Sea Dogs: Game Mechanics Part II

Becky and I had a really great conversation today where we cleared up a lot of the foggier parts of our game by introducing some new game mechanics and improving on the others. I’m really excited to create this game, now more than ever!

The New Endgame

The most important thing that we changed was the endgame. Originally, our idea was to have a player versus player battle that determined the new “Pirate Queen”. However, the logistics of this proved to be difficult as we found ourselves simplifying the tabletop RPG elements of the game to keep it streamlined and user-friendly. Therefore we came up with a new endgame: instead of fighting one another, the players compete against one another to become the first to challenge the current reigning Pirate King and win. Any player can challenge him at any point, but losing against him results in instant death and a complete restart of their ship, crew, and character. The Pirate King will have set base stats for his ship, but whenever he is challenged, the challenger must roll random modifiers for him. If the player’s ship beats the King’s ship, then they win the game and become the Pirate Queen.

Ships & Character Stats

Rolling the dice determines how many spaces can be moved per turn. Several spaces along the “sea” portion of the board will force the player to draw an event card if they land on it. The event card describes a scenario and tells the player how many points they need to roll in order to flee or fight. If they fail the roll (either to flee or fight), the player will suffer the consequences as described on the card, such as: giving up their money, taking damage to their ship, losing crew members, or even instant death. A successful roll allows safe passage no matter what, but you can get occasional monetary rewards as well as reputation points if you chose to fight. Fleeing doesn’t give you anything and causes you to lose reputation.

Therefore, there are three ship slots that players can purchase modifiers for with money: Speed, Attack, and Endurance. Event cards will ask for different things that involve rolling over a certain number for either Attack or Endurance. Speed is used to flee. EX: “You are being attacked by enemy pirates. Either roll for Speed higher than X to run away, or roll Attack higher than X to fight back and defeat them. If you fail the roll, the pirates come aboard and ransack your ship, taking 30 pieces of gold” or “the royal navy is hot on your tail and are preparing to fire at you! Roll higher than X to run away, or roll Endurance higher than X to brace for impact and take minimal damage. If you fail the roll, the navy lands a critical hit and you are -10 Endurance until you next reach port for repairs.”

As well as the statistics of their ship, each player has a character card with special character stats. These stats are not determined by a dice roll and instead offer bonuses to the users depending on their stats for Intimidation, Charisma, and Intelligence. Every +10 reputation gained by the player lets them permanently put a point towards one of these stats. Some Event cards will have a tag at the end involving these stats that can help the player, such as getting more money or winning a fight without rolling. EX: “You find yourself in an ancient ruin and immediately begin to dig. You unearth 30 gold pieces! If you have an Intelligence greater than X, you notice something under the treasure chest and dig deeper into the ground, finding an extra 20 gold pieces.”


Although we had to take away the PvP from our game, I believe that it will be better for it. Our new system is less complicated than a typical tabletop RPG but without a GM, this was to be expected and makes more sense. Since the event cards will be filling in for a GM we’ll be doing most of the storytelling through those and through the character builds, both of which we’ll be working on next (along with some placeholder artwork). I really think that we’re on the right track for creating an entertaining, interesting game!

One thought on “Sea Dogs: Game Mechanics Part II

  1. I really like where you’re going with this ! Overall I’m really interested in the world you’re building in this game, whether that be shown through the characters you create or the event cards, though it’s obviously more important to focus on fun mechanics over any sort of lore, especially at this stage in the process. I do think it would cool to have blank character cards and simple character creation rules as an option for players so that people can really lean more into the RPG aspect if they so desire. I look forward to seeing how else Sea Dogs evolves from here!

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