Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A tall ship and a star (1)

In The Log from the Sea of Cortez, we are told of a visit to Macy's in New York during which a strange observation was made. In the boat department over the course of an hour every man and boy and many women knocked thrice on each hull. Was this an unconscious testing, an act in assuring survival as ingrained as the pattern in the wood?

Ships then. Hard to leave them behind. Even when imagining the far future. On a world 70.9% covered with liquid, sailing will naturally inform our view of travel across vast open spaces. Not least when the dominant cultures here on Earth are still English-, Spanish- and French-speaking ones, cultures built also from interactions crossing oceans.

Is it that which sparked your interest? The nostalgia and enveloping coasts of Britain? War in the Pacific? Pirates? That first shot in Star Wars maybe? At Space: 1970 we find something quite different - maybe this? For me, the Lexx brings the ideas there to life.

There are quite different designs in other fiction. The novel Planet of the Apes begins with sailing of a different kind and even a message in a bottle. This could be our future too. Games Workshop's precursor to Battlefleet Gothic - the wonderful Space Fleet - introduced a mechanic for the solar wind, expanded on later in their fantasy Man O'War. That may seem back to front, but who says time works in one direction only?

Spartan Games has a finger in the pie too, with Uncharted Seas, Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars. The Varcan Cluster is a big fan and wants to make contact with the like-minded. Maybe that'll be you? If the games themselves don't hoist your mainsail, WarMancer looks at how Uncharted Seas could be used with Warhammer. It's all about imagination. No surprise and every surprise there. Ships are never far away.

Timbers shivered? Upgrade! Super Galactic Dreanought is a blog that knows what it likes and I like it too. Fire Broadside! is another, as shown by a click on the 'Starship Combat' tag. How could I not mention concept ships?

Not done yet? At The Book of Worlds there's adventure in the sea air and even a keel that crystallises Tass as it passes over a Hallow. In Sundered Skies of course the ship concept is different again. ArmChairGeneral likes an airship, but his vessels also walk...

How do ships come into your games, and what other games and ideas are out there?


ArmChairGeneral said...

Very cool post! I enjoy Spartan Games Uncharted Seas. We play Full Thrust all the time by GZG and I remember fondly Heart of Oak and General Quarters from my earlier days of gaming.

WTNW is about landships primarily but there will be an airship supplement. Oh and it will include rules for using sailing ships.

You raise a great point though. What will the ships be like in our conquests of other planets?

Harald said...

Damn good research in this post. There are three good sources you're missing, though. I would've given you the urls, but as I'm at work, that'll have to be for another day. I will be back to examine your links as soon as I'm home.

The three are:
Space: 1880
Clockwork & Chivalry

The first two are major influences in my take on ships, and particularly flying ships. The last is a rather new game from Cakebread & Walton, set in England during the Civil War.

Lastly, here's a post I did on flying vessels earlier:

Porky said...

@ ArmChairGeneral - Thanks! This is why I need your help - so many games I've never played. Too many, too little time. WtNW sounds better the more I find out about it. As for our expanding into the void, I hope it's not too much of a conquest - see the last post on 'plasma streaming' for at least one good reason..! I'll get back to you at yours in a bit.

@ Harald - Thank you kindly too! These names will also be fun to follow up, and not only for me I'm sure - I can almost hear the clicking. Thanks for the link too - a top-notch history and stunning images, but that's to be expected. You do it with elan!

Warhammer39999 said...

I'm constantly amazed at the amount of posts you manage to put out, as well as the level of research you put into each one. How do you find the time?

Porky said...

It might be the novelty. It's only been a few weeks so far and I could easily burn out by the middle of next! Porky's Expanse! could be a flash in the pan.

Desert Scribe said...

Thanks for mentioning Super Galactic Dreadnought, Porky! I'm glad you like it, and I hope others will too.

Regarding Harald's suggestions, please note the roleplaying game is called Space: 1889 and (I think) the related wargame is Sky Galleons of Mars.

Harald said...


Yup, the Desert Scribe is right. Missed by almost a full decade.

Porky said...

Thanks are due to the both of you - and what's a decade between shipmates?