When discussing Treacher Island last year, Graeme Davis mentioned another Warhammer product that never reached publication.
Hal [Richard Halliwell] also talked up something he called Hell’s Bells and Buckets of Blood, which may have been his title for this project, or may have been a piracy supplement or a naval wargame distantly ancestral to Man O’War.
– Graeme Davis, comment on Awesome Lies
He subsequently added a further comment on the subject from Rick Priestley:
Hell’s Bells and Buckets of Blood was – if I remember – another great title in search for a game… I believe it was Hal’s proto- fantasy naval wargame.
– Rick Priestley, comment on Awesome Lies
I have since tracked down a mention of this game from around April 1986, where it is described as a WFB2 scenario pack to follow The Tragedy of McDeath.
Work is already underway on another scenario pack – Hell’s Bells and Buckets of Blood. This one is to be set on the high seas, featuring model galleons, pirates, plotters, Captain Krukk and the crew of the ‘Ents Surprise’.
– The third Citadel Journal (Spring 1986), p40
Hell’s Bells was not the only attempt to represent naval warfare in Warhammer. There was Treacher Island itself, by Ian Page, which was first mentioned around January 1986, just a few months before the Citadel Journal quotation above. A few months after the quotation, Gary Chalk wrote ‘All the Nice Dwarves Luv a Sailor’ in White Dwarf 82 (October 1986) which provided naval combat rules.
‘All the Nice Dwarves Luv a Sailor’
There is no evidence that these projects were part of a coordinated effort. Most probably they were not, but it is tempting to speculate on a connection. They are close together in time. Gary Chalk and Ian Page were friends who collaborated on Bloodbath at Orc’s Drift. ‘All the Nice Dwarves’ might even have included elements of Treacher Island.
Title art by Geoff Taylor. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.