A complete system of warfare for 16th Century Europe
Including Large & Small scale land warfare modules, one for
Naval warfare, a Campaign, and Siege Game!


A campaign game of action in the Caribbean during the
mid-late 16th century,
for use with SF:Actions! and SF:Sail!

"In this river we saw many Crocodils. His nature is ever when he would have his prey, to cry and sob like a Christian body, to provoke them to come to him, and then he snatcheth at them."

  -John Hawkins, 1567, not knowing what he's talking about.....

The Caribbean, 1550-1585

Since the founding of the colonies in the early 16th century, the Caribbean had been run by a Spanish Viceroy who held a legal position and little else. The towns that had sprung up in the Antilles and on the Spanish Main each had their own councils and had formed the Audiencia as an administrative body, composed of men looking out for the settler and merchant interest. The Crown was glad to receive it's royal fifth as well as some taxation on merchant traffic. Since other European powers were banned from area and few foreigners knew anything of what the layout of the region was like, defenses were few, scattered, and cheap. The merchants resisted royal interference and demands for tax money to ensure the safety of the convoys, and resented the idea of garrisons (which would have hindered illegal trade and under-the-table business of all kinds).

When the first wave of French Corsairs hit the area in the 1520's, there was panic, but little action. Even when towns were devastated, merchants did not want to pay the crown to bring in a military presence. Settlers got used to living in shacks that could be burned and rebuilt almost immediately, so long as they could hide their often fabulous wealth from the Corsairs at a location just outside of town or in the hills.

The crown tried to force the merchant ships to carry more guns and to move in convoys, all to no avail. Anything that hindered profits were more or less ignored. A forced tax of 4% to pay for a royal patrol fleet was briefly paid, then abandoned by wealth towns creating their own makeshift navies.

It wasn't until the late 1560's that defenses were being built to do more than fight Cimaroons and Indians. Forts were built and guns were shipped. Often the forts were of half-hearted construction and quickly slid into the harbours, and cannon lay unmounted and rusting on the beach. It took the likes of the vigourous Pedro Menedez to organize regular patrols, plant garrisons and fight Corsairs unceasingly. The French attempt to found a colony in Florida was brutally supressed and an ill fated Spanish colony created to replace it and keep interlopers out.

One type of interloper was usually welcome in the colonies- illegal trade ships. At first Portuguese, then French, and finally English ships ran an underground trade that avoided the royal fifth and all shipping taxes, with the complete collusion of local authorities. Neither side trusted eachother- at any time the Corsairs could attack or local officials could sieze foreign crews and turn them over to royal officers.

In the end, it came down to money. There was just too much of it around with too little law to make a difference either way. It took the coming of Drake's huge fleet in 1586 to transform the region into a fortress under firm royal control.

~ Now then ~

Voyage to where, Cap'n?
Why, to adventure, of course! Is there any other destination The Captain would take you to? Spanish Fury, Voyage! is a STAND ALONE game of Corsair activity in the Caribbean from 1550 to 1585. The Corsair player (or players) enters the region with ships packed with either Trade Good or troops (usually both) in hopes of turning a profit by hook or by crook. The Spanish Empire player must see that he prevents the Corsairs from succeeding (and discouraging others) while at the same time running the Caribbean efficiently so as to not lose his Viceroyalty (is that a word?).

The Empire player sets up his defenses mostly hidden, including Forts, Batteries, Troops of various types, Merchant-funded Patrols, and his own Royal Ships all around the Caribbean in such a way as to make it function well, protect important targets and to trap illegal merchants or Corsairs. After this he must plan out certain required tasks he must complete to avoid losing his position to a rival back home....

The Corsairs have to fit out an expedition that will suit their plans- trading or raiding, anything to make a profit. Coming home empty handed would mean losing your chance of commanding another expedition.

Entering the area the Corsairs choose where in the Caribbean to "do business". The Spanish Main might be lightly guarded, but pickings are generally slim. Lurking in the passages around Hispaniola and Cuba will doubtless net a good haul of merchantmen, but will also be crawling with Royal ships looking to make a name for themselves. Perhaps a quick and sudden descent on a larger town, say, Santo Domingo or even Havana- a head on attack or slowly breaking the defenders morale by an ever tightening noose of soldiers, will bring enough of a haul to head home wealthy. 

Their are problems for both players. Wind and tides constrain movement, and risking a chancey crossing or bad weather can send a fleet to the bottom. But you still might need to, if provisions are low or you need to make a quick getaway. The Empire player will die of frustration receiving reports of burned towns and outraged merchants wailing about expensive cargoes disappearing. How to combat this? Chasing ghosts may get you nowhere while the convoying duty you neglected has ruined the local economy.

How does it work?
Individual ships are grouped into fleets or squadrons commanded by officers with different characteristics (as in all SF games). These fleets can carry trade goods and/or troops, and have tracks to keep tabs on provisions, treasure and marine infestations (barnacles!).  Fleets travel between Sea Routes (colour coded for sailing conditions) by pulling cards from the Sea Deck that dictate whether the fleet can indeed move, is blown of course, or worse, meets with disaster. Corsairs can search for lumbering Merchants while Royal ships hunt the hunters using the search deck, with results depending on local traffic and on how sharp the officers are. Corsairs entering a port have to find out the mood of the settlers and the governor- will the port be closed to them, requiring a "demonstration" to force trade? Will the governor attempt a treacherous coup on his "guests", hoping to catch them unprepared? Or will the mask come off and the Corsairs attempt to capture the port and all the goods in it... there is a land combat sub-campaign game included for use with SF: Actions! , and of course, an easy campaign-based scenario generator for SF:Sail!

You may ask, do the Spanish have enough to do? Many games of this type have one player who dies of boredom. Not here! The Empire must be run, which means organizing patrols, dropping off garrisons by royal command, and safeguarding the treasure fleet that can arrive at the most inopportune moment, even continuing the colonization of the region.

What kind of scenarios have you got?

We have included a few historical actions, including Francois (Peg Leg) Leclerc's descent on Havana, John Hawkin's 3rd Voyage (that came to grief at San Juan de Ulloa), as well as a more generic setting representing the many raids carried out by small independent crews, allowing players to "Design Your Own" scenarios. The Spanish Empire player can also customize his defense in every scenario, such that the Corsairs will have to do some guessing and risk taking when they enter a port.

French Huguenots in Florida meeting with the locals (in happier times)

* * * * *

Come and join us at
 our Yahoo Group
 where  we discuss rules,
 variants, and new

Right HERE!

* * *

Get your copy of
right here

* * *

How about some LINKS?

French Corsairs!

Pedro Menendez

1562 Map

Contact us anytime,
 by mail, at:

The Perfect Captain

* * *

Visit us at

The Captain's