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Black Seas – Age of Sail Battle Game

I’m very fortunate to be in the business of wargaming, modelling and painting, in that I get to see many of the products released in the development stage and well before they hit the shelves. Black Seas is a good example of this. I had seen the ‘test shots’ of the models on Gabrio’s desk ( Gabrio, being the author of the game at Warlord) months ago. However, I try not to get too involved in every new product. And, unless it is directly concerned with my hobby, my excitement stays at a business level.

Occasionally though, something comes along that really excites me as a hobbyist. Black Seas is one of those items! I have been eagerly awaiting it’s release and I am very pleased to have obtained a retailers prelaunch pack. So here is a sneak peak at what you can expect from the Rulebook. I must say at this point that I have only played one game at the Warlord open day and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it, I wouldn’t review the game play on the basis of that outing, so the focus of this blog is simply on the actual book. No doubt, I’ll bring you a full battle report in a future blog, once I have put my fleet together!


The Black Seas rule book is on my desk!

The Black Seas rule book is on my desk!

The rule book is to the high standards we have come to expect from Warlord. Black Seas is a very well produced, full colour 96 page soft back book containing the rules to the game, scenario’s, back ground information, modelling and painting guides and more. Here’s a selection of pictures from the book, captured using my iPhone, so the picture quality isn’t studio standard but gives you a idea of the book itself!

Core Rules section - a basic introduction to the game

Core Rules section – a basic introduction to the game

First impressions are that the rules are clearly explained, with plenty of diagrams to help understand what is going on.

Movement explained

Movement explained

Once you have mastered the core rules, the additional rules broaden the game.

Additional Rules section

Additional Rules section

As well as the rules to the game there are 13 scenarios to play through to get you familiar with the game mechanics.

The Scenarios section

The Scenarios section

The advanced rules cover items such as Fire Ships, ‘Fire as she bears’, more realistic wind effects (wind effects are simplified in the basic rules), and other add ins to improve the gaming experience.

Advanced rules - Fire as she bears!

Advanced rules – Fire as she bears!

There is a very brief overview of some of the battles of the Carronade era, giving some historical context to the game. This section is illustrated with pictures from Osprey books, so there is plenty of visual reference material to use. This is a good introduction for those not in any way familiar with the naval wars of the period but I suspect that ‘old hands’ will find the section as a useful reminder of stuff they already knew!

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Historical backgroud to the game.

Also for all you ‘land lubbers’ out there, there is a very useful basic guide to the anatomy of a fighting ship of the age!

The anatomy of a fighting ship

The anatomy of a fighting ship

The rules have some ideas as to how you can link your battles to play a campaign, with a small section opening the possibility of linking your Black Seas games into a Black Powder campaign. This has already got me thinking of my Napoleonic Caribbean project!

Campaign Rules

Campaign Rules

And finally, advice as to how to go about rigging and painting the superb miniatures that come with the game. The ship models are at 1/700th scale and are lovely models in their own right. I will be reviewing these in a subsequent blog, as I put my sample ships together!

The Ships painting guide

The Ships rigging guide

The painting guide

The painting guide

So, that’s just a quick look at the inside of the rule book. In my next blog, I’ll look at the other contents of the game as well of course as the ships themselves. But if you would like to see the sprues, then head on over to the Arcane Scenery shop – we still have copies of the latest Wargames Illustrated magazine which has a free sprue from Black seas on the front cover as well as an in depth look at the game.

WI384 frig

The Frigate spue.

The Frigate sprue.


If you are as excited as I am about the new Black seas game, you can pre- order it post free from Arcane Scenery here:


If you would just like the rules book, you can pre-order it here:


Both items will be supplied with the free limited edition figure if you pre – order.

At the time of writing we still have stocks of Wargames Illustrated issue 384 with the free Black seas sprues. You can choose either the frigate sprue:


or the Brig Sprue:


These are selling through quickly, so if you would like a copy, visit my shop or click one of the links.

Happy Wargaming and Modelling!