Friday, March 23, 2012
All of the fantasy sets I could find had too many fantasy elements that complicated the rules and make the games harder to play. They may be good in their own right, but they don't fit with what I wanted. Most of the historical naval games seem to cluster around ancients, the Age of Sail, or modern, including World War II. Obviously the modern rules were out. In terms of tactics, medieval naval fighting follow the ancient period for the most part, but there are a few telling differences. Unfortunately, most of the ancients games didn't allow for medieval developments. The Age of Sail games all include cannon and tactics that derive from their use. Since I'm not a fan of gunpowder in D&D, that ruled them out.
Finally, I found a set of rules that covered both the ancient and medieval periods, were simple and self-contained, and (best of all) free. Mare Nostrum seemed to have everything I needed. Unfortunately, the rules were in Italian, a language that I don't even pretend to read or speak. I managed to find the author's email address and dropped him a message. Despite not speaking a bit of English, he was able to put enough together to let me know that the game was only available in Italian.
A couple pleas on Google+ fell into the void without any real response, so I did what I could with Google Translate, Babel Fish, my rudimentary Latin, and a bit of naval history. In the end, I was able to put together a basic English translation of the rules for Mare Nostrum. I fired off another email to Mr. Affinati, and he agreed that I could publish the rules here.
I don't pretend this is the most accurate translation. I tried to present the intent of the rules rather than a word-for-word rendering. If anyone knows Italian and can suggest improvements in the translation, let me know. Also, if you play the game and have suggestions for ways to improve it, I would be happy to hear those comments as well.
I'll be working on translating the scenarios and adding some variants as I get time. If anyone has suggestions for what they might want to see in that regard, drop me a line.
Mare Nostrum Rules - English