100 Point Game vs. Witch
December 21st, 2021
I met up with Witch of the Discord server at Around the Table in Lynnwood WA! We played a 100 point game using round earth rules, 5 coins per island, and a custom Queen Anne’s Revenge in his fleet. The custom QAR is 18 points, 5 masts, 5 cargo, S+S speed, all 2S cannons, and has abilities of Fear and “If this ship wins a boarding party, she may be given an extra action”.
I rolled to go first, and we placed 6 total islands with no terrain. I went with a Spanish American fleet consisting of the Independence (my first time using her!), Frontier, Buscador, San Leandro and Diablo. He chose all Pirate with the QAR, SCS Lady’s Scorn, Minerva, Raven and Coral.
On the first turn I split my hoists to load as much gold as possible.
With the help of Bruce Grey, the Calico Cat’s Lady’s Scorn blasted the Frontier, dismasting her!
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Knowing I had a pretty solid defensive setup on the Independence (OE Montana Mays for SAT and Crew Protect, Eternal Ralph David, and an oarsman), I sailed her out to combat the Pirate threat. She dismasted the Lady’s Scorn but the QAR was left intact. Unable to reach home at her rowing speed of S+S, the Frontier heads north to dock at the island she already explored with her hoist crane. The Buscador can’t dock at home either, but touches the island with her crane to unload her gold.
At the end of my turn I built Thompson’s Island at the island the Frontier was docked at.
The carnage continues! The QAR dismasts the Independence! She also rams and boards, with Blackbeard capturing Montana Mays for a potential 7 gold payout! To the right of them you can see the Lady’s Scorn has boarded the Frontier to steal a coin.
Off the southern coast of my HI, the Minerva has been spoiled by Nemesio Diaz, whose reveal cancels the Minerva’s captain and protects the Buscador from harm!
At the right, the San Leandro has docked at the most remote wild island; the Coral has round earthed to an area even further east but is hesitant to approach due to the Diablo flotilla. At the upper left, the Raven has unloaded 3 coins at Witch’s home island.
My next turn saw the salvage work begin. The Independence ran for the safety of the home island, hoping to not get boarded by Blackbeard again. The fort did its part to help out, hitting 3/5 to smash up the QAR. The Frontier had a rather unique turn. I flipped Nikos Chelios (!?) to steal a coin back from the Lady’s Scorn (in hindsight, the Frontier has Secret Hold so this wouldn’t have happened. I also forgot to have the Frontier start the game S away from her home island, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered). Then the hoist used her crane to unload ALL the island’s gold BACK to the island! This was to protect it in the fort, since the Frontier might sink any turn now. However, she finally was able to use her actual action for the turn to repair a mast.
The Buscador has repositioned to dock at my HI for safety and prepare to help the San Leandro secure some eastern loot.
Now it was Witch’s turn to repair and regroup, with the early game conflict severely weakening both fleets. The Minerva and Lady’s Scorn round earthed to switch places, with the Minerva sinking the Frontier! The fort shot her mizzenmast off as slight payback. The QAR leaves the bloody waters behind, sailing west towards the Raven who has taken the last two coins off the southwestern island. At right, the Coral has explored the eastern island. She cannot be shot at while docked, but the San Leandro rammed her derelict. With that situation under control, the Buscador has again repositioned, with Nemesio’s sights now on the Lady’s Scorn – if he could cancel her oarsman, I could capture the ship.
The Independence and QAR will take considerable time to repair to adequate strength, potentially leaving the mid-phase part of the game up to the other ships. The Buscador is primed and ready, getting into position to cancel the LS’s oarsman two turns in a row so she can stop her and then capture her. At the right, the Coral exchanged her explorer for an extra coin but is then captured by the San Leandro.
The Buscador captured the Lady’s Scorn. With the Minerva lurking I wanted to protect the prize. Thinking about the odds I decided to sail the Independence out half-repaired, taking the Minerva down to one mast.
I had a slight conundrum in the east, where the San Leandro was towing the captured Coral at just S speed. Diablo could provide decent cover fire against the Raven, but I really didn’t want the Raven stealing any gold from either of the ships.
Big developments! The Lady’s Scorn returned to my home island on oar power, freeing the Buscador to sail south and construct Fortaleza Dorada on the southern island! I agonized over whether to build the fort there or in the east to try and secure the San Leandro and Coral’s gold. In the end the San Leandro broke for home, knowing that the Coral didn’t have very high value coins and there was 8 total on the San Leandro. The Independence has bested the Minerva, setting me up for my third prize of the game. However, the dangerous QAR has sailed out….
Aagh! Frustration for both players as plans are foiled. The QAR slams into the Buscador, but Witch’s luck fails him with the ship going 1/4 between shooting and ramming! However, Blackbeard was looming, and I had decided to have Nemesio Diaz cancel his gold capture ability instead of the Captain ability. I believe the Buscador won the boarding party, resulting in Genny’s Red Rampage being eliminated from the QAR. Witch did maneuver the QAR to be out of the fort’s cannon ranges. My frustration simply came from realizing that at this point I was very unlikey to be able to use a combo I really wanted to pull off this game.
Witch also maneuvered smartly in the east, with the Raven ramming the Coral to steal a coin while remaining out of Diablo’s range.
Desperate to escape the QAR, Nemesio sails the Buscador around the earth to dock at Thompson’s Island. At my home island, the LS repairs, the Independence captures the Minerva, and the San Leandro unloads her treasure.
At this point the Buscador’s other face down named crew was obvious because I had to disclose a link on the ship earlier in the game to Witch when the Buscador first loaded gold. Once Nemesio Diaz was flipped, it was easy to figure out that Fernando Sanchez was the linked crew. I was really hoping to steal a coin from Witch’s home island, one of many “sneaky” combos or face down crew I had purposely included in my fleet this game.
Both players were deliberating on many of their actions by now. It was turning into a classic chess match of a game, with things quite possibly coming down to the wire, or final coin(s). Knowing that Diaz would likely cancel Blackbeard’s gold capturing efforts on every turn, Witch had the QAR sink the Buscador! I was sad not to use Fernando Sanchez, but also since both hoists were now in the locker. However, I had new ships to play with – both the Lady’s Scorn and Minerva are repairing at my home island. The Raven sprints for home with a stolen coin, while the San Leandro heads back out to resume towing duties – either of the Diablo flotilla or the Coral.
With the Raven docking home, the Coral now contained the only non-fort available gold in play. Both players looked to repair their forces to full strength. We were entering the endgame.
Some turns later and all ships have been fully repaired. I believe Witch’s strategy was generally to use Blackbeard to capture Calico Cat (6 point crew aboard the Lady’s Scorn and now the most valuable in my fleet), then use the QAR’s “extra action after winning a boarding party” ability to inflict enough damage on any ships in the vicinity to be able to return home safely, hoping that gold would turn the tide. I would mainly be looking to get the Coral’s final gold home safely and use my numbers advantage to protect both forts.
This is when the cat and mouse “chess match” really amped up. Seeing the QAR move even a partial action towards Thompson’s Island prompted me to surge my forces northwest, ready to protect the 3 gold in the fort at almost all costs.
This is when capturing the Lady’s Scorn came in very handy. With Calico Cat’s link and only a helmsman and oarsman for other crew, the LS had 4 open cargo spaces. Under protection from the rest of my many cannons, she docked at Thompson’s Island and loaded all but one coin that the Frontier had re-deposited there earlier in the game. Lots of premeasuring was now taking place pretty much every round, with Witch ensuring that I couldn’t get the jump with any of my ships and me making sure the Lady’s Scorn stayed out of the QAR’s total range (which was close to 4S since she still had grapple shot aboard which paired nicely with Blackbeard’s gold capture).
With her impressive escort force the LS gets the coins home, leaving the Minerva to load the final coin I could take from Thompson’s Island. The Raven round earths back to the east where the Coral is, making me wonder if I should have split my forces slightly.
We added Fortaleza’s fort base to it since Witch was premeasuring a potential attack on the fort, and the base is considered part of the fort for drawing lines of fire to it. Even though now it looks like the fort is on a glacier sliding off the island.
The Raven got away with stealing another coin from the Coral! It was a 1 and I was just hoping it wouldn’t make a difference. I still surged my ships east to make sure she didn’t take the Coral’s final coin, and because I knew I wanted every cannon I could get in a potential fort battle climax, and the Coral has a 2L and the ability to not be shot at while docked. (making her truly perfect to use at Thompson’s Island, which gets a +1 cannon bonus when a friendly ship is docked there)
The premeasuring and maneuvering metagame continued, while I got the Coral home and repaired her. At this point 3 out of my 5 sailing ships were from Witch’s fleet. The Raven docked home her stolen coin, leaving the gold in forts the last available.
The chess game was grinding along. Even if the QAR didn’t make a feint towards Fortaleza Dorada, I pointed some ships there since it had 5 gold in it compared to the 3 in Thompson’s Island.
It was clear neither player was willing to budge. Witch told me he wasn’t going to botch any opportunity I gave him to capture crew with Blackbeard or give him an opening. I said I was going to do everything possible to win, which at this point mainly meant keeping all the gold in both forts in my possession. I knew I had an overall firepower advantage and that he had to make a move to try something. We admitted that things would likely continue, with ungodly amounts of premeasuring and jockeying for position happening over potentially another hour or more. (the game lasted around 3 hours total) However, I said we could at least pre-count and reveal what gold we had on our home islands, especially to make sure that the fort gold even mattered to fight over in the first place.
We totaled it up, and sure enough Witch was winning 23-21 based on home islands alone. This meant I could win 29-23 as long as I kept all the fort gold. In hindsight, theoretically we could have tied 26-26 in a crazy scenario if he got TI’s 3 gold and I held on to Fortaleza Dorada.
I wasn’t going to split my fleet or give him an opening to take advantage of Blackbeard, so Witch went for the attack on Thompson’s Island. The QAR hit 4/5 to cripple the fort, but then my fleet was inevitably on her. After the Coral docked to give the fort +1 to cannon rolls, Thompson’s Island, the Minerva and Diablo blasted away some masts while I finally revealed the San Leandro’s crew to be a captain. The Lady’s Scorn and Independence were headed to the fight when it ended. Although the QAR shot back with her remaining two masts, the final blows were dealt and she sank. Witch had decided to keep the Raven out of the scene and conceded, as I would have sank her in her attempts to smash either fort.
With that it was over! The count was simple as it was identical to how we counted just before the final battle.
- Ben: 29 gold
- Witch: 23
What an awesome game! Witch is a GREAT person to play against, and I really love and respect his style of not giving in and continuing to strategize every round. Rarely do I meet someone who will engage in the kind of tactical and strategic “chess match” on the same level and to the same degree as I do. This is why I love Pirates! 😀
Here is my entire fleet. I really wanted to try new setups and use fun named crew. Chelios on the Frontier is almost bizarre but could potentially work pretty well. The Buscador benefited from Diaz though I really wanted to pull off a raid with Sanchez. I used the Independence for the first time, and she has just enough cargo and point cap space to add the crew required for a nasty Eternal setup. I never got to reveal Ralph David! However, she was ready to fight, with SAT+Reroll, Crew Protect to force an opponent to sink her or cancel something, Eternal, and oarsman to prevent dereliction and therefore capture. The San Leandro and Diablo filled out the points, gave me some additional firepower, and evened out the Spanish American alliance numbers in the fleet.
12/21 100 point fleet
(25) Frontier + Nikos Chelios, helmsman, oarsman
(27) Buscador + Nemesio Diaz, Fernando Sanchez (link), helmsman, oarsman
(28) Independence + OE Montana Mays, Wayne Nolan, Ralph David (RotF), captain, helmsman, oarsman
(20) San Leandro + captain, towing Diablo
Thanks for reading!