Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday 16 July 2018

Pirate Treasure Hunt (Part 1)

      Map borrowed from the Interweb
This last week saw me make an attempt to show proof of concept for my Treasure Hunt ideas.
The rules were fluid, some being made up on the fly for things I hadn't thought of, but these were few and far between.
This will be a fairly long, picture-heavy post (sorry), as I try to show each step of set-up, some thoughts and the game itself.
The setup requires the playing area to be figuratively divided into a number of areas, with an equal amount horizontally and vertically.
Although I think squares are preferable, rectangular areas are also usable.
The imagined grid
So for my game I imagined my area (approximately 40 x 40 inches square) to be divided into 5 x 5 squares, each with a side of of about 8 inches.
The very poorly done photoshopped effort shows (just about) how I imagined it.
I next put a plastic "bush" in the centre of each imagined square. for reference and although not 100% necessary, I found it useful.

Plants to show centres of squares
 Next up was the placement of the treasure hunt tokens(see here) that are the features that the clues are based on.
Placement can be done in any order, but for this trial run I wanted "Lookout Rock" in the central square. The others were placed by dice roll, with the proviso that only one token can be placed in each row or column.
All the tokens and terrain placed.

I selected the first 'column' of squares and diced (1 to 4, avoiding the central row where "Lookout Rock" was)) to see where the "Rusty Anchor" would be placed .
I threw a '2' and thus placed it in the second row, removing the bush in the centre of the square
This was repeated for the remaining three tokens.
From the top row to the bottom row, then we have "the Lonely Grave"; the Rusty Anchor, "Lookout Rock"; "the Monkey God" and finally the "Rock Cairn" I also placed four small jungle pieces and three rough ground pieces randomly, then scattered all my 'grass' bits.

Four pairs of counters for objects that can be found
Next up was sorting out all the bits and pieces needed for the game;
Twenty Event cards (left) and ten "Treasure" Cards (right)
The four needed Characters that can be encountered,
My "crew"; Captain, 1st Mate, 3 crewmen with muskets, and 3 with cutlasses
Four groups of Natives, pygmies etc from my Jimland  stuff
The four animals that can be encountered
Game starting set-up with my crew in the SW corner of the table..
Next up I laid out the twenty  Event cards in a grid representing the table, 1 per square, except for the four corners and the centre square.
These would be removed and acted upon as the crew entered each square.
The five pairs of 'clues" were shuffled and laid out in two piles, one containing North-South clues, the other East-west clues. One pair for each Treasure token.
 All the  needed items were placed within reach and my crew put in their corner starting position. (I  would find out later I would need more)

The concept for this game was pretty basic, you initially get a pair of clues for the location of the first treasure; successfully digging it up gave you the clue to the second treasure, encountering a character may give you access to a third treasure or it could be reached by reading the runes on "Lookout Rock" (which took time).  (This was one of those instances where I was almost making stuff up as I went along.)
My two initial Treasure card clues (bit obvious really)
So before I could set off I needed a part of clues to where the treasure was. Taking a card from each of the treasure clue piles I got these two cards, shown on the right.
It was  one row up and on the fifth column from where we started, so quite a trek!

Monkey God at the top, Cairn bottom left and the treasure site in the bottom centre (ish)
 My crew's first move would be towards the Monkey God and although I would pass through three squares, it was fairly obvious to me that I would only trigger the Event in the Monkey God's square.

Onwards, ever onwards....
Die showing Monkey God square's Event Card
 Taking the event card from that corresponding to the Monkey God square gave me this:
Great start (not)
Quick die roll determined who it was
but he saved " (Needing a 5 or a 6)
Having survived the spear trap, my crew headed east to the dig site, during which we would activate three Events.
Crew moving East
Next encounter:
Quicksand and I had nothing to represent it !
Die roll to determine who it was that was caught in it!
Added a quick bit of black-stuff for the quicksand !
He was quickly rescued (Rescuers needing to pass 2d6 against Fitness)
So, with the crew once more intact we would head east towards the rough ground with the treasure site.

And that dear reader is where I'm going to leave it for this post as it's getting to be quite a long post as it is and I've got about as much again to post up.
As I was playing through I did think that it bore a distinct similarity with "Pulp Alley" games, though in those games the players know where all the plot points (read treasure sites)  are beforehand.

That's I then for this post, but maybe not for this week, as currently I'm intending to write up the rest of this scenario to post in Friday! This is quite a diversion for me, having two posts in a single week, but I also have a back-log of four "Jimland" adventures to post about.

Once more, thanks for taking the time to visit and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.


  1. Nice start. Look forward to part 2.

    1. Thanks Brunmie, I'm already working on part 2.

  2. Now this looks like it is going to be great fun Joe.

    1. Thanks you Micahel, but I wouldn't get too excited.

  3. Very interesting Joe, but a couple of questions if I may ?
    1) How do you decide on size of crew.

    2) The clue cards, Cairn card had North-South on it while the monkey card East-West on it, so does that mean you triangulate North -South from the Cairn & East-West from the Monkey to find the square with the treasure on it.

    3) On the event cards, it says see full description of event, I take it you have a table of some kind that tells you how it works.

    Sorry if I missed something above that pointed these things out.

    1. Hey Frank, I welcome all questions...
      1)As I knew I'd be testing this by myself (it's really designed for two or more cres) I just arbritarily assigned eight crew that could be split into two forces. It wold probably have to increase dependant upon the number of players, size of hostile encounters etc.
      2)The clue cards act more like coordinates. The Monkey God is on row 4 (east west) and the Cairn in on column 5 (North-south), so cross-referencing these orthoganlly will get the site of the treasure. I'll try and make this plainer in the second part.
      3) Yes, I made myself a rules sheet for each encounter, and a set-up sheet. (available on request)
      They were never 100% completed as they're a working document.

  4. As a game tremendously great fun.

    But you know in reality Pirates never buried treasure , it all comes from the book "Treasure Island". However do not let reality get in the way of a good game.

    Bravo sir.

    1. Thanks Clint,yep I know about the Treasure thing -possibly not just "Treasure Island" to blame, but the rumour also that Kidd buried his treasure wilst in court in the US.
      There are many tropes about pirates that probably just didn't happen - Ship's wheels for one... (not in common use until after tthe 1720s iirc, so Blackbeard and many other famous pirates would never have seen one.

  5. Another great report Joe - thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Colin, I don't mind sharing my ideas at all.

  6. Reality aside, I enjoyed the “buried treasure” type romp and look forward to tomorrow’s conclusion

    1. Thanks dGG, it may not be an epic dry run but at least it worled.

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks Jay, (though I didn;t find it that much fun - but keep that secret)

  8. A good start, hope to catch the next post

  9. Thanks Vagabond, second part has been delayed slightly (and blogger won't let me reply directly for some reason)

  10. I well remember your original post on this and have to say you've done a really grand job Joe :-)
    Some cracking ideas (I'm not familiar with the "Pulp" rules so can't comment on any similarity), and I'm really looking forward to the second installment!

  11. Well sounds like fun to me! Nice mix of characters, animals and pirates.
    I look forward to the next installment!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, it would be great fun I reckon once a few things are ironed out.