Lords of the Spanish Main
Sun Nov 5 02:40:07 UTC 2006
A game by Philip Eklund and
Sierra Madre Games, 2006
Who Are We?
Each player represents one of these:
- The Duke de Lerma, advisor to the Spanish throne
- Diego Fernandez de Córdoba, controller of the treasure fleet
- James Kettler, King of Courland
- Sir Francis Drake
- Peter Stuyvesant
- The Buccaneer Le Vasseur
- Cardinal Richelieu
- Sir Walter Raleigh
- Ganga Zumba, King of the Escaped Slaves in NE Brazil
Where Are We?
In full color on thin cardboard, about A3 sized, depicting the Caribbean
region from Florida to Venezuela, the Yucatan to Antigua. The sea is
divided into zones and islands are studded with flags.
When Are We?
Who Else Is There? (just a subset):
- Pope Urban VIII
- Pope Paul V
- Oliver Cromwell
- Obeah Sorceress
- Cardinal Mazarin
- Puerto Rico Black Market
- Anne of Austria
- Arawak Queen
- Company of Scotland
- Puritan Pilgrims
- Svenska Ostindiska Kompaniet
- Tortuga Pirates
- Buccaneer King
- Pirate Seafarers
- English Sea Dogs
- Merchant Raiders
- Brandenburg Co.
- Dutch Vrijbuiters
- Pirate Warlord
- House of Stuart
- Stadholder of Holland
Who Else Is Included?
- 120 cards (must be separated or cut out)
- 16-page illustrated rule book including sample game,
character descriptions and notes
- 8 A3-sized color player displays
- 78 counters in the form of stand-up tents
What are the phases in a turn (year)?
What are the main game mechanisms?
- Reveal a card.
- Capitalization and skullduggery
- Auction card or Resolve event.
- Trade, Raid & Interdict
- Projects mature.
What are some of the more interesting mechanisms?
- Every 10 years the treasure fleet sails to Spain which represents
both a great potential profit for its owner and a big target
for the rest of the players acting as pirates/privateers.
- Each player can also control merchant ships which earn money by trading
as well as pirates to prey on others' merchants.
- Players can also found and raid and/or besiege colonies.
What kind of background notes come with the game?
- Pirates interdict the treasure fleet by going to the pirate deck
and choosing a sea region. This means they are covering this region and
no other and nobody else is covering this region. Then if the fleet chooses
this region, they can try to interdict.
- Naval combat is conducted by each player employing a square tactical battle
card. By its orientation the player chooses a tactic and both reveal at the
same time. The intersection of the two on the table that corresponds to
the table bearing their respective seamanship levels and control of the
weather vane gives the result.
- Land combat is a simple affair, by attrition. Players remove until
only the winner remains. It seems likely that most situations will be
resolved by negotiation long before that point, however.
- Anything in the game can be negotiated except for soldiers and one's
- There are wars that tend to come and go. In many ways they are
opportunities because players of a nation at war can attack freely, but
otherwise they have to suffer the onus of a pirate flag.
- As there were religious wars in the period, each personality is also
rated for a religion. One rule in particular shows the designer has a
good understanding of history and the way the world works. Most games
would write the rule "A Protestant personality cannot become a Cardinal in
the Roman Catholic Church." Instead the rule reads "Becoming a cardinal
changes the p layer's religion to Catholic". That is, first someone
buys a cardinal office, then he installs his son in it and finally, tail
wagging the dog, the son is a Catholic. Reminds me of some of great
Japanese high tech companies which had their humble origins selling air
conditioners and the like. The point is that the only constant is change.
- It's interesting too this is one of the few colonial era games I can
think of where someone can a non-traditional power. Normally only the
Europeans get to be portrayed (sometimes China, cf. Viceroys). But here,
in a variant, the escaped slaves of northeastern Brazil can participate
and at the same time players learn about a forgotten bit of history.
How are the rules to read?
Lords of the Spanish Main-related pages on this site: