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Get freedom and clear sound with today’s Daily Deal, Cresuer Touchwave Bluetooth Earbuds. These wireless earbuds not only give you superior audio but also come with noise cancellation to keep unwanted sounds out of your workouts or other pursuits. When paired with your phone, they also allow you to take calls, but then it’s your decision if you want to hear those unwanted sounds. They also recharge quickly using the included charging station. Check out more details by clicking the link above.

Be sure to check GeekDad’s section called GeekDad Deals. Throughout the week we will offer new deals on cool stuff. These deals have limited lifespans, so keep checking back. Also, create an account and sign up for our newsletter at https://deals.geekdad.com/sign_up or follow our Store RSS Feed at https://deals.geekdad.com/feed.

Click through to read all of "GeekDad Daily Deal: Cresuer Touchwave Bluetooth Earbuds" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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Reading Time: 1 minuteGeek Daily Deals – All the outlets you need in just one device. Plug in all your devices, whether they need standard outlets or USB charging ports! BESTEK Surge Protector 8-Outlet and 40W 6-Port Smart USB Power Strip:
  • 8-Outlet Surge Protector(1500J) USB Power Strip with 6-foot heavy-duty power cable(14AWG),protecting your router, laptops, printers, modems, speakers and other valuable appliances against surges and spikes
  • 6 Smart USB Charging Ports with intelligent recognition function, detecting your device to deliver its safest maximum charge speed up to 2.4A per port,40W/8A total (No compatibility problem )
  • Desktop Tower Design,BESTEK USB Surge Protector is ideal for charging multiple devices at home/office/school,SPACE SAVING!(only 5.7 inches tall)
  • Two independent switches and unique photosensitive USB LED indicator make this surge protector convenient to use
  • Safety Guarantee:ETL Listed,built-in surge protection,short circuit protection, overload protection,over temperature protection, over current protection. Built-in SAFETY DOOR to protect kids from unexpected electric shock

Get one for $32 today!

Did you miss yesterday’s Deals?

WE ARE AMAZON ASSOCIATES

Many writers on GeekDad & GeekMom are Amazon Associates, and the links included in some of our pieces will generate a small affiliate bonus from qualifying purchases.

Click through to read all of "Geek Daily Deals Jul. 15, 2018: 8-Outlet and 6-Port Smart USB Power Strip Surge Protector" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

Last year was a very rough year for me. I was newly separated from my husband of 14 years. My mother became very ill in August and we are still working on her recovery. My son and I had moved back to my childhood home to be with her and to be closer to my sister and her family late the previous fall. She’s only 45 and has Stage 4 metastatic bone cancer. Yeah. Totally sucks. The additional commute time to my job and the increased work to maintain the house and land have taken a toll on my schedule. A friend I love dearly decided not to be my friend any longer and other acquaintances and friends have faded away now that I’m so far from the city.

I was feeling lonely, tired, grumpy, and to be honest, a bit like there was no hope for things to get better. I was overwhelmed with work, managing the household, trying to become a writer, and even struggled to be a good mother to my son. I constantly felt (and still do quite often) disgusted with myself. Physically and emotionally. I wallowed for a while, shutting myself off from social interactions. I found myself neglecting my duties as a mom, a daughter, an employee, and a friend. I began to eat even more poorly than before. I drank more wine than I’m comfortable admitting. I had become what one might call a hot mess.

There is, however, always hope. If nothing else, we geeks enjoy a problem that we can solve. So I have embraced my geeky side to take steps toward making myself healthier and happier. I’ll periodically share how I’m progressing, what is working, what isn’t, and how I’m making changes to keep myself on track. I can’t resist making this into something extremely geeky, so here are the steps I’ve set forth in Busy Geeks Guide to Wellness.

Identify the end game and the quests

In every RPG there are many quests that you can undertake to help you progress toward that end game content. Depending on your play style, you might head straight for that final content like a laser beam, or you may meander your way through every side quest and dungeon you come across. There is no right or wrong way to play the game. The best way is the way that works for you. The same approach applies to wellness. The main difference here is I am creating the end game goal and I am creating all the quests along the way instead of having a path laid out before me that I simply follow.

So what is my quest or goal? In a nutshell, I want to feel well again. I haven’t for many years. Not physically and certainly not mentally. So my end game is to feel healthy again. To get there, I’ve set some quests before me to move toward my goal. The main quests lines for me are:

  1. Lose weight to the point that I feel good in my skin again.
  2. Become stronger, physically. I don’t like being limited in what I can do when I work on a project simply because I don’t have the physical strength to do the tasks required. And I hate asking for help, so this one is key.
  3. Become stronger, mentally. I need to lighten up on myself. I dwell too much on how others perceive me and not enough on how I feel about me. Do I like who I am? Do I like the things I do? Am I fulfilling my own needs as well as the needs of others?
  4. Create balance. I tend to go whole hog, full bore (read that as boar), and maybe even total toad every time I start something new, and I kind of just let other things slide. Unless I make a conscious choice to put those other somethings down and let them go, I need to give them their fair attention. And yes, I made up the total toad bit so don’t Google it.
  5. Regulate my sleep. I have some serious sleep dysfunction going on these days. Right now, it is Monday night with work looming ahead of me tomorrow and I’m writing this at just past 1:00 AM. I never fall asleep at a regular time and I often need naps during the day to get by. Not to mention the 6:00 AM wake-up times are brutal when you don’t fall asleep until after 2:00 AM.

Those are my current main quest lines. They are the quests I have defined for myself that I feel will get me to that final goal. As this series progresses, we’ll start defining and measuring on the quest progression needed to get me to those above goals, and we might even pull in a few side quests to explore along the way. Maybe a new unexpected main quest line will evolve as we progress. You just never know what will happen when you take that first step down a new path.

Assemble adventuring party

No RPG is complete without an adventuring party. So who have I recruited to my squad? Quite a few people, though some of them may not even be aware (yet) that they have been recruited. I’m pretty confident they will all be pleased to help me along, though. So in no particular order here is my party:

  1. My best friend. He’s been a rock for me for so many years it is simply unimaginable that he wouldn’t be the first person I turn to when I need support. He’s supported me through life changes and career changes. He has talked me down when I have let the darkness seep in a little too far. He cheers me up when I’m feeling down. But most importantly, he tells me point blank when I need to “quit whining, pull up my big girl panties, and do what needs doing.” Yeah, that is pretty close to a quote. He’s the best. Mainly because that statement is usually followed by a hug and smile to let me know it comes from a place of love.
  2. My nerd crew. I have a tremendously wonderful online posse that is a mix of current and former GeekDad and GeekMom writers. These are the people that when I first signed on to write for the sites made me feel welcome and were always willing to hear me out when I had an idea that needed tweaking. They are still there for me whether my need is to just talk nerdy or if the need is to vent about the latest crappy week at any of my many jobs. They are so important to me and, though I won’t call them out by name, I hope they smile a little when they read this.
  3. My coach. Yep, I went and done hired myself a trainer/coach. We are just in the “getting to know you” stages, but I have every confidence she will be a key party member over the next year. I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot more about her as she’s already doing so much to help me get this party started.

Now that my initial party has been assembled, we need to get geared up.

Gathering resources

Oh how we nerds love our gadgets and tools. I think I’ve come up with an excellent list of items that will help me succeed and I will more than likely add more items along the way. Here is a quick list of the initial tools I’m gathering for the journey. There are links to where to find every one of these, just click on their name.

  1. Jarvis Bamboo Adjustable Desk – Given the high number of hours I spend at a computer, which is often 12+ per day, I decided that I needed to make those hours a little less bad for me, so I picked up an adjustable height desk so I can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
  2. Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer – A large portion of the hours I spend at a desk are at my day job’s office. Where I can’t stand. So I purchased this little beauty from Amazon some time ago and when I’m on conference calls or working on boring spreadsheets I’ll slide this baby forward, slip forward on my chair, and pedal away. 
  3. Vivora Luna Sitting Ball – When I do choose to set at my Jarvis, I mostly sit on this Vivora Luna ball. It keeps me sitting more upright and I move around a bit instead of sitting completely still.

    My son testing out the Vivora Luno ball while playing video games

  4. Bowflex HVT – A very large part of wellness is either staying in good physical shape or getting there if you aren’t currently. I’m in that latter category, so I reached out to Nautilus/Bowflex and discussed my plans with them. After hearing my goals, they recommended I try out the Bowflex HVT. 
  5. Plantronics BackBeat Fit 300 Series Wireless and Sweatproof Headphones – I can’t stand to workout without some sort of entertainment. Some folks do their workouts in front of a television, but I tend towards upbeat music or a good audiobook. I have a tremendous love for my other set of Plantronics headphones, the BackBeat Pro 2 set as you can tell from this earlier review. Sadly, I can’t exercise in them. They slide right off of my head. So I reached out to my rep at Plantronics and she quickly recommended the BackBeat Fit 300 Wireless set for my workouts.
  6. Fitbit Blaze – I’ve had this Fitbit model for quite a while. I picked it up back in 2016 and wear it almost every waking moment. Being able to link the Fitbit with my other apps is proving to be so helpful on this quest. 
  7. Yeti Tumbler – One of the key elements of feeling good is staying hydrated. Especially if you’re doing a lot of exercises, it is important to drink lots of water. Since I’m taking a break from alcohol and gave up soda a long time ago, my options are pretty limited for other types of beverages. I’m a coffee, tea, water, and carbonated water gal now. I don’t know about you but I will drink a lot more water if that water is cold, but it is not always convenient for me to be right next to a cold water source. I absolutely adore this cup. I put cold water in it directly from my water cooler or fridge and it stays cold for hours. I don’t take hours to drink the water during the day, but I can confirm water I put in it before bed is still cool when I wake up in the morning. 
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Reading Time: 1 minuteGeek Daily Deals – Want better sound, and cool color-changing effects, from your Echo Dot? Check out this iHome speaker port for just $42! We actually have the Echo Dot in our living room hooked up to one of those JBL speakers with colors for the same effect, but this seems like a more elegant (and less expensive) solution. iHome iAV5 Color Changing Bluetooth Rechargeable Speaker for Amazon Echo Dot:
  • Echo Dot Bluetooth Speaker specially designed for Amazon (works with 2nd Gen, not included).
  • The iAV5 is perfect for using Alexa and your Dot from room to room and even out on the deck. Keeps you in contact with Alexa throughout the house. (Wi-Fi Required)
  • Wirelessly stream Audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device.
  • 5 Color changing modes: slow blend, fast blend, favorite Color, Pulse to music, and preset Pulse
  • Control your home from the bedside. This Amazon Echo Dot dock works with iHome smartplugs (sold separately) and many more smart home solutions.
  • Passive radiator for enhanced bass
  • Docking Solution – dedicated MicroUSB cable connection to power Echo Dot

Get one for $42 today!

Did you miss yesterday’s Deals?

WE ARE AMAZON ASSOCIATES

Many writers on GeekDad & GeekMom are Amazon Associates, and the links included in some of our pieces will generate a small affiliate bonus from qualifying purchases.

Click through to read all of "Geek Daily Deals Jul. 14, 2018: Color-Changing Speaker For Your Echo Dot" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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Reading Time: 2 minutesForeground image: LEGO

For the rest of this month, LEGO is holding a competition to get viewers excited about The LEGO Movie 2, coming out early next year. Announcing The LEGO Movie 2 Building Buddies Competition!

The AWESOME Building Buddies Competition - The LEGO Movie 2 - Building Contest - YouTube

The competition is open to adults, kids, and mixed pairs. Just join with a friend or family member to create something original out of LEGO that brings together two of your favorite things. Like chocolate and peanut butter, planes and trains, bears and gears, or anything else you can think of. If you can’t agree on two favorite things with your building buddy, each of you can decide on one of the items, and then just find a way to integrate them for your final build.

Once you have your final creation, download, print out, and sign the submission form and terms of conditions. Builders under 18 are totally allowed, but they’ll need a parent or guardian to sign for them. Then, send a photo of you, your epic build, and a picture of the signed submission form into the LEGO folks. Check out the website for details on how to do that.

Be sure to get your entry in before the deadline, which is July 31, 2018, at 23:59 Central European Time. I’ll leave converting that into U.S. time zones as an exercise for the reader. Or just get it in by July 30th and you’ll be good. And don’t forget to read the official rules and data privacy notice. It’s all spelled out on the competition website, but it’s pretty standard stuff.

You’ll definitely want to win this competition because winners will have their builds featured in the end credits of The LEGO Movie 2! So there’s a lot at stake. It’s time to get building. If you enjoyed the original The LEGO Movie, this next one’s sure to delight as well.

Be awesome, together!

Click through to read all of "Enter ‘The LEGO Movie 2’ Building Buddies Competition by July 31!" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Given the right medium, your words can be valuable. Today’s Daily Deal, the Copywriting Mastery Bundle, teaches you how to focus your words to make the greatest impact (and, ultimately, money) as either a copywriter or an author. These four courses cover everything from the basics of keeping things concise and attractive to running your own business. Work for others or yourself; it’s really what you decide… or, rather, how you want to say it. Check out more details by clicking the link above.

Be sure to check GeekDad’s section called GeekDad Deals. Throughout the week we will offer new deals on cool stuff. These deals have limited lifespans, so keep checking back. Also, create an account and sign up for our newsletter at https://deals.geekdad.com/sign_up or follow our Store RSS Feed at https://deals.geekdad.com/feed.

Click through to read all of "GeekDad Daily Deal: The Copywriting Mastery Bundle" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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Reading Time: 1 minuteGeek Daily Deals – Want better sound, and cool color-changing effects, from your Echo Dot? Check out this iHome speaker port for just $42! We actually have the Echo Dot in our living room hooked up to one of those JBL speakers with colors for the same effect, but this seems like a more elegant (and less expensive) solution. iHome iAV5 Color Changing Bluetooth Rechargeable Speaker for Amazon Echo Dot:
  • Echo Dot Bluetooth Speaker specially designed for Amazon (works with 2nd Gen, not included).
  • The iAV5 is perfect for using Alexa and your Dot from room to room and even out on the deck. Keeps you in contact with Alexa throughout the house. (Wi-Fi Required)
  • Wirelessly stream Audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device.
  • 5 Color changing modes: slow blend, fast blend, favorite Color, Pulse to music, and preset Pulse
  • Control your home from the bedside. This Amazon Echo Dot dock works with iHome smartplugs (sold separately) and many more smart home solutions.
  • Passive radiator for enhanced bass
  • Docking Solution – dedicated MicroUSB cable connection to power Echo Dot

Get one for $42 today!

Did you miss yesterday’s Deals?

WE ARE AMAZON ASSOCIATES

Many writers on GeekDad & GeekMom are Amazon Associates, and the links included in some of our pieces will generate a small affiliate bonus from qualifying purchases.

Click through to read all of "Geek Daily Deals Jul. 14, 2018: Color-Changing Speaker For Your Echo Dot" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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Reading Time: 2 minutesGeek Daily Deals – Want some fancy Bluetooth earbuds without the Apple Tax? Check these out. Plus, see some Prime Day deal previews! Bluetooth 5.0 Deep Bass True Wireless Headphones:
  • [HD SOUND WITH DEEP BASS] Featuring Bluetooth 5.0 and lossless HD rendering technology that produce incredible sound quality with deep bass and crystal crisp treble. Tranya true wireless earbuds can block out a lot of surrounding noises, and do avoid wind noise created during running, biking, jogging, etc.
  • [STABLE CONNECTIVITY] Provide stable and seamless connectivity with Bluetooth 5.0 and high sensitivity antenna enabled devices up to 33 feet away, which also ensure low latency and low energy features during data transmission.
  • [EASY TO USE] The earbuds automatically turn on and connect your smart phone when removed from the case; automatically turn off and charge when put back in the case. Also, the headphones can be used to answer/reject calling, skip/play/pause songs, and activate voice assistant, such as Siri.
  • [Secure Fit& Mini Design] Extremely light weight and mini in-ear design with two pairs of ear tips to ensure your headphones stay comfortably firm in place and improve the experience on sports.
  • [LONGER BATTERY LIFE] It is up to 3-4 hours playing time when headphones fully charged. Else the portable charging case could recharge the earbuds 4 additional times. The total play time could be up to 15 hours. You are fully covered by our 1 YEAR WARRANTY and 30 DAYS RETURN GUARANTEE, all you need to do is contact us directly at our customer support.

Get the set for $50 today! (Going Fast!)

Monday is Prime Day, so we’re already getting a taste of the deals some of the gadget makers we love have in store:
AUKEY Latitude Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones w/ 3 EQ Sound Modes & aptX    $19.49 valid from 1:05-7:05 PM.  Jul 16
AUKEY Dash Cam with Full HD 1080P & Internal supercapacitor                                   $43.49 valid from 1:05-7:05 PM.  Jul 16
AUKEY 60W USB Charger with Quick Charge 3.0 & 6-Port USB Charging Station        $21.99 valid from 5:50-11:50 AM. Jul 17
AUKEY Bluetooth Receiver Wireless with Hands-free Calling                                         $10.39 valid from 2:00-8:00 PM. Jul 17
AUKEY iF and Red Dot Award-winning Graphite Wireless Charger                                $19.19 valid from 7:30 AM.-1:30 PM. Jul 19
AUKEY ULTRA COMPACT Dual Port 2.4A USB Wall Charger                                        $12.74 valid from 6:20-12:20 AM. Jul 20 

Did you miss yesterday’s Deals?

WE ARE AMAZON ASSOCIATES

Many writers on GeekDad & GeekMom are Amazon Associates, and the links included in some of our pieces will generate a small affiliate bonus from qualifying purchases.

Click through to read all of "Geek Daily Deals Jul. 13, 2018: Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds; Prime Day GadgetPreview" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Dragonbox, the company behind the fantastic algebra app, is tackling a new subject: chess!

Magnus’ Kingdom of Chess teaches kids (and adults!) to play chess by turning it into an adventure game, gradually introducing new pieces and staging simplified chess battles. It’s made with World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, and features a cartoon version of him that you’ll spot throughout the game. I’ve played through the entire game myself, and my kids are also working their way through the levels.

Move around to find keys, coins, and other objects, but watch out for enemies!

When you begin the game, you are a lone King, so you can move in any direction, but only one step at a time. As you wander around, you can collect keys and smash various objects to search for coins. The ground has a checkerboard pattern, but the shapes of the rooms and terrain aren’t limited to an 8×8 square chessboard. Instead, you explore a castle, walk along sandy beaches, and make your way across grassy plains.

In some places, you’ll come across enemies—other chess pieces—who have arrows showing how they could attack. You’ll need to figure out ways to get past them or capture them.

Unlock cages to free more pieces!

One of the things you’re looking for is more pieces: your fellow chess pieces have been locked into cages, and you’ll have to collect keys to free them. Once freed, they show up in the bottom right portion of your screen, and you can switch between them to access different moves and attacks.

Visit merchants to buy new outfits.

There are merchants who will sell you new outfits if you’ve collected enough coins (or sometimes other objects). While this doesn’t affect gameplay at all, it does let you change up the look of your characters, which is just a fun bonus. (One minor complaint: if you have to pay money for something, you have to sit and wait while all of the coins fly from your inventory to the merchant, one at a time.)

Cards explain how chess pieces work or teach strategies.

Also scattered throughout the map are “cards” that you can pick up and add to your collection. These cards (which can be viewed in your inventory) teach you the actual rules of chess: how various pieces can move, rules about check and checkmate, and so on.

Maps display points of interest.

You can always use the map to get an overview of the terrain, which can help you spot objects and coins. Points of interest like cards and cages are highlighted with large icons (though, oddly, these icons don’t go away even after you’ve retrieved those things). There’s also a guided mode, turned on by tapping the compass in the lower right, that will display a path of arrows showing you how to get to your next objective, which can be helpful for younger kids. It won’t help you find the extras, but lets you progress through the levels.

Time for a battle!

Every so often, you will enter an area that initiates a battle. At first, it may be a small area, but eventually, the battles take place on a regular sized chessboard. The pieces you own will be placed in your area, and the opposing team will have some number of pieces, plus a stationary crown that represents the king. Your goal is to capture the crown, at which point any remaining enemies will be eliminated.

Unlike the adventure game portion of the app, you no longer get to transform yourself into any available piece, but must use what you have. Also, you take turns, so the enemy will get to make moves as well. (In the adventure game portion, the enemies are often stationary or moving in a predictable pattern.) The enemy will usually pick a random piece to move, which means it may not automatically retaliate to protect its own pieces even if it’s possible.

As you progress through the game, the battles get more difficult—you and the enemy will both start with more pieces on the board. There are also some battles that involve a rabbit: you are presented with a small area (sometimes with obstacles) and a limited number of pieces, and the rabbit moves like a king, one space in any direction. Your goal is to capture the rabbit, which is basically practice for checkmating the king without any other pieces as distractions.

The final battle is a full-fledged chess game.

The final battle, of course, is a complete chess game, with all the pieces on the board for both sides. By this time, you’ll have learned how all the pieces move, and (with practice) should be able to take on your opponent.

Once you win the final battle, there’s some fanfare, but then the game sort of ends abruptly: you can continue to go back and play the full chess game again, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to go back to the rest of the map and adventure portion without resetting your progress and starting over.

My daughter playing Magnus’ Kingdom.

So far my 11-year-old and 5-year-old daughters have been making their way through the levels, and it’s been fun to see how they tackle the various problems presented in the game. My 11-year-old already had some knowledge of chess..

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

I have long had a fascination with wargames; it started when I first spotted a sand-filled gaming table back in the late ’70s covered with Napoleon-era metal figurines. The men standing around the table were arguing over obscure rules and measuring all sorts of distances between cannons, structures, and groups of painted soldiers.

As I’ve grown, my taste in games has expanded to include board games, RPGs, video games, and more. But down in my core, I’ve always been a wargamer at heart. My only issue growing up was the high cost to play. Costs still play an issue today, especially with some of the more modern wargames. That’s probably why I’ve been more engaged with what’s called skirmish wargames. Skirmish wargames typically come at a lower price due to fewer miniatures being needed to play a game. The cost of 50-100 soldiers versus just 10 is substantial, and then toss in the fact that skirmish wargame rules are usually less complex and the games run faster… that’s a win in my book. (There are always exceptions, however, and some skirmish games can be just as complex and expensive.)

One type of wargame that has always grabbed my attention has been the maritime wargame. (Growing up on the Gulf Coast, especially around the Pensacola area with its Spanish history, I’ve always loved the ocean and the tales of pirates and merchant ships.) I’ve seen tables filled with wooden ships, blasting miniature cannons across a blue tabletop, and stood in awe of the amazing crafting and painting skills that go into that particular hobby. One thing I do not need, however… is another expensive and time-consuming gaming hobby.

But about a month ago, I was walking around the Southern-Fried Gaming Expo in Atlanta and my eye caught a colorful scene—a beautiful blue ocean game board, covered with small islands dotted with 3D structures. And scattered across the ocean were these tiny painted ships… galleons, frigates, sloops… and more. I saw around the game board (that consists of smaller double-sided tiles that can be moved to randomize the island layouts) colorful oversized cards, each with an image of a ship and also covered in small six-sided dice. I moved in…

The game is called British vs. Pirates: A Ship Combat Game, and it was created by a very friendly guy named Apollo at Exocrategames and had a successful Kickstarter last year. After some discussions with Apollo (and his wife and daughter who were there to help promote and demo the game), he provided me with a review unit to take home and play. I will admit right now that I could not stop smiling the entire ride home.

TL;DR

Here you go: BvP is FUN! It’s a well-done mix of board game and wargame, with cards and dice used alongside miniatures for up to four players. And should you find just as fun as I have, you’ll be glad to know there is an expansion that allows you to add in the Spanish Armada. (I haven’t yet had a chance to dig into the Spanish fleet, but my oldest son and I have had a *blast* with the basic game and pointing cannons and trying to evade each other’s ships using a very simple wind mechanic.)

What Is British vs. Pirates

British vs. Pirates is a sailing ship combat game for 2-4 players from Exocrategames. Players take on the role of either the British or the Pirates, taking two ships into combat (in Annihilation mode) or escorting a merchant ship to the opposite side of the game board (in Merchant Escort mode). Modified rules are provided for 3-player mode.

A typical game will last around 60 minutes. Recommended age for the game is 14+, although my 11-year-old has done just fine with the rules.

British vs. Pirates Core Game Components

Tucked in the box are the following components:

  • 9x Sea Tiles (double-sided)
  • 12x Captain Cards
  • 21x Ship Cards
  • 54x Skill Cards
  • 1x Mission Book
  • 1x Rule Book
  • 36x d6 (six-sided dice)
  • 3x d12 (twelve-sided dice)
  • 1x Wind Vane
  • 4X Sloops (plastic ships)
  • 1X Zebec (ship)
  • 5x Frigates (ship)
  • 3x Fluyts (ship)
  • 3x Galleons (ship)
  • 3x Line Ships (ship)

How to Play British vs. Pirates Objective

Choose between two game modes: Annihilation Mode where the last ship standing is the winner and Merchant Escort mode where the first player to successfully get their merchant ship (a Fluyt) to the opposite edge of the map wins. In either mode, the ship combat and movement rules are identical.

Setup

Two players select two ships and two captain cards. One captain is assigned to each of the ships. (For 3+ players, each player will control one ship and captain.) Each player draws three Skill cards for their faction (British or Pirate) and places them face down in their play area; the color of the card (Green, Yellow, Red, Blue) will determine when it can be played.

Place three sea tiles (one of these is the Wind sea tile) together in a straight line for a 2-player game. For a 4-player game, place five sea tiles in the shape of a + symbol or all nine tiles (3×3 grid) for a longer game. The Wind Vane goes on the Wind sea tile.

Place six-sided dice on Ship cards and Captain cards. Dice starting face values are indicated on the cards.

Your Turn

Players take turns (clockwise) issuing a Move or Attack command in any order. On your turn:

  1. Draw back up to 3 Skill cards (max). You can discard cards at any time, BUT may only draw back up at the start of your turn. Cards must be used before dice are rolled, and Yellow Skill cards can only be used when it is NOT your turn.
  2. Movement can go before or after an Attack and is in the forward direction. Reference your ships’ cards graphic for its speed based on the direction of the Wind Vane. Backward movement is not allowed, nor is travel over land (obviously) or through another ship. A Pivot value will allow you to rotate your ship a certain number of hex facings and can be done before or after a Move action. A Pivot cannot split a Move action.
  3. Attacks may occur before or after a Move action. Firing arcs are identical for all ships, and the maximum firing distance is three hexes. Land will block line-of-sight (LOS). LOS is measured from the center of your ship to the center of an enemy ship. Targets on both sides of a ship that are within range can be fired upon during the same turn.
  4. Firing Arcs are determined and the attacker must declare the side of the ship being targeted (if more than one side can be hit) before dice are rolled or Skill cards used. Firing arcs are explained in more detail on pages 9-10 of the Rule Book.
  5. Attacks may be done with Cannons or by Boarding. Cannon attacks are done by determining if a target is within a valid firing arc AND within range. Consult your Ship Card to determine how many D12 to roll (one per hex distance). Add Captain card bonuses and Skill card bonuses to each D12 roll—if the total of each D12 roll ties or exceeds the value of the die on the side being attacked (plus the Side Defense value), a hit is scored and the die is reduced by 1. When the die is reduced to 0, remove the die and apply any penalties on the Ship card that are revealed by the removed die. Any further damage that would go through the side reduced to 0 will be applied to the Structure Defense die in the middle. When that die is reduced to 0, the ship is sunk. (NOTE: A Side Defense value is still added to the Structure Defense die.) An attack roll of 1 on the die is an automatic failure.
  6. For Boarding actions, both attacking and defending ship must be in adjacent hexes. You’ll use values on your Captain card to determine whether a Grapple (attacking player) or a Repel (defending player) is successful. Both players roll a D12, add their Crew Morale value (the single die on the card), and then the Grapple or Repel value depending on who is doing the attack (Boarding) and defending (Repel). A tie goes to the attacker. Highest value wins. The losing player rotates their Crew Morale die down -1 and lowers their ship’s Structure Defense die by 1. Winning player rotates their Crew Morale die to maximum value (defined on the card). A roll of 1 on the die is an automatic loss (by either player).

Note: Boarding is an amazing way to sink a ship that has strong defenses. My oldest son got me on this by siding up next to me and winning a number of Boarding attacks as we went back and forth. 

With the Merchant Escort game mode, the first player to get their Merchant ship to the opposite side of the map wins. If your merchant ship is sunk, you lose, but play continues because the other merchant ship can still be sunk for a tie game.

Why You Should Play British vs. Pirates

I have never played a sailing ship game before, but I’ve seen several played. The one thing I both enjoyed and hated about some of the other games I’ve seen was the complexity of the rules. Complexity can go both ways, making a game long and convoluted but also giving it the granularity that pushes a game to a closer resemblance to reality.

British vs. Pirates is not complex… and that’s a GOOD thing. You don’t have to consult tables about weather conditions that can affect visibility, complex charts to determine how many cannons were lost during a wild volley, and more. With BvP, you’ve the Weather Vane that can help or hurt your movement, Defense values and Skill cards to add to single D12 rolls for attacks, and a few simple stats such as Crew Morale and Structure Defense to worry about. That’s it. Everything else is just maneuvering your ships quickly and easily into firing positions (or to steer around some land).

The game moves fast once you’ve got the basic combat rules down. Movement is easy and quick, and the Skill cards add just the right amount of randomness (without feeling like the game is based on luck) to shake things up. There is nothing more satisfying than watching as one of your ships tears into another and you watch that Defense Structure die slowly tick down … 3… 2… 1… sunk.

Once you’ve enjoyed a few basic games, you’ll also want to check out the Mission Book that contains 15 different scenarios with titles such as “A Fiery Rebuke” and “To Break the Curse” and “A Deal with the Devil.” All scenarios come with a short backstory, Starting Conditions (that include requiring certain map tiles), and Victory Conditions. My son and I are working through them… bit by bit.

I’m having way too much fun with this game. It satisfies the requirements I’ve had for wanting to play a sailing ship skirmish wargame… simple, variety in ships and cards, easy to transport and set up, and expandable. For these reasons, I’m now quite anxious to play the follow-up—British vs Pirates Volume 2 that includes Krakens, resource collection, campaign missions, and more.

Final Thoughts

This game went with me on the family beach vacation. I typically take 3-4 games that are easy to transport, and because my son and I were having so much fun with it, it just seemed logical given the theme and locale of our vacation. We’re back now, and I’m wanting to paint these little minis up to give the game a bit more color. My son says he’ll help, and that’s even better…

Sometimes you just luck into finding something fun to play, and I am so glad to have discovered BvP at the Southern-Fried Gaming Expo that weekend. It caught my attention, and I have a strong feeling the artwork and the map tiles and the ship minis will scratch the itch for many gamers who have been looking for a fast and fun sailing ship wargame.

You can check out some Learn to Play videos here. BvP Vol 1 and Vol 2 can be found at Exocrategames online store.

Click here to see all our tabletop game reviews.

Disclosure: Exocrategames provided James a review copy of the game.

Click through to read all of "‘British vs. Pirates’ — Fast-and-Fun Sailing Ship Combat Game" at GeekDad.If you value content from GeekDad, please support us via Patreon or use this link to shop at Amazon. Thanks!

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