Shortly after the end of the American Revolutionary War, commercial vessels of the United States were being attacked and raided by the pirates of the Barbary coast in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1801, newly inaugurated President Thomas Jefferson was eager to put an end to this threat and sent a “squadron of observation” to the Mediterranean to deal with the threat. The Shores of Tripoli covers this conflict and does so using a card driven game mechanic that works really well in this instance. The game is a little deceiving, as at first it appears to be pretty introductory with simple rules and mechanics, but the depth for the game lies in the strategy for each side and the fact that their victory conditions are asymmetric.
Here are links to a series of Action Point posts that dive into the various aspects of the design:
Action Point 1 – the Game Map and the different locations including harbors, naval patrol zones and the open sea.
Action Point 2 – discuss the differences between the units of the United States and her Allies and Tripolitania and her Allies and how they are used in the game.
Action Point 3 – the cards that drive the action and provide interesting Events that ground the game in history.