We’re chugging along on Osprey Adrift, getting everything in order for our June Kickstarter! Today I want to share more of the artwork (done by the talented Fiona Marchbank) for the Action cards. These four pieces will be used on the various objects which were stolen from Captain Ninefingers quarters after his rather untimely… and gruesome demise. Their effects are powerful, but very different – so read on!
Action card text: “Requires 1 Bottle & 1 Gunpowder. Your vote for walking the plank counts as 2 votes this round. Return the Bottle and the Gunpowder to the box, and discard this.”
Strategy: The Fireworks Manual may seem lackluster, but it’s actualy quite a powerful card. It’s been known to sway a game in quite a few of the playtests, which is why it comes at a high Resource cost of a Bottle AND a Gunpowder. It allows a player to count as two players when the Dusk phase rolls around – powerful for Pure and Cannibal players alike. What’s deceptively great about this card, too, is that it draws very little sociological hate from the rest of the players. Everyone wants their vote to count for more, and as long as you’re voting for someone with a reasonable amount of suspicion tossed their way, then players generally seem to let the Fireworks Manual go by unchecked. After all, it’s not like the more direct ‘attack’ cards like the Gag or the Whittled Shiv. The Fireworks Manual is added to the deck starting at 11-player games, because throwing an extra vote into the ring in a low-player game throws the balance way off, especially if the player using it is a Cannibal.
Theme: The Fireworks Manual teaches the player how to use gunpowder in a bottle to create a brialliant explosion of colorful light. For the crew of a derelict pirate ship, this means one thing: emergency flare. Because the player is working extra hard at finding rescue for the crew, their vote is regarded much more highly.
Artwork: The bright red of the book’s cover and the kanji for “fire” mark this textbook as unmistakably dangerous. I could see this book as something that was kept in Ninefingers’s cabin under lock and key, because it’s such a prized tome of knowledge.
Action card text: “Requires 1 Seaweed & 1 Rope. Return this, the Seaweed, and the Rope to the box. During Dusk this round, you may look at the Food card that one player eats. (Do not name that player now.) If it is Human Flesh, you may choose to show it to everyone and kill that player; if they are the Captain, you become Captain.”
Strategy: The Poisons Manual is extremely powerful, and has a few uses. First, for a Pure player, it allows you to look at the Food someone eats to make sure they’re not sneaking some Human Flesh into their gullet. The player doesn’t have to name who they wish to spy on (as with the Spyglass card), so there’s less chance that the target will switch up their meal to some innocuous Fish. AND, if the target does indeed eat Human Flesh, then the Pure player can reveal their identity and kill that player, scoring a big win for the Pure team. However, there’s a wholly different strategy for using the Poisons Manual if you’re a Cannibal. You can choose to act dumb and use it on a Pure player, perhaps sowing dissent amongst the crew and solidifying the false premise that you’re with the good guys. Or, you can choose to use it on a Cannibal player and play it off like they ate some Fish (whether they did or not), thus creating an alibi for one of your Cannibal cohorts. Because The Poisons Manual is one of the two ‘kill’ cards in the game, it requires 2 Resources to power – quite a pricey play, but well worth it. The Poisons Manual is added to the deck starting at 12-player games, because it is a powerful kill card that could potentially give a huge advantage to the Pure team especially; 12 players is the point at which a third Cannibal is added into the mix.
Theme: This book contains information about poisonous herbs; presumably some of those herbs can be found in the sea. When the crewmember gets ahold of some rope (to tie their victim up) and the right kind of seaweed (to create the poison), then the magic happens. The poison induces violent vomiting, revealing the contents of its victim’s last meal – and, makes a fine excuse to execute the victim if there’s some meat in those contents…
Artwork: The book’s cover claims to be an Herbalist’s Manual – a detail I love, because it shows how deceptive pirates are. Yes, there are details about herbs in this book… but what the pirate using it will undoubtedly be after are details about which herbs are poisonous. Anything to gain the upper hand. I especially love the vines that Fiona added, surrounding the book. There’s an almost menacing quality to them that adds a lot to the flavour of this card.
Action card text: “Requires 1 Seaweed. Pick a dead player whose cause of death wasn’t walking the plank. They are brought back to life. Return this and the Seaweed to the box.”
Strategy: The Voodoo Manual (along with The Black Conch) is one of the game’s two ‘revive’ cards. This one is slanted more toward benefitting the Pure team, however, because it can only be used to revive players who were killed by the Cannibals, or killed by one of the Action cards. Still, a Cannibal player could use this card to revive one of their teammates who were killed by A Single Bullet; and it might be a popular choice with the right spin. This restriction was a conscious decision in terms of mechanics as well as theme, because The Voodoo Manual is added to the deck starting at 7-player games, just the point when a second Cannibal is added to the crew. Mathematically speaking, the Pure are at a slight disadvantage at this game size, so the Voodoo Manual does a little to tip the scale back toward their favor a bit by allowing them to bring one of the eaten crewmembers back to life.
Theme: This book teaches its reader how to concoct a potion that brings someone back from the dead – with the right kind of plants. Of course, their body has to still be on the ship! If someone walked the plank, then they’re at the bottom of the sea… the spell cast from this book revives a corpse into a zombie-like person… it can’t summon ghosts.
Artwork: I love the colors that Fiona chose for this card art. The bright pink runes stand out against the deep purple – a classic color that’s often used to represent necromancy. The lock on the book also suggests how powerful and dangerous the knowledge inside is. Captain Ninefingers likely didn’t want anyone getting their hands on this book.
Parchment & Pen
Action card text: “Requires 1 Bottle. Take the Captain’s Ring from the current Captain, and give them your Crewman’s Ring. Return the Bottle to the box and discard this.”
Strategy: This is a nice card to have when you want a bit of power during the game’s intense Dusk phase but you either don’t want to spend any Coins to be the Captain, or you want the element of surprise on your side. A player has to be careful about who they’re taking the Captain’s Ring from, however, because usurping a popular Captain could make you a target. The Parchment & Pen is added to the deck starting at 4-player games because in smaller games, the voting mechanics are far more important than, say, the eating mechanics. I wanted to include something that could sway the game a bit–but not break the balance–in games with fewer players.
Theme: With some parchment, a pen, and a bottle, the player can write a message and send it off. Like the Fireworks Manual, this gives the player a bit more clout with the rest of the crew because it’s assumed they’re working hard at seeking rescue for the Osprey. Of course, it also assumes the character can write… but hey, pirates are a deceptive bunch. Even if Three Tongued Sal is illiterate, he’s got the rest of the crew convinced that he’s a downright poet.
Artwork: I love that Fiona included the pot of ink with these two items, because it’s definitely a requirement for letter-writing during the golden age of piracy! I also love how the nib and quill of the pen look – the pen is fancy enough to suggest ‘scholarly’ but not so fancy that a pirate captain would scoff at it.
I hope you liked the sneak peek at the artwork and rules for these cards. We’ll have more to share soon, and I can’t wait! Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky,