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Sailpower: Fun scale combat and exploration in the Age of Sail!
In 2005, Brian Carnes first published Sailpower: Fun Scale Combat in the Age of Sail. The game was an instant hit with historical gamers both young and old, and has developed a dedicated following of players.
In 2009, Brian introduced Ed Wedig to the game after seeing his dedication to other sailing ship games. Ed immediately fell in love with the game, and was eventually brought on board as a senior gamemaster, playtester, graphic designer, and volunteer coordinator.
In 2011, we discussed releasing a revised version of Sailpower, to include all of the new rules that had been added since it's initial release. But, the project was delayed due to both heath and financial reasons.
Now, after 2 years of revisions and development, we are ready to publish Sailpower 2.0. The new rule book will contain:
- over 150 new template ships, including many historical ships from the Napoleonic Era, Revolutionary War era, Golden Age of Pirates, War of 1812 and Battle of Lake Erie. In many cases, you can play ships from different points in their lifespan: when they first launched, when they were refitted, when they were captured, when they were up-gunned for war, etc.
- A fully fleshed-out port and tavern rule system. Want to buy and sell cargo? Now you can. Need to sneak into an enemy port to sell an illegal cargo? Now you can.
- A full treasure system that allows players to treasure hunt islands for all sorts of buried goodies: improved weapons, exotic cargoes, repair materials, stranded travelers, and hidden treasures.
- Previous versions of the Sailpower rulebook have only been available in black&white, but backers will have the option of purchasing the new Sailpower 2.0 book in full, glorious color.
We are seeking funds to print the Sailpower 2.0 book, Quick Reference rule sheets, and produce new resin ship model kits. Ship kits will come unpainted and un-assembled; the ship hulls will come dyed brown, with the small bit (cannons, mast bits, etc) cast in black. The Sailpower rulebook will come in black&white or color, depending on the pledge level. The Sailpower 2.0 Quick Rule sheets will come in color on heavy card stock.
- add $5 to any pledge level to get the Pirate Swag jolly roger charm
- add $10 to any pledge level to upgrade the Sailpower 2.0 book to color
- add $20 to any pledge level to get the limited edition Pinance with carronade
- add $30 to any pledge level to get a Flush deck 8 gun warship
- add $30 (+$25 for Admirals, free for Fleet Admirals) to get an Armed Merchant Sloop kit
- add $60 to any pledge and get a complete set of both the Shipwrecks and the modular Docks. (Retail price: $88).
More options will be unlocked. Stay tuned!
(UNLOCKED!) $6,000 - Flag Sheet: A sheet of ship's flags (British Royal Navy, Pirate, American, French, Spanish, etc) will be added to all Captain and above backer levels.
(UNLOCKED!) $7,000 - Unlock an Armed Merchant Sloop kit: This will be FREE for Fleet Admiral-level backers, a +$25 add-on option for Admirals, and a +$30 add-on option for everyone else!
(UNLOCKED!) $8,000 - We will add 15 "Admiral's Second Voyage" slots that have the same rewards as the Admiral level, but delivery will be August 2013.
(UNLOCKED!) $10,000 - Paper Sails: Pre-printed paper sails for the Pirate Bermuda sloop and 8 gun flush deck warship will be added to all Captain and above backer levels.
$15,000 - Ship Record Sheet Book: A book containing ship sheets for 150 ships in the rulebook. This will be included FREE in all Ensign and above backer levels (retail price $20).
$20,000 - Unlock a 12 Gun Brig Kit: 12 gun brig kit as an add-on to any level for $60. (delivery late-August 2013)
$50,000 - Ship Kit Retooling: We will be retooling several popular Sailpower 1.0 kits: Baltimore Clipper, Bomb Ketch, Quarterdeck Great Sloop, and Great Cutter. These kits will then be offered as add-ons to backers. Prices: To Be Determined. Delivery date: To Be Determined
Ship model pictures
(Adapted with revision from core rules text copyright 2013 Brian Carnes)
What makes Sailpower unique from other sailing ship games?
Sailpower is, as the title suggests, “Fun Scale Combat in the Age of Sail,” a large scale sailing ship game that attempts to keep play accessible to the general gamer, while being rich in historical details. It stresses managing crew, and commanding a warship as opposed to fine points of sailing or just fighting from deck to deck. It focuses on managing individual ships or small fleets of ships as opposed to just big ship-of the-line fleet actions. Sailpower also has rules that allow the players to treasure hunt the game board, interact with ports, and run fast and loose role-play, and generally ‘be a captain!’
What Period does Sailpower cover?
Sailpower covers the bulk of the age of fighting sail, from the post cog era to pre-steam era --or approximately the late Elizabethan thru Napoleonic era. The cannons are abstracted in a general way so that ships from differing era can be played together, or players can choose what era to focus on. Sailpower is perfect for Golden age pirate scenarios, War of 1812, Napoleonics, American Revolution, or even Barbary Coast pirate actions. It is even possible to incorporate Sailpower into a semi-fantasy setting, although there are no fantasy related rules in the core rulebook.
Do you offer other ship designs then those in the campaign to play with the game?
Yes! We currently have kits ranging from a 6 gun galleon from the 1600’s to faster ships such as HMS Speedy or a Baltimore clipper! Available now, or coming soon in 15MM: (as in already sculpted and molded) :
- Small boats in various sizes
- 1 gun pinnace
- 3 gun gunboat (Philadelphia type, currently in limited release)
- Small 8 gun flush deck sloop (the old, smaller starter ship)
- Small 8 gun Quarter deck topsail schooner (a popular little craft that was slightly longer than the flush 8 with 2 masts)
- Flush deck 8 gun sloop (new for Sailpower 2.0, released as a Convention exclusive pre-release last year at Origins)
- Bermuda style 6 gun sloop (new for Sailpower 2.0, released as a Convention exclusive pre-release last year at Origins)
- 10 gun cutter (new for Sailpower 2.0, released as a Convention exclusive pre-release last year at Origins)
- 6 gun quarterdeck armed merchant schooner (based roughly on the Sultana style main built schooners)
- 12 gun great cutter (based on the Royal Navy style large cutters)
- 12 gun Quarterdeck Great Sloop (based on sloop Providence)
- 14 gun flush deck brig sloop (Based on HMS Speedy)
- Bomb Ketch
- 12 gun quarterdeck brig
- 6 gun galleon
- Baltimore Clipper
- Galley Frigate (with parts to build pirate Whydah Galley style or Royal Navy Blanford style)
- 38 gun frigate (special order only)
Coming (in development):
- Cruizer class brig
- Niagara class brig
- USS Enterprise 1799 style schooner
- Escort Galleon
- 28 gun frigate
- Adventure longboat (with or without a cannon)
- 4 gun sloop (coming soon)
- 12 gun sloop
- 16 gun brig (in development)
There are several other designs under wraps as potential Kickstarter unlocks as well.
What scale is Sailpower?
In response to those who have asked about the game’s scale. Sailpower’s native scale is 15MM or 1/100th or 1/8th inch =1 foot. The ground scale is highly exaggerated as an eight foot table is not even a quarter mile of sea if the ground scale were one to one. The Sailpower “sea” scale is set up to replicate the typical ranges and scope of action depicted in period paintings rather than a hard scale. There are several scale conversions in the rulebook including 28MM. Several people have mentioned that they were unsure of the scale due to a recent post on our Facebook for a development prototype in 1/250th or what we are calling “centimeter scale” in house. The idea is to allow the player to seamlessly play in centimeters instead of inches which makes the game about 2.5 times smaller. This is a potential future project and not part of this particular Kickstarter campaign.
I don’t have much space. Can I still reasonably play Sailpower?
Yes, the game has been extensively tested with small sloops and schooners on 3X3 and 4X4 coffee tables. If you want to use very large ships you obviously will need more space, but a battle of sloops on a coffee table can be just as exciting as a pair of frigates, perhaps even more so!
Why don’t all your ships have crew, do you need crew figures to play?
Crew figures are not required to play. The actual crew is managed from the ships sheet. That said, it adds to the look of the game to add crew figures. On most ships, if the builder adds about a dozen crew, the ship looks busy. Because the real crew numbers and locations are on the ship sheet, the builder of the model can place crew in action diorama poses, and glue them down, as they do not directly influence combat. We have been asked if we are offering crew figures. The short answer is no . . . we have never sculpted 15MM figures as there are a good number of 15MM naval figure lines already on the market through others. In order to have a competitive product we’d need our line to be significantly different than other entries in the genre to make it worth the development costs. That said we DO have pewter casting capability (we also own and distribute a line of Renaissance fantasy pewter) and thus we are considering a small range of figures as a stretch goal. There are several factors at play here. What are players looking for in figures that is not already out there, or not out there in the way players would like? Is there interest in more “action” like poses to fit the “diorama” style of Sailpower? Send us your thoughts if this is of interest to you!
Why do many of the pictures shown of Sailpower not have rigging and sails on the ships?
A few reasons:Time:
- The game’s creators have too many ships to make realistic sails for all of them.
- Battle damage: Most players prefer to make the mast removable so the ship can have them shot off!
- Storage space: Fully rigged ships would be hard to store
- Silliness factor: Ships in combat usually carried less than full sail, but the sails often changed drastically as the ship sailed. Any set of sails we put on would be wrong most of the time.
Risks and challenges
The Sailpower 2.0 book is 95% done (the remaining portion will be completed during the month of April), and the revisions on the Sailpower 2.0 Quick Rules is progressing nicely. As soon as the campaign ends, we will be ordering the books, quick rule sheets, and producing the resin model kits. We are planning that everything will get shipped out by early June so that our backers receive their products before Origins in mid-June.
We are fully confident that we can produce the ship model kits during the month of May. There is a chance that the printed books will not be available by early June, in which case we will let our backers know and will ship out the books and kits as soon as we can.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)