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Ice Pirates of Harbour Grace» Forums » General

Subject: Is this a game from Newfoundland? rss

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Ed Carter
United States
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Not from, but certainly about!

Carl and I met at the MIT Strategic Games Society in the Summer of 2004:

At that point Carl had spent the previous four years designing over 20 games covering an incredible range of different styles and media--from kids games like Sneeze to an epic Twilight Imperium style space combat game that makes Glory To Rome look simple.

I, on the other hand, had long since packed my games away in a box marked "File & Forget" and had been working for Staples for ten years--in the past five I'd helped to launch four new business models: / / /

I'd been itching to launch a real business since my first complete failure with Kersplatt! in 1992 and when I started to see the quality of Carl's proto-types it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

One of those proto-types was Ice Pirates--although it only made it onto the first print run when Carl came up with the mechanism to convert a Hex game into a Card game while looking at a couple of Kaboodl cards:

So now we had a solid game about Ice and Pirates that we could fit into our first print run but something was still missing--the early version of the game just didn't make me feel like a pirate. My background is roleplaying and so I went looking for background--a story that would explain why we were sailing around in this field of icebergs looking for treasure.

It turned out my choices were a couple of expeditions that had run into trouble looking for North East / North West passages, or this intriguing story about a 'Pirate Admiral' who had hung out in Atlantic Canada--which I've only actually been to once, but frequently admired from above on trips back to the UK & Europe--it gets cold down there!

A little more research and I found a story about a man walking out across the bay from Harbour Grace and other evidence that this area really does get icebergs:

Conception Bay itself is a squashed hexagon--so it fitted perfectly onto the shape of our board--although with so much history in the area, it was really tough choosing some of the towns.

The one thing I couldn't work out from Google is exactly where Kelly's Island actually is. In the end we added that into the game too (Kelly's Island is positioned randomly) but in the search I found this piece of story-line hidden away in a site I'd looked at before:

Legend holds that Kellys Island was the rendezvous spot of a swashbuckling pirate, Captain Kelly, and his cohorts who terrorized the Atlantic trade routes during the 17th century. Conception Bay was the headquarters for such notorious privateers as Peter Easton, who raided harbours and seized vessels. An intriguing story of treasure on Kellys Island tells of a British naval officer who arrived in 1901 and hired a fisherman to row him out there. When they landed, he set out alone across the small island. Some time later he returned with a large pot which he bore with extreme difficulty. He pulled a gun on the fisherman and demanded to be landed on an uninhabited part of the mainland. Once ashore he tossed a gold coin to the fisherman and disappeared.

I haven't actually visited Harbour Grace yet, but the whole area looks beautiful and--I certainly expect to visit at some point in the not too distant future!

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