple turns in a row: someone may be running into a trap! The rules for the Kraken are bit lengthy, so I included them in the image screenshot below:



General thoughts, future considerations


That concludes my initial concept for implementing a One-vs-All mode in BvP, and my personal opinion on the implementation of the terrifying cursed captain of sailor lore: The Flying Dutchman.

Nothing here is permanent. I set out to create a framework and I think I achieved that. This is a bit of a labor of love as well, because of how incredible the community and our beloved designer Apollo (and his missus, Captain Redne!) has been throughout the entire campaign. I claim absolutely no legal copyright of this concept and I offer all of the ideas to Apollo for future use and encourage him to freely tweak it to his liking!

I encourage all passerby (KS backers and non-backers alike) to participate in the discussion of developing this idea further. Pose questions. Be critical. Be nitpicky. Discuss any element you wish, from broad concepts down to the nitty gritty numbers. This is all unofficial, but I think it is a concept which we can work on and refine together. I hope you enjoyed reading all about it, and I welcome all discussion.
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Ji Atkinson
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Waratah West
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Nice write up mate.

i sent a private email very similar to Apollo a little while ago but used a different ship in case someone wanted to use the Davy Jones / flying Dutchman angle alone.

Where yours is a stand alone 1 v all. i was aiming at story based game over a bunch of missions. similar to you i had wind not affecting the ghost ship, i also had it able to pass through islands and other impediments without damage due to its incorporeal nature. if it ended its turn on a space that was occupied it took 1 damage to its everything.

I think your idea would be a lot of fun, but you would need to incorporate skill cards. this is where you could do your Kraken attacking or doing special stuff and you wouldnt need a different board for it then. you could still have rules and stats for it and if it was destroyed then it would be out and kraken cards would be useless.
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Apollo Weston
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SAN LUIS OBISPO
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@RJ, Okay...... Let's give this a good read I'll get back to you :-)
 
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John Cross
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Dang RJ, that is quite the write up! Good stuff.
A question does come to mind. Do both the ship and the kraken start their armor d6 at 6? If that is the case, then both are indeed powerful. Maybe too powerful. A player would need to roll a 16 or better to damage either to begin with. That means that a player would need to roll a 12, be in a cannon's "sweet range" to get maximum bonus (+3), and have a captain with an additional attack bonus of +1. You could also play a skill card if you have one in your hand at the time, so you might only need to roll a 10 or 11. Yikes!
Consider that the average d12 roll is 6.5. An unmodified roll should succeed half the time for average armor. An average difficulty for a cannon in its sweet range (+3 bonus) would be 9.5. Just for reference.
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RJ
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Zomboyd wrote:
I think your idea would be a lot of fun, but you would need to incorporate skill cards. this is where you could do your Kraken attacking or doing special stuff and you wouldnt need a different board for it then. you could still have rules and stats for it and if it was destroyed then it would be out and kraken cards would be useless.


Thank you Ji! I like the idea for skill cards for the Kraken but I do worry that it may bog down the gameplay flow by introducing another point of analysis for the Dutchman player. I know the rules for Kraken control seem complicated, but I wrote them in a way where once you know how it works, it almost never interrupts the game flow until you release it, and even then, the release/restrain/repel Kraken phases are pretty simple.

A thought: Perhaps then we can include a Dutchman deck of cards that have bonus abilities related to the Kraken, along with all the ship abilities that come with a deck. For example, cards can move the Kraken 3 spaces this turn, or making the Kraken immune to cannon fire for a turn, etc. I am just spitballing ideas. I like the thought of it!

Regarding the secondary board: I think the secondary board's main appeal is not only the ability to control the Kraken, but to have the hidden movement portion. The idea would be that the Kraken tile is never on the board except when the Dutchman releases it. As soon as the Kraken is repelled, it is removed from the board again until the Dutchman unleashes it elsewhere. Adds some nice tension to the game, I think, and prevents some elaborate cat-and-mouse chase. Also, if size and table space is an issue, I am imaging a very, very small scale size board. It could just be miniature sea tiles of cardstock really. Think of those magnetic foldout chess/checkerboards. It just needs to match the sea tiles down to scale. I realize this may be unrealistic, but I do not know how else to do it.

WayCoolSuperDude wrote:
Dang RJ, that is quite the write up! Good stuff.
A question does come to mind. Do both the ship and the kraken start their armor d6 at 6? If that is the case, then both are indeed powerful. Maybe too powerful. A player would need to roll a 16 or better to damage either to begin with. That means that a player would need to roll a 12, be in a cannon's "sweet range" to get maximum bonus (+3), and have a captain with an additional attack bonus of +1. You could also play a skill card if you have one in your hand at the time, so you might only need to roll a 10 or 11. Yikes!
Consider that the average d12 roll is 6.5. An unmodified roll should succeed half the time for average armor. An average difficulty for a cannon in its sweet range (+3 bonus) would be 9.5. Just for reference.


Thanks for the thoughts, John! Your criticisms are absolutely valid and just what I was hoping to get. I have no idea of the general strength levels across ships, but I did not want the Dutchman to be a pushover either. Yes, the idea would be that both the Dutchman and Kraken start at 6 pips. What base "armor" value would you think is reasonable then to give players a reasonable chance to hit, while still giving the Dutchman player staying power against multiple foes?

Another angle to consider it from: combining dice rolls between ships. What if players can coordinate an attack together, fire one turn after another, and so combine those dice. Keeping the Dutchman base values as is at +10, would this also be a reasonable alternative? I am curious what your thoughts are.

And again I am rambling, but now I am thinking how important turn order ("initiative") could be in a one-versus-many mode. Do we do a fixed turn order? Do we roll for turn order? The latter would certainly allow for more interesting planning and table-talk.

Phew. Yep this is definitely a work in progress, folks. Thank you so much for the feedback.
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Ji Atkinson
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OK RJ you now have me revisiting my ghost ship idea and Writing it up in full detail as well as my story missions for it and background.
 
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