The Age of Sail was dangerous enough when contending only with the bellow of carronades, the clash of steel from enemy boarders in the heat of close-quarters combat and the threat posed by the fickle climate – where a light rain might become a storm in the blink of an eye and threaten to drown a ship and her crew. Now, however, certain areas of the high seas have turned even more treacherous. Terrifying creatures, formerly dormant, lurking below the waves are now awakening. Drawn to the surface by the violence rent by the bellow of cannon, the collision of massive sailing ships and the flotsam and jetsam that disturb their waters, these terrors of the deep emerge, determined by some unconscious instinct, to reassert their place at the height of the ocean hierarchy. Driven by ancient predatory instincts – they hunger, seeking to feed, to reclaim their territories, and to drag their victims, be they be man or boat, down to the depths of Davy Jones’ locker.
Contending with Terrors of the Deep
The creatures do not discriminate when playing a game of Black Seas, at the beginning of each turn, before any vessels have had a chance to move, Terrors of the Deep will move at their fastest possible speed towards the closet ship. This means, that when using these creatures in your games, positioning your vessels is ever-more important than in the standard game. You’ll want to do your utmost to avoid any of the monsters making contact with your ship’s hulls, and as such, you may find yourself altering your battleplan, maintaining faster speeds to outdistance your own ships to any creatures in relation to your opponent’s.
They hit hard Captain!
Each terror is unique in the way it attacks, as you’d expect, to provide the most thematic clashes between beast and sailor as possible. From gigantic maws, with teeth too many to count, to writhing tentacles that clamour and grasp up and across decks and masts to rip, tear and ensnare any poor unfortunates that find themselves in their paths, your vessel’s crews will have to have their wits about them.
One important element of gameplay is that, although the beasts are highly susceptible to damage from cannons, they approach partially submerged, striking from below, this applies (further) negative modifiers to the accuracy of your firepower.
Many of the creatures will have more than one attack. Where this is the case, the Terror will alternate between its attacks if attacking the same target in subsequent turns. The larger creatures such as the Leviathan have particularly devastating second attacks, so it is advisable to keep up some speed with your vessels where possible. Any ships travelling under light sails that are attacked by Terrors of the Deep come to an immediate stop and are considered grappled.
The primary, and easiest method, of incorporating Terrors of the Deep into your games of Black Seas is to play the scenario included in the box set, the Bermuda Triangle. However, the appearance of any monster, and its type, are determined randomly at the beginning of each game round, as well as the area of the board they will appear. As such, your tactics will need to evolve (unlike the ancient terrors – relics of the ancient oceans). For instance, you may feel that your ship can bear the brunt of a narwhal’s tusk, sacrificing a few ship points for a superior firing position against your opponent. Likewise, you’ll want to get out of the path of a leviathan, whose second attack is liable to inflict extremely severe damage if your positioning is left unchecked.
Sacrificing the optimal shot so that your opponent has to deal with a more dangerous foe may just edge you closer to victory, though be wary, killing terrors of the deep earns victory points in this scenario – don’t let your opponent rob you of those all important points.