Scurvy Dogs: Pirates and Privateers is a board game for pirate lovers by pirate lovers.
Play as one of eight classic pirates of the Caribbean, including Blackbeard, Mary Read and Sir Francis Drake.
Steal from the Spanish!
Fight the Kraken!
Stab your friends!
Be in the game!
The money raised will go directly into two groups - printing and art. We have quotes and estimates needed to make a full print run of a high-quality game, including art for over 50 unique cards, a map, tokens and dice.
The more we go over our fund-raising target, the more unique cards we can add to the project. We'd also like to add a two-sided map for increased challenge, as well as more specific and detailed tokens.
Anne Bonny by Obsidian Abnormal
Scurvy Dogs Gameplay
Every player starts off with a Pirate and a Ship. The Pirate has two numbers: Land and Sea. The Ship has two numbers: Speed and Space.
Pirate's Land vs. Sea numbers
These numbers work the exact same way. Whenever you take on a Booty Challenge, the Spanish Armada, Special Challenges or other Pirates, you roll two dice and add them to either the Land or the Sea number.
Each Booty Challenge has a Land and Sea number as well, though they are much higher than a Pirate’s number. The rewards vary on the difficulty of the challenge, and almost every challenge will be noticeably stronger at Sea or at Land.
Special Challenges will be either At Sea only (The Kraken) or At Land only (The Fortress).
Attacking other pirates use either the Land or the Sea number, depending on where you attack said pirates.
Note: the best that you’ll be able to get any Land or Sea number up to is a 7.
Ship’s Speed vs. Space numbers
The smaller ships get you there faster, but you’ll be limited in how much cargo and crew you can carry on board. However, you’ll also be able to out-run more heavily armed ships.
The Early Gameplay
Initially, competing in Booty Challenges will be very difficult. On the map, there’s three shipwrecks conspicuously close to the starting area. Players can “salvage” the wrecks with really simple challenges, and get up to one crew card and one equipment card fairly cheaply. This should equip the ships with enough firepower to then take on the Booty Challenges.
The Main Gameplay
As ship’s crew and equipment improve, completing Booty Challenges will be their main source of treasure. Challenges will either be simple dice-checks the moment they’re encountered, or secret challenges that involve goals that other players can interrupt.
The main goal of the game is to gather up gold. Even though pirates traded in all sorts of treasure, the worth was always assigned as a value in gold first.
Treasure is gained by completing Booty card challenges, stealing from other pirates, slaying the kraken, or sacking The Fortress.
Treasure is lost by spending money on crew members and the shipyard, losing certain Booty Challenges, and buying Letters of Marque from the Governor.
The secondary goal is to not die, which is where Letters of Marque come into play.
Being a pirate was illegal, even for the British “sailors” in Port Royal. But in a simple stroke of politics, there was a loophole - being a privateer. The key difference between the two were Letters of Marque. And getting them was quite simple. All you had to do was attack only the Spanish, and then give lots and lots of money to the British Government.
Some pirates, like Sir Francis Drake, were very good at doing this (note that “Sir” title, he bought it fair and square). Other pirates were not so good at playing by these rules, and they got their necks stretched.
At the end of the game, you count two things: your gold and your Letters of Marque. You have to have enough Letters to not die, and you have to have the most gold to win. How many letters are enough is affected by how many players are playing the game. But if you have the fewest, you’re automatically dead.
Here’s some examples of Booty Challenges you’ll face:
Booty: 30 gold
Keep it safe!
Booty: 24 gold
Before rolling for this challenge, find a deserted island at least 5 squares away from Port Royal to bury it.
Cancel with Rum
If successful, discard one crewman.
If you roll over 17, discard all Letters of Marque
If you lose, discard all crew
Note how each one plays out. First, you’ve got a straight-forward, brute-force card Treasure Fleet. You roll, you try to hit a relatively tough roll (at best, you’ll be needing to roll an 8 on 2d6), and as such it’s one of the bigger financial rewards in the game. Keep it safe! is a secret challenge, meaning you need to hide your goal while sailing around.
And then there’s Mutiny, which is something of an anti-Booty card. Mutiny is special because it encourages you to either prepare for it ahead of time (spending gold on rum) or suffer consequences. And notice that those consequences get worse the more successful you are. If you lose all your Letters of Marque in the last round, what was at one point a safe lead can turn into a very, very dangerous time for a pirate.
The End Game
I love games that have different ending conditions. This is something I wanted in Scurvy Dogs, too.
First, there needs to be an ending that everyone can see coming. In this case, it’s a gold limit. Once all the gold is gone, the game ends.
Second, there’s the “capture the flag” attack. On the map there’s two very clear final destinations, The Fortress and The Kraken. One is a Land-based challenge, and one is a Sea-based challenge. Beating either starts up an end phase for the game.
Third, there’s a secret ending. In the booty challenges, there’s four corners to a treasure map. If a pirate is able to collect all four pieces of the map then reach a secret location, they can surprise everyone by ending the game early.