The Age of Sail was dangerous enough when contending only with the bellow of carronades, the clash of steel heralding 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 collisions 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, reclaim their territories, and drag their victims, be they but a single man or an entire vessel’s worth, down to the depths of Davy Jones’ locker.

Contending with Terrors of the Deep

The creatures are indiscriminate, cognitive of no country or flag, and will attack anything within reach! At the beginning of each turn, before any vessels have a chance to move, Terrors of the Deep will move at their fastest possible speed towards the closest ship. This means, that when using these creatures in your games, positioning your vessels is even 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 battle plan, maintaining faster speeds to outdistance your own ships from any of the terrors in relation to your opponents’.

A white whale erupts from the ocean depths.

“They hit hard Captain!”

Each terror attacks uniquely, as you’d expect from such varied creatures, to provide the most thematic clashes between beast and sailor possible. From gigantic maws, with teeth too many to count, to a mass of writhing tentacles that rip, tear and ensnare indiscriminately, your vessels’ crews will need their wits about them.

Giant Narwhal
A large whale-like creature with a huge tusk growing from its forehead.
A huge prehistoric shark. The Megalodon is one of the most powerful predators to hunt the seas.
White Whale
White whales are huge, ill-tempered creatures liable to attack ships on sight.
A colossal piscine beast that dwarfs even the largest of other sea creatures, the Leviathan haunts the dreams of many a seaman.
Sea Serpent
Long, snake-like monsters; legend has it Sea Serpents are a form of aquatic dragon.
An immense squid-like creature with unfathomably long tentacles capable of enveloping ships and hauling them below the surface…

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 attacked by a Terror of the Deep come to an immediate stop and are immediately considered grappled.

The Kraken awakened – the crew of this frigate have very little chance of seeing the dawn.

Bermuda Triangle

Though it is possible to incorporate the Terrors of the Deep into any Black Seas game, a special scenario is included within the box that focuses on two fleets skirmishing perilously close to the legendarily feared area. The presence of these fleets attracts the attention of such creatures that have sprung from the nightmares of even the hardiest of sailors. Players compete for victory points by damaging or destroying their opponents whilst contending with the randomly appearing monsters that surge up from the ocean depths.

A Megalodon, drawn by the scent of battles and blood…

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 in which they appear. As such, your tactics will need to evolve; unlike the ancient terrors – relics of the ancient oceans who have never entertained the thought of engaging in Darwinism. 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. Conversely, you’ll want to get out of the path of a leviathan, whose second attack is liable to inflict extremely severe damage if you leave your positioning 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 is one path to victory – don’t let your opponent rob you of too much glory, or those all-important points.

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Hold Fast!

The rules for Terrors of the Deep can also be found in the Black Seas supplement, Hold Fast! Along with additional rules for adding supernatural elements to your games (Ghost Ship anyone?), the supplement serves as the ultimate almanac for any discerning tabletop admiral. Within you’ll find entirely new fleet lists, new captains of renown and a host of extra scenarios. You’ll also find ways to play progressive campaigns – chart your course as an independent smuggler or follow a navy career from lieutenant to admiral!

Here be Dragons. Do not enter certain areas lightly!
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