Pirates (13 players)
Pirates, European powers and privateers all fighting it out on the high seas of the Caribbean - what more could you want?
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Variant Parameters (Version: I / Code: 1.0.8):

Special rules/information:

Created by: Gavin Atkinson
With assistance by: Oliver Auth

It is 1666 and the Spanish dominions in the New World are crumbling. Once the sole domain of the King of Spain, the sea faring nations of England, France and the Republic of Holland have grabbed many former Spanish lands across the Caribbean. But the European powers are not alone in their endeavors. Pirates sail the high seas plundering at will. To counter rival nations and the pirates, each European power has granted letters of marque to a privateer - men authorised to steal and attack pirates and foreign naval vessels at will.

The Pirates! variant places you at the helm of a fleet comprising either a European power, a privateer or a pirate. This variant has many variables:

Special rules

  • There are no armies, just two types of naval vessels: clippers () and frigates (). Clippers cut through the seas in next to no time and can move two places. Frigates can only move one place, but have an extra 50% strength. This means unlike normal Diplomacy when one navy tries dislodging another navy and fails (stand-off), in this variant a single frigate attacking a clipper will succeed. A clipper being held by another clipper though will result in a frigate attack failing etc (strength of 1.5 can't defeat a defense of 2.) Please note, due to the offensive nature of frigates, their attacking bonus only applies when they are the moving unit ie Player 1's frigate (strength 1.5) attacking Player 2's frigate (strength 1 because defending not attacking) will result in Player 1 winning. But if they attack each other at the same time this would be a stand-off (1.5 vs 1.5.) Likewise two clippers (strength of 2) will defeat a single frigate (strength of only 1 when defending.) Also remember a frigate supporting a moving clipper does not give any bonus to the attack. The first phase allows players to choose what units to build - frigates or clippers or a combination.
  • Privateers can attack any other player except the nation that has issued their right to privateer (eg the English privateer Henry Morgan cannot attack the English navy. Similarly the English navy cannot attack Henry Morgan.) Other than this, the privateers and European nations can attack anyone else. It does not imply an automatic alliance. It is possible for a privateer to move into his host nation's undefended SC, and vice versa.
  • There are five special pirate themed SC's where X marks the spot. A unit occupying one of these SC's in the autumn build phase can transform (eg clipper to frigate or frigate to clipper.) The five special SC's are: Treasure Island, Rum Distillery, Mayan Gold, Old Spanish Armory and Buried Treasure.
  • It's not just pirates that inhabit the Caribbean... the whole archipelago is teeming with followers of the occult. This is strongest at the Voodoo Witch's Hut on the island of Cuba. Using black magic the Voodoo Witch can transport your ship over the hills from the northern coast of Cuba to the south, or vice versa. Think of this behavior as like Kiel or Constantinople, just without the canal and a lot more shrunken heads!
  • What else is the Caribbean reknown for? Hurricanes! This variant draws on Mother Nature's ability to interfere with man's wars. In the build phase of 1667 and on, a hurricane () forms randomly on any unoccupied territory. The hurricane will then randomly move to an adjacent territory in spring and again in autumn. If you have a unit in the vicinity of the storm, watch out! The hurricane's strength in spring is still relatively weak and won't destroy units, but the storm's intensity by autumn is devastating, blowing away any units with its destructive winds. If the hurricane hits an SC in autumn (whether occupied or not) its devastating power destroys all value of that SC to the player who controls it, with the SC becoming neutral in the build phase. As a result this can impact on your ability to sustain units (eg a hurricane hits your undefended SC in autumn, destroys the value of the SC by turning it neutral and results in you having to disband a unit elsewhere as your SC count is now less than your unit count.) After the autumn phase (ie entering the next build phase) the hurricane has lost its strength and disappears. However, a new storm will then form somewhere else on the map the following year.
  • This variant is build anywhere. There is an initial build phase before the game begins so players can choose their unit types.
  • Due to the closeness of a number of islands, units can sometimes skip across narrow straits without technically entering them. The spots on this map are:
    1. Between Treasure Island and Hispaniola/Petit Goave
    2. Between New Andalucia and Trinidad (note - this also allows units to move between Tobago and Waters of the Spanish Main)
    3. Between Tortuga and Port-de-Paix (note - this also allows units to move between Windward Passage and North Riff)
  • The blacked out area containing the Pirate Flag, credits and legend cannot be accessed by naval vessels (it is essentially inland territory.) Consider it like Switzerland in Classic.
  • There is sea to the south of Panama, but as the Panama Canal still has another 250 years until its built, units cannot pass to the south. If only the Voodoo Witch had set up shop there!
  • Units cannot pass diagonally between Southwest Caribbean/Eastern Gulf of Darien (and vice versa) and South Caribbean/Western Gulf of Darien (and vice versa.)
  • Players

    European powers, privateers and pirates have distinct starting positions:

  • The European powers start with three units and are all in port
  • Privateers start with two units and are all in port (except for the Dutch privateer, Isaac Rochussen, who begins with three units but all on the high seas)
  • Pirates start with four units and all are on the high seas (while the pirates start with more ships, their lack of starting SCs means they need to capture centres quickly to keep units)
  • The players and their starting positions are:

    European powers:

  • Spain - Havana, Voodoo Witch Hut and Panama
  • England - Spanish Town, St Kitts and Barbados
  • France - St Domingue, Guadeloupe and Martinique
  • Republic of Holland - Curacao, St Martin and St Eustatius
  • Privateers:

  • The Dunkirkers (authorised by Spain) - Caracus and Campeche
  • Henry Morgan (authorised by England) - Port Royal and Providence
  • Francois l’Olonnais (authorised by France) - Tortuga and Florida Keys
  • Isaac Rochussen (authorised by Holland) - Mona Passage, Mid Atlantic and Southeast Caribbean Sea
  • Pirates:

  • The Infamous El Guapo - Northern Gulf of Mexico, Western Gulf of Mexico, Yuchatan Channel and Isla de los Pinos
  • Daniel "The Exterminator" Montbars - Bermuda Triangle, Virgin Islands, Crooked Island Passage and Northwest Channel
  • Roche "The Rock" Braziliano - South Caribbean Sea, Southwest Caribbean Sea, Northwest Caribbean Sea and Northeast Caribbean Sea
  • Bartolomeu "The Portuguese" de la Cueva (the creator of the "Pirate Code") - Gulf of Venezuela, Skeleton Bluff, Waters of the Spanish Main and Central Caribbean Sea
  • Daniel "The Terror" Johnson - North Riff, Mayaguana Passage, Florida Channel and Tongue of the Ocean
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