Player Comments on The Sanguine and Blackbeard's Cutlass

While Ben Franklin was playing with kites in Philadelphia, pirate-wizards were fighting Aztec gods down in the Bahamas. History is more interesting than most people realize.

I'm not sure that this comes anywhere close to being "edutainment," but it sure is one hell of a fun adventure. You are the notorious captain of a ship called the Sanguine, and as the story opens your crew is effecting repairs after a costly battle. At first, I thought the references to "wizards" was some kind of eighteenth-century slang for a type of cannon, but no, the word is meant literally in this story.

I read through five "main" endings and at least as many quick-death endings; for a story of about 23,000 words, that's not a bad count. These were strung out on two primary branches as I counted them (if there are more, I'll need to dive back in and search them out) with the choices having more meaningful consequences further into the story.

I liked the artistic title on the very first page; the story editor on CYS allows lots of customization, so I'm disappointed more authors don't take advantage of this and add some visual interest to their stories. Likewise with the "The End" flourishes at each of the main endings.

The dialog consisted of witty banter followed by quick analyses of plot mechanics. It was not naturalistic, but appropriate to the story. Action scenes were full of parries, dodges, and thrusts -- about what you'd expect from a pirate's tale. The magic missiles and force fields were a genre-twisting touch.

Of the two branches I read, the one that involved the swim to the underwater entrance was perhaps the most satisfying, but also the easiest; with two female partners to flirt with, the protag didn't seem too upset when one heroically died in one ending. The other branch, with its well-endowed statues, had most of the quick-death endings.

As far as the writing quality, there were some minor quibbles with spelling and grammar, but nothing worth enumerating. What I do want to encourage is an attempt at more of a variety in sentence structure. For instance, take a look at this paragraph early in the story:

"You finish the cup and slam it back down on the bar top. Sunlight pours into the poorly lit building through several open windows creating rectangular beams of yellow. You're reminded of the Caribbean heat each time a wave of warm air floods in. Your crew had certainly seen better days. The last three ships you targeted weren't carrying anything substantial. Your most recent job would have been a huge payday if not for the Galleon's attack. At least you managed to escape alive and with most of your crew. Victoria's former life as naval mage certainly came in handy there."

Nothing here is technically wrong. However, this one paragraph contains eight sentences that all have almost identical subject-verb-object structures, with missed opportunities to join some of the related thoughts into more complex statements. This did make some passages seem too matter-of-fact and far less lyrical than they perhaps could be.

All in all, though, this was an enjoyable story.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 12/13/2019 11:14:33 PM with a score of 0
This is an excellent story, though it does have a few small problems. I’ll start with the good stuff.

It was entertaining the whole way through, which is less common than you might think. The story itself was interesting enough, but more importantly, the details held my interest- little quips, notes about characters’ appearances, and descriptions that really helped me get into the mood of the setting. The characters themselves were well-done; though I only got detailed descriptions of the protagonist and a couple others, everyone had at least one trait, which kept them distinctive. Oftentimes minor characters blend together, but here Proctor, Victoria, etc. all had at least a bit of personality.

The action scenes were also quite well done, probably because the author didn’t try to make the entire thing action-packed. Instead, we got a nice mix of exploration, dialogue, and description with some exciting moments of combat which never seemed repetitive because they just didn’t happen all that often.

The length was another strong point. This was basically one adventure, though since there was a good amount of branching, that one adventure could take many forms. This seems better than trying to stretch the story out into an epic.

On to the issues. There weren’t a ton of grammar or spelling mistakes, but some of them did stand out. Similarly, some of the phrasing was just a little awkward and broke the flow of the scenes. Nothing terrible, but it’s always good to avoid anything that distracts the reader from the story itself. I could also have used a bit more edutainment, thought that might just reflect the particular paths I took. The pacing near the end was also somewhat odd- without giving away any spoilers, what seemed like the climactic battle was followed by another battle, only I didn’t get to make any choices and this second battle wrapped up in about a paragraph.

Still, overall a good read and an excellent contribution to the site!
-- pugpup1 on 11/8/2019 2:23:16 PM with a score of 0
The rightful winner of the Battle for Infinity Contest, this game mixes action, adventure, a bit of mystery, exploration, and wild swashbuckling. I enjoyed every bit of it.

The game offers some really substantial branching, offering rather different experiences and perspectives on the main characters depending on whom you choose to trust and follow--I replayed it several times and got extremely different narratives and had different adventures. I thought the choice design was solid.

But most importantly, from my perspective, is that the game was witty. There were several moments throughout where I laughed or smiled at the dialogue or the narrative description. The wit is mostly snark or cynical comedy, most frequently used to characterize the NPCS through dialogue with wonderful effect. I thought the prose in this game was a lot of fun to write. It fit so well with the dashing quest and dynamic adventure, to have the prose be so light and winning.

I do not want to spoil the adventure, naturally, but I will say that one NPC in particular whom you meet halfway through if you chose a peaceful path was the star of the show for me; Ninja's choices design made it difficult to decide between loyalty and power, and to decide how much I was willing to trust a new ally. I was very impressed with this game.
-- Gower on 11/5/2019 9:04:50 AM with a score of 0
Amazing plot and lots of great choices!
-- Reagan Benedict on 12/8/2020 10:50:01 PM with a score of 0
quick, fun read. good choices.
-- Not Steve on 10/5/2020 8:18:19 PM with a score of 0
great inspiration to run a campaign
-- Taylor Littlefield on 9/14/2020 11:41:52 PM with a score of 0
I honestly felt like it was a bit too techinal, great story though. Just waaaay too long in each thing.
-- Bipper. on 5/12/2020 6:31:02 PM with a score of 0
This story is absolutely amazing! The humor is great and I could just imagine every scene inside of my head! :D
-- Payton Likes Pie on 4/10/2020 1:25:16 PM with a score of 0
A classic PotC tale.
-- TheCreator_ on 2/23/2020 10:41:44 PM with a score of 0
I LOVED this!!! It was just the right amount of romance and battle! Keep writing!
-- Hi on 2/16/2020 5:08:09 PM with a score of 0
-- Will11 on 2/6/2020 9:59:59 PM with a score of 0
This story was pretty good. I’m probably not the demo for this, as I’m not much of a fan of pirates, but I enjoyed it. I’m not going to go over the top and say that it was amazing, but it was solid. For it’s length it branched a decent amount, and the writing was pretty good too. If you are a fan of pirates, or are just wanting to kill time you should read it, AND STOP READING THE REVIEWS.

The first thing I want to address is the dialogue. I think a lot of the time the story nailed it. Most writers struggle with creating good dialogue, or they struggle with describing things in the world. While this story did both those things well, I loved how witty the characters got, and I felt like I was hearing two real people talking.

Another thing about the story is the branching. Near the start everything funnels down one path, but as it goes on it does have a decent bit of branching. That is always good, and like I said earlier it is impressive when done on a story of this size.

I did notice a few spelling mistakes here and there, but nothing too major that it distracted from the story.

The characters were also pretty good. They felt real, and combined with the dialogue makes for very interesting conversations between the characters. I liked the first mate, she was pretty entertaining, and the path were she turns on you is great too.

All in all it is an entertaining game, and I had a fun time playing it. I’m sure I would have liked the game a lot more if I was into pirates, but alas that’s not the case. It still was a fun read though, and I liked how you incorporated magic into it.

Overall a solid 6/8
-- MicroPen on 12/30/2019 9:28:35 PM with a score of 0
I absolutely loved reading this. I think it's kind of a sweet story. My favorite part was the swim to the temple. I dunno why. I just think it was kind of cool
-- Mika0510 on 11/7/2019 8:04:37 AM with a score of 0
Just as Gower said, this was definitely deserving of the 1st place in the IS contest. I really enjoyed every aspect of this story, especially the time period it takes place in, and the magic integrated into the history. Great job ninjapitka! I’m looking forward to whatever it is you write next.
-- C6H8O6 on 11/6/2019 12:32:20 PM with a score of 0
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