The Boat Post!

The ship at dock

This is the post I have most been wanting to make here ever since I started this blog.  My pirate ship is complete!!! (Well if you don’t count me being short two sails which I will fix on Monday!)  It has been a labour of love for the beautiful thing but it is now here!  Again, I will give a shout out to the wonderful team at World Works Games as it is their product that I am displaying here.  They are the clever ones, I just printed, cut out and glued together.  I am exceptionally impressed with the result and I will definitely be purchasing more of their products in the future.

The ship pulled apart…

OK, first things first, I had better answer why I built the ship in the first place.  About a year the people over at Paizo were making an adventure path for their Pathfinder line.  It was called the Skull and Shackles and it was the first adventure path I had gotten via my subscription with them.  I read the path and was very taken by it.  It had a great story and a good rewards system for the players the further you got into it.  I was very keen to run this as the adventure path after the Serpent Skull adventure path that we were around halfway through at the time.  I was talking to one of my players about it and he turned to me and told me he had no interest at all in a pirate campaign and would not play in it. This was pretty disheartening to me as I love these modules and so I decided that I was going to win that player over.

The ship under (almost) full sail!

I remembered reading in one of the editorials they offer at the start of their adventure paths that the group at Paizo had decided to actually play this game and the GM had found the Maiden of the High Seas product made by World Works Games and also sold on by Paizo.  He made the ship for his group and they loved it.  So I decided if I were to make a ship (that is around an impressive 90 cm long) that was scaled for miniatures to play on I would have the hook I needed.  I bought the PDF from Paizo and eagerly started printing some of it before I read a manual that said it needed to be printed on card stock and as I read the first bit of what to do it was also talking about foam core board!  I was a little deflated that I could not immediately build my ship that very day but I went out and bought some decent card stock and put in an order for foam core board (as nowhere sells it locally) over the internet.  Only later did I realise that foam core board is only used on the deck and the base of the ship and hence realised I had well over ordered for it.

The main cargo bay and under the Captain’s cabin

I printed out all the bits and began to start.  According to the booklets it would need just a little over 10 hours to get it all done, which seemed OK even if the pile of card stock printed images was so big, maybe they were right…  Well  I can now tell you that I think that I may have sunk around 25 to 30 hours into this boat to get it completed.  I have done this over a six to 8 month period in fits and bursts.  The cutting out of the images to use takes up a massive amount of time but it is a thing of beauty and hence it really has been a labour of (monotony) love!

I had been doing this project in secret so as my players did not know though I knew word would get out as one of my players is my daughter and she knew what was happening.  I also mentioned it to one of the other players when he mentioned that he could not understand why one of the other players was not keen for the pirate campaign.  After this it got spotted at my work where I had taken it to do some work on it and the whole secrecy thing cam crashing down around my ears.  That said, it had the exact effect I was after and now everyone in my playing group are eager to sink their scimitars into a good roiling pirate adventure.  Not to mention they have decided to play an “evil” campaign where they are amongst the worst scum on the high sea!  This will make it very interesting for me as I have never run an evil campaign.  It should be fun.

Under the officers quarters and the main cargo hold

So, back to the boat…  It is almost entirely made out of card stock with the non-gridded version of the boat (you get a gridded and non gridded PDF you can choose from) as I hate the rigidity a grid creates in game.  The boat is very modular, that is you can take it apart and sit bits to the side so if there is a ship combat that engulfs the ship you can pull out each bit and have them laid out on the playing surface.  The main deck comes up and shows the cargo hold underneath.  The roof of the forecastle lifts off to show inside the officers quarters.  The sterncastle roof section lifts off to show the Captains cabin.  The officers quarters lifts off to reveal the forward cargo hold and the Captain’s cabin lifts out to show the stern of the cargo hold.  Each of theses sections are scaled to 25mm miniature scale and the bases of all the parts I just mentioned (and the roofs) are based with foam core board giving them a sturdiness as these are the sections where miniatures will be used the most.

A reasonable view of the figurehead

The mast sections were by far the hardest section to make and also the most crucial to get right.  When the ship is put completely together it is the masts that lock all the sections in place to make it appear as a complete ship.  The design also allows for you to use transparencies to create windows, grates, chains, rigging and climbing rope to appear on the ship making it look brilliant.  You can look in windows and see the miniatures inside at the accessory desks and chairs they supply too.  they supply a large range of accessories like cannons (which I did not make as the adventure does not really use them) gangplank, two different figureheads, cargo cubes, interior walls so you can segment your cargo bay and various other things like desks, chairs and hammocks.  It was these accessories that I finished building today.  My son was incredibly concerned about where was the gangplank.  I will have to show him the photos tonight to put his mind at rest!

the next sections to go on top

But of course building the ship got met with (by my players) “When are you building another?” Of course they see it as completely reasonable that I should build another one so they can raid other ships!
They are pirates after all.  I of course returned a sour laugh when they asked me to build another.  but I have compromised.  In my local bookstore there was a kids pack to build a pirate ship out of pre-cut cardboard that went on special for $10 so I picked that up and made it one night.  It is a bit cartoony but it will work.  Also it has no colour as they leave it up to you to paint which I might, or I might leave it white for a ghost ship.  Then, walking through K-Mart last Thursday, my wife spotted a large childrens plastic pre-made pirate ship on the shelf and she basically forced me to buy it for the campaign also.  It is a good size too in comparison to the main ship that I have poured my heart and soul into.  Not to mention the plastic one came with a very cool treasure chest!

Forecastle on with some rigging 

I have also gone overboard on flip mats focussing on ships and map packs of ship cabins etc.  This is without a doubt the most expensive campaign I have ever run!  I may have to buy a tricorne hat and an eye patch for when I GM this one!  I actually got a lovely pirate pin in a special copy of the PS3 game Two Worlds II that I will be wearing on the first few nights to get the players into character!  I am all set to captain this bunch of land lubbers onto the high sea and beyond aaaaaargh!

Officer’s quarters a little mean, but better than the cargo hold

Some nice accessories for the Captain’s cabin 

The transparencies make great windows

Sterncastle on and helmsman at the wheel

Main deck on as the halfling walks the plank yarrrrgh!

The length of the ship from forecastle down
The ship with masts locking the sections in place

The ghost ship…
The plastic pirate ship my wife made me buy


  1. How many pages was the PDF? I’m considering getting this, but want to have idea of how much I’ll need to print to determine the real cost/value vs items at that are already printed.

    Thanks 🙂


    1. From memory, a lot of pages. Somewhere in the 70 page mark from memory once you include all the pages you need to print multiple times.


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