Background Startup Examples Rules


Rulebook v3.1

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5 Diplomacy

5.1 Alliance

You can if you (and they) wish be allied to any or all of the other pirates on the Main: this has no effect on victory, but may make life easier at times.

To ally with another pirate, each of you must use the Offer Alliance order naming the other. You don't have to do it simultaneously. An alliance remains in effect until one or other party uses the Break Alliance order: this immediately dissolves it.

While allied there are two major useful things you can do: Cooperate With Ally and Joint Attack With Ally.

Cooperate is the lower level of friendship. If you and your ally both order this, and are both in the same Current Area, you will both receive a bonus to the success of your actions that turn, thanks to the presence of a friendly sail on the horizon. You will both find it a little easier to catch prey, evade warships, and so on.

The Cooperate order does not permit the conducting of joint attacks: for that you need to Joint Attack. If you and your ally both order Joint Attack With Ally and are in the same Current Area, you receive the benefits of Cooperate but can also carry out joint attacks. For this to work at all you have to have both named the same specific ship as your target for the turn. For it to work effectively you have to have both ordered the same or similar attack tactics as well. If, for example, you order Opportunity Board and your ally orders Fire to Sink, neither of you will get any benefit from the Joint Attack at all. If your ally had ordered Cripple and Board, though, he / she would try and cripple the target by himself / herself, and you would then both combine together for the boarding attempt.

Joint Attacks are highly effective, much more so than the two partners attacking independently of each other. The two partners divide any treasure gained evenly between them, and each gets 2/3 of the Terror for the attack.

5.2 Turncoats

Rumour has it that some pirates, thoroughly lacking in self-respect and the good graces of buccaneer society, sink so low as to accept the Spanish coin and become turncoats.

You can become a turncoat by using the Turncoat order, but only if (a) you are currently in one of the bottom four places in the Terror Points table, and (b) you have never been a turncoat before.

You remain a turncoat until (a) you use the Turncoat order again to turn back, or (b) you attack (successfully or not) a merchant or warship, which automatically turns you back.

Turncoats may not be allied to any non-turncoat pirates (any existing alliances they may have at the point of turning are dissolved), but they are automatically allied to each other. When you become a turncoat, you are stripped of any titles of honour you may have earned.

When you are a turncoat you earn Terror differently to normal pirates. You get none at all for attacking merchants or warships, but for attacks on pirates you gain Terror as follows:

Why would anyone want to be a turncoat?

Why would anyone want to stop being a turncoat, then?

Note that the Spanish do not take kindly to their turncoats becoming renegades (returning to piracy). Warships hunt renegades more assiduously than they do those pirates who have never been turncoats at all.

Although normally the default is to attack only merchants, when you are a turncoat you will default to attacking only pirates. If you want to attack a merchant or warship, you will have to use an order to do so -- the reverse of the usual situation.

For another pirate who attacks a turncoat, the Terror gained is exactly as normal: there is no bonus Terror for ridding the Main of these vermin.

5.3 Bounties

If you wish you may post a bounty on another pirate. You cannot post a bounty on a merchant or warship: and only pirates can post bounties.

Posting a bounty means handing over an amount of money, which must be taken from your Ship Fund. The first pirate who sinks the pirate on whom the bounty is posted will immediately receive the money. The bounty offer then disappears. Note that if the target of the bountry is sunk by a warship or merchant the bounty will not be claimed: it will still be available for whichever pirate sinks the target pirate's next ship.

There are two orders available, Post Bounty and Post Bounty Anonymously. If you use the former everyone will know what you have done: if you use the latter, everyone will know that the bounty exists, but not who posted it.

With either of these orders you can post a bounty of up to 999 PE. If you want to post more money than this, you must use more than one order, and they will be added together.

Turncoats are just as eligible to post or claim bounties as are other pirates.

5.4 Titles

For those pirates who dedicate themselves most unselfishly to the glory of England and the squishing of her Continental neighbours, the Crown has reward in store. If you sink warships you will be granted a title: as you sink more warships during the course of the game, you will be granted further, more impressive titles.

But titles are not merely honorific (although that should be enough for any red-blooded Englishman!) - they also carry advantages within the game. Unfortunately, life being what it is, the powers on whom you prey tend to resent pirates who have been granted titles by the Queen, and may react accordingly.

Title Number of warships you've sunk Game effects
Pensioner 1 None beneficial, alas; but warships are more likely to choose you to attack
Knight 2 Permanent extra 5% per turn interest on your bank account
Baron 4 Your ship is instantly repaired and its crew restored for free by the Admiralty
Earl 8 You gain Terror at 10% faster from now on
Duke 12 The Admiralty give you a fully-kitted-out Dreadnought to use, warships will target you actively

Note that these effects are all cumulative, so that as you rise through the ranks you still keep the bonuses and liabilities associated with lower levels. Note also that you can get a knighthood from nothing in one turn, but apart from that you cannot rise by more than one title in a turn.

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6 Money

There are three different ways of holding money in Pieces of Eight!: in your Ship Fund, in your Bank Account, or in a Cache of buried treasure.

6.1 Ship Fund

The Ship Fund is actually on your ship, in a chest in the captain's cabin, and travels around with it. All treasure gained goes into the Ship Fund, and all repairs and improvements must be paid out of it. If you lose your ship, through someone sinking it or all the crew getting killed, you will lose all of the Ship Fund. If you are boarded you will probably lose some of it as well. So this is a pretty risky way of holding money.

Note that in general all orders that don't say otherwise must be paid for out of the Ship Fund. If it is insufficient they will fail (or partially fail), no matter how much money you've got in the bank.

Wages are an exception to this generalization: see later for details.

6.2 Bank Account

The safest way of holding money is to pay it into a Bank Account. You can't have a Bank Account until you've declared a Home Area: once you do that, you can pay money into it from, or take money out of it into, your Ship Fund if you so wish. Money in the Bank Account earns interest, and it counts towards victory: no other way of holding money does either of these things.

6.3 Buried treasure

You can if you wish make a stash of treasure, called a cache, that your crew buries on some remote desert island. When you're in the Area where it is you can pay money into it from or take money out of it into your Ship Fund. You can keep caches in as many of the sea Areas as you wish, although you can't have a cache in your Home Area. If you change Home Area to a new Area where you already have a cache, it will be absorbed into your Bank Account.

R. Jimlad Apart from stashing money out o' reach o' warships, matey, having yer treasure buried is a good way of concealing how well ye're doing. And it won't get taken by the pesky Admiralty if ye get given a Crown Vessel!

You can thus have up to eight caches at any time, one in each Area apart from your Home (or nine if you have no Home).

Caches differ from Bank Accounts in three other ways: they do not count towqards victory, they do not earn interest, and there is a small chance that they may be raided by another pirate. The way this works is that the larger the cache is, the more likely that one of your crew will let slip a hint about it in some dockside tavern, and a treasure map for it will be generated. This map may then be given to one of the other pirates, who can then attempt to rifle the cache. If you have a cache of 100 PE, it is about 10% likely each turn to generate a map.

Why would you want to use a cache? Two reasons: you might not be able safely to get into your Home Area, for fear of warships or other pirates, but still want to unload treasure from the ship. Or you might not want to boost your Bank Account by too much, for fear of becoming an obvious target. Or you might think you are likely to lose your ship and have to accept a Crown Vessel, in which case the Admiralty will sequester your Bank Account.

If you have a cache and are concerned about it being raided by another pirate, you can (if you're in the same Area) use the order Defend Cache, which gives you a chance of heading off the raider. This does not prevent you doing other things as normal during the turn.

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7 Orders

Each turn you have available a certain number of order slots, which will be made apparent on your turnsheet. You start the game with 6 slots: you can buy more slots with Terror Points, no more than 1 slot per turn, to a maximum of 30 slots. With more slots you can write orders in either greater numbers or greater sophistication (orders which demand greater experience on your crew's part take up more slots).

Each turn you are asked if you want to buy a new order slot or not, and if so, how. You can buy it from Terror Points you expect to earn on that turn (in which case if you don't earn enough you won't get it), or you can buy it from those you already have (which is more expensive).

In general you can pick any combination of orders from the list that you like. Some of them, though, where it says so, are mutually exclusive: that is, you shouldn't write more than one of them in a given turn. If you do, only the last one you wrote will be counted, and the other(s) will be wasted.

Except in this situation, it makes no difference what order you write your orders on your turn. All are dealt with at the appropriate point of the turn, according to the processing order.

Again, some of the orders you can use more than once each, although for most of them there wouldn't be any purpose in doing so. This should be pretty obvious from the description, but those which there might be a point using more than once are noted accordingly.

The number in the second column is the number of order slots each of the orders costs to use.

Where an order talks about "area X", "player X", "specified ship X" or whatever, you should on your turn give both name and number – so write "Doldrums (8)", "Captain Blood (2)" or "Saucy Nancy (35)" respectively. If you only have one or the other you may end up with the wrong thing.

7.1 Home area orders

You can use any of these orders in combination if you wish (although for some of them it'd be pretty pointless).

Declare area X to be your initial Home

1

The main differences between your Home Area and others are that your bank is here and repairs etc are cheaper. Alas, it is most probably the first place warships will try if they come looking for you.
Change Home Area to area X

2

If things are getting too hot you can change Home Area: your bank will move and will automatically absorb any cache you already have in the destination Area. Once you have chosen a Home Area you can never go back to not having one at all: you can only move it. You must be in your existing Home Area to order this.
Display Home Areas of all pirates

2

Lists the Home Areas of all 12 pirates.
Display own local knowledge

1

Lists your local knowledge of all nine Areas. Any that you have been given by allies will have been incorporated.
Display own plus allies' local knowledge

2

This version includes allies' knowledge that they have not (yet) given you. It doesn't actually share their knowledge with you, it just tells you how good it is.

7.2 Patrol

These two are mutually exclusive. You must be either in your Home Area or not.

Patrol in Home Area

-

This sets which of the nine Areas you will spend the turn in, unless any other order overrides it. If you have no Home declared, you will be in a random Area. Each turn you spend in a given Area raises your local knowledge of that Area. This is the default order, which will be applied if you don't say differently.
Patrol in specified non-Home Area X

1

Use this if you want to be in a particular Area that is not your Home. Being in a given Area raises your local knowledge of that Area, and you can bury treasure in a non-Home Area.

7.3 Target screening

These five orders are all mutually exclusive:

Only merchants are targets

-

You will only consider attacking merchant ships. This is the default, for players who are not turncoats: turncoats get 'Only pirates are targets' as default instead. Turncoats who wish to attack merchants or warships must use another order to do so.
Only warships are targets

1

As above only warships.
Only pirates are targets

1

As above only pirates. Turncoats get this order for free, without having to use a slot for it.
All types of ship are targets

2

Your crew will consider attacking any of the three types.
No ships are targets 1 You will simply lurk about and lick your wounds for a season, and will not attack any ships at all. Note that you will still return fire if fired upon.

So are these four:

Only vessels smaller than self are targets

-

Your cowardly crew only consider easy prey. Your crew estimate size by category only, so if your ship is a Cog you can attack no other Cogs using this order, even if yours is a couple of feet longer. This is the default.
Vessels same size or smaller are targets

1

As above only including vessels of your own size category.
Any size vessels are targets

2

The Main holds no terrors for those who use this order.
Vessels up to size X are targets

3

It still does for these (or perhaps they're just more cautious).
R. Jimlad If your lookouts report that no merchants smaller than your ship are expected in your area next turn, these orders are godsends!
Specified ship X is target

3

Seek out and attack a specified ship in your Current Area. It must have been visible to you at the end of the previous turn (so if you change Area this turn, this order is useless).
Specified ship X is target – other if absent

4

As above, but if the specified ship is not in the Current Area you will attack something else instead, rather than just twiddling your thumbs.
Specified ship X in unknown Area is target

5

Seek out a specified ship wherever it may be found.

NOTE: these three 'specified ship' orders are mutually exclusive. They also exclude any of the earlier screening orders. So if you want to attack ship X which is larger than you, you don't need to order 'Attack any size' as well as 'X is target'. Also note that if you use one of these specific orders you will get a bonus for catching the target ship compared with a pirate who is just cruising around opportunistically using one of the earlier orders.

7.4 Target selection

These three orders are mutually exclusive:

Attack nearest target

-

Of ships that come through the class and size screens, attack the nearest one first.
Attack most damaged target

1

As above only attack the most damaged first.
Attack slowest target

2

As above only attack the slowest first.
R. Jimlad Which one of these orders is best for ye depends on yer ship, me hearty. If ye've limited fire-power, the slowest ships are the best to attack if ye're after sinking 'em. If ye've a fast ship ye can gain Terror quickly by attacking the most damaged. Elsewise, the nearest is probably safest bet.

7.5 Type of attack

These four orders are mutually exclusive:

Opportunity fire to sink

-

Blast away as soon as in range, and continue until the target has sunk.
Opportunity board

1

Come up alongside and board, to slay crew and grab treasure -- no cannon fire.
Fire to cripple and then board

3

Blast away as soon as in range but stop when target is crippled, then board as above.
Fire to cripple, then board, then fire to sink

5

As above, but after boarding fire to sink the target.

So are these three:

Boarding is cautious

-

Crew retreat, grabbing what they can, on taking what they consider to be reasonable losses.
Boarding is reckless

1

Crew hype themselves up like the bloodthirsty maniacs they are at heart. On average losses on both sides will be about twice as great as with cautious boarding, so they are more likely to slay all the enemy crew; but more likely to take heavy losses doing so.
Boarding is intelligent

1

Crew will press attack if it is apparent they will win, but otherwise they will retreat.
R. Jimlad Intelligent boarding? Sounds like an oxymoron [as we say in Davy Jones's Locker] to me – we never had none o' that in my day! Still and all, this is probably a good order to use if ye have but a small crew.

7.6 Evasion orders

These four are mutually exclusive:

Evade all ships

1

While doing this you cannot also attack, but you can do pretty much anything else.
Evade all warships

1

You can still attack merchants and pirates while doing this.
Evade all pirates

1

You can still attack merchants and warships while doing this.
Evade all warships and all pirates

2

You can still attack merchants while doing this.

You can combine this one with any one of the other Evade orders, or of course use it by itself:

Hide from specified ship X

2

You can attack anything apart from the specified ship while doing this (apart from ships you are also evading).

NOTE: none of these evasion orders are guaranteed to succeed. The way they work is, if a ship is searching for you and you are trying to evade or hide from it, it has a chance of not being able to find you at all. This chance is improved by you having a local knowledge advantage (and vice versa of course): on average, if you have the same local knowledge as the ship you are trying to avoid, you'll have about a fifty : fifty chance of evading it with this order.

And, of course, even if you fail to evade it, it still has to try to catch you in the normal way.

7.7 Treasure and bank orders

None of these are mutually exclusive:

Pay X into Bank Account

1

Takes X PE (if you have them) out of your Ship Fund and pays it into your Bank Account. If you have no Bank Account, this order automatically creates one for you. You can only use this order if you are in your Home Area.
Take X out of Bank Account

1

The opposite of the above. Again, you can only use it if you are in your Home Area.
Conditional pay into Bank Account leaving X

1

As above but takes place towards the end of the turn. You specify the amount of money you want to have left in your Ship Fund: this order automatically pays in the excess. You can only use this order if you are in your Home Area.
Conditional take out of Bank Account to bring up to X

1

The opposite of the above. You specify how much money you want in your Ship Fund after the withdrawal. You can only use this order if you are in your Home Area.
Recover treasure from area X to home port

1

You can at any point recover one of your caches of buried treasure and add it to your bank account. To do this you must be in your Home Area that turn.
Bury X PE treasure in cache 1 You can only use this in an Area that is not your Home. It removes the specified amount from your Ship Fund and buries it in the Area. If you already have a cache in this Area, the new amount will be added to it.
Dig up X PE out of treasure cache 1 The opposite of the above: withdraws the specified amount from your cache of buried treasure in your Current Area into your Ship Fund.
Conditional bury treasure in cache leaving X PE on ship 1 Like the above but happens at the end of the turn. Any money you have inyour Ship Fund in excess of the specified amount will be buried in a cache, or added to the existing cache in your Current Area.
Conditional dig up treasure from cache to make ship up to X PE 1 The opposite of the above: at the end of the turn, money will be taken out of the cache in your Current Area to bring your Ship Fund up to the specified amount.
Raid treasure cache using specified treasure map X

2

If you have the appropriate treasure map or are accompanying an ally who has it (ie you and your ally both use this order on the same turn), you can attempt to dig up another player's treasure. You must be in the right Area to do this (which the map will tell you). You cannot raid a cache if you or your accompanying ally do not have the map for it. If the owner is in the same sea Area and is attempting to defend their treasure, they will have a chance to frustrate your attempt.
Defend buried treasure

2

You can opt to be paying particularly close attention to safeguarding any buried treasure you have in your Current sea Area, if you wish. Obviously, no point using this if you are in an Area where you have no treasure buried, or if you are in your Home Area. If another pirate tries to raid your cache while this order is operating, you will have a chance to stop them, which will be affected by your respective local knowledge.

7.8 Diplomatic orders

Offer alliance to player X

1

The alliance will take effect if the other player makes a corresponding offer, on the same or a subsequent turn. It will then remain in effect until broken by either party. You can be allied to as many other players as you wish.
Break alliance with player X

1

Breaks alliance with the specified player. Either party can break an alliance using this order, and it will immediately collapse.
Give local knowledge to ally X

1

Gives a specified player, to whom you are already allied, your current local knowledge. It simply adds to their own existing knowledge, so they will retain it even if the alliance is broken. You cannot give local knowledge to a pirate who is not your ally.
Cooperate with ally X

2

If you and your ally are in the same Area, and they also issue this order in the same turn, you will help each other out in small ways during the turn. See Alliance rules.
Joint attack with ally X, share treasure and TP

3

Your ship and theirs can combine militarily and fight with combined effectiveness. All treasure gained is shared, each player gets 2/3 the TP. See Alliance rules.
Give X money to player Y

1

Need not be to an ally. It goes straight into their bank account. They need not be in the same sea Area, you need not be at Home; no restrictions at all, really. You can give no more than 999 PE using this order (although you can use it multiple times on the same turn if you wish).

7.9 Improve orders

These are divided into groups of three, as you can see: each aspect of the ship's equipage can be Improved, Conditionally Improved or Downgraded.

In each case you can only do one of these three things in a turn. You can combine them as you wish, though, so you could for example Improve Speed, Conditionally Improve Officers and Downgrade Rum all in one turn. if you wanted.

Note that any of these Improves or Conditional Improves are cheaper in your Home Area than they are elswewhere – see the How Much Does It Cost? table for details. Note also that you do not get any money back for Downgrading your ship.

Improve guns

1

At the beginning of the turn, add 1 pair of guns to the ship.
Conditional improve guns

2

At end of turn, improve as above if possible / needed.
Downgrade guns

1

At the beginning of the turn, remove 1 pair of guns from the ship.
Improve officers by X (max 2)

1

At the beginning of the turn, add 1 or 2 officers to the ship.
Conditional improve officers by X (max 2)

2

At end of turn, improve as above if possible / needed.
Downgrade officers by X (max 2)

1

At the beginning of the turn, remove 1 or 2 officers from the ship.
Improve protection

1

At the beginning of the turn, add 1 point of Protection to the ship.
Conditional improve protection

2

At end of turn, improve as above if possible / needed.
Downgrade protection

1

At the beginning of the turn, remove 1 point of Protection from the ship.
Improve speed

1

At the beginning of the turn, add 1 point of Speed to the ship.
Conditional improve speed

2

At end of turn, improve as above if possible / needed.
Downgrade speed

1

At the beginning of the turn, remove 1 point of Speed from the ship.
R. Jimlad Why would ye ever want to downgrade, ye're asking, shipmates? The most common 'un is to downgrade Speed so that ye can improve Protection, or vicey-versa o'course: ye can do this all in one season if ye wish, as downgrading happens afore improving.
Improve lookouts

1

At the beginning of the turn, add 1 lookout station to the ship.
Conditional improve lookouts

2

At end of turn, improve as above if possible / needed.
Downgrade lookouts

1

At the beginning of the turn, remove 1 lookout station from the ship.
Improve rum

1

At the beginning of the turn, add 1 barrel of rum to the ship.
Conditional improve rum

2

At end of turn, improve as above if possible / needed.
Downgrade rum

1

At the beginning of the turn, remove 1 barrel of rum from the ship.

7.10 Ship orders

Repair ship by X SP

1

At the beginning of the turn, repair the ship by X SP if needed / affordable. This will be cheaper in your Home Area.
Conditional repair

2

At end of turn, repair by 10 if needed / affordable. Cheaper at Home.

Note that you can only use either of these orders once in a turn, and never both.

Build new ship

3

You instantly build a new ship to your own specification, junking your existing one. All costs and restrictions are as at startup. The new ship will appear in your Home Area, or a random Area if you have no Home Area. You retain local knowledge, order slots and captain, everything else (including crew, rum and guns) disappears.
Conditional build new ship

4

As above but only if your existing ship is sunk / crew killed / crew mutiny.
Buy ship from player X for Y

3

You immediately discard your own ship and take player X's, provided that a corresponding Sell order has been made.

These three orders above are mutually exclusive.

Sell ship to player X for Y

3

You immediately sell your ship to player X, providing a corresponding Buy order has been made – you can only do so if you buy a new ship on the same turn.

7.11 Crew orders

Improve crew by X (max 10)

1

At the beginning of the turn, add X new crew to the ship. This will be cheaper in your Home Area. Note that new crew have morale 50 and when they join they are averaged with existing crew, so if your current morale is greater than 50 it will fall as a result of this order (and vice versa).
Conditional improve crew by X (max 10)

2

At end of turn, improve as above if possible / needed. Cheaper at Home.
Downgrade crew by X (max 10)

1

You lose X crew from your roster. You get no money back for them.

Note that you can only use any of these orders once in a turn, and never more than one of them.

Emergency improve crew

2

If the ship is under strength at the end of the turn (doesn't have enough crew to man guns / lookouts / speed), recruit as many crew as are needed, to a maximum of ten.

Note that you CAN use this order in combination with any one of the above three.

Improve morale by spending X

1

At beginning of turn boost morale by one class (10 per cent). Cheaper at Home
Conditional improve morale if it falls below X

2

As above but at end of turn and only if below specified level. Cheaper at Home.

Note that you can only use either of these orders once in a turn, and never both.

7.12 Lookout and rumour orders

You can use any of these orders as often as you like in the turn.

Report all ships seen during turn

-

This is the default lookout report, which everyone gets for free. It includes everything in your glasses at the end of the turn, in your Current Area. Bear in mind that pirates and warships may move to a different Area immediately the next turn starts. Also bear in mind that your lookouts will probably not be able to identify all of the ships present, or may be able to provide only partial information.
Report all merchants expected in Current Area next turn

1

This gives a full list of all the merchants you can expect to see next turn if you stay where you are. It will most likely include some your lookouts were unable to identify with just the default order. It will not report pirates or warships.
Report all merchants expected in Area X next turn

2

This is just like the above order, but for an Area that is not your Current one.
Report expected location of merchant X next turn

2

Reports to you the Area the target ship will be in next turn. This order will not work for pirates or warships.
Seek rumours of treasure on ship X

1

Gives you the approximate amount of treasure the specified ship is currently carrying.
Lowdown on ship X

2

Gives you full statistics of the specified ship as it stands at the end of the turn.
Obtain strategy of pirate X

2

Your crew ask around the Main and find out what strategy the specified pirate uses this turn (ie. the player's orders).
Slouch about on the Main

1

Gives you an extra Random Event.
Post bounty of Y on pirate X

1

You must pay Y over immediately, from your Ship Fund. When X is destroyed, by sinking or boarding, whoever did it gets the money (if they are a pirate).
Post bounty of Y on pirate X anonymously

2

As above only you preserve your anonymity.
Get charts for Area X

1

Gains you a level of Local Knowledge of Area X – default is your Current Area. It costs 20 PE to go from 0 to 1 local knowledge, 40 to go from 1 to 2, 80 from 2 to 3, 160 from 3 to 4 and 320 from 4 to 5.

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