2 Minute Turns in 5×40 Game
The second game of the October 2022 Pirates weekend marathon was a 40 point game with 2 minute turns for each player. This was a timer that felt slightly too short for some 50 point games earlier this year, so with less points per fleet it seemed like it would work well. These are the house rules we use, with the following in effect as well for this particular weekend meetup:
-Lord Mycron legal, but has Limit and Ransom in addition to his regular abilities.
-Custom game pieces are allowed if all players agree to their legality.
-Three islands placed per player.
-Each player can place 3 pieces of terrain during setup (in the same order as islands, per usual), with a maximum of 1 massive terrain and 1 medium terrain per player. (Picture – Massive=7 in top 2 rows; Medium=7 in bottom row)
-The last player in the turn order chooses their home island location first, followed by the second to last player until the first player chooses their home island last.
-Each player must contribute an equal number of coins of any value or type in order to have 4 coins per wild island. (8 coins per player due to 2 wild islands per player)
-Gold bonuses will be applied permanently to the coin in question (ex: a 7 becomes an 8 ). The added value stays with the coin, and the coin can be “used” normally for the purposes of home island raiding, fort building, etc.
Here were the fleets in the order of play:
HMS Oxford + RotF Hermione Gold, Sir Jeremy Rothschild, Powder Pete, oarsman
Frontier + BC Diamond Nelson Turner, RotF Ralph David, Commodore Matthew Perry, helmsman, oarsman
Morocco + helmsman, explorer
Griffin + helmsman
Le Gaule + 3 crew
La Bonne Chance + captain
USS Kettering + Commodore Matthew Perry, captain, helmsman
Bloody Jewel + helmsman, explorer
Le Bon Marin + helmsman, oarsman
Le Pique + explorer, oarsman
La Joya del Sol + tribal chieftain, 2 crew
El Martillo de Dios + crew
Spanish Native Canoes
Looking from east to west, from top to bottom you have the home islands of Gazerbeam, L0rdgingerbread, John, me, and Xerecs.
The game was mostly a gold race. This was unsurprising to me given the relatively low build total and the 2 minute timer. I myself had specifically built a fleet that I could use effectively within the time constraints, with no extra actions available and no real offensive capabilities to speak of. My usual penchant for capturing enemy ships and using them in my fleet was a way I would get into trouble with the time limit, so I decided to go all-gold and hope the Frontier’s defenses could outlast any hostile neighbors. I also figured my opponents would have at least some focus on getting gold, which proved mostly true and helped my fleet survive with less big threats around.
This looks like partway through the second round of turns. Intermediaro has used its ability to put a coin on the Oxford. The Frontier is already home with a haul while my 2 masted galleys explore for more, with the Griffin finding Jack’s Piece of Eight and the Morocco getting busy spying 5 times per round. John and Spencer spread out their fleet resources, with the Joya’s island in the west looking like a potential clash with multiple gunships pointed towards it.
The Americans get the better of the encounter, crippling the French as Le Gaule is nearly dismasted! HMS Oxford beat up the Morocco but the galley was able to flee into a huge fog bank. The canoes have explored and found Marksman’s Map.
I made the mistake of thinking DNT’s canceller ability would be enough to save the Frontier from damage, but Xerecs swung the Oxford around her port side, got Hermione Gold cancelled, but then was still able to surface and shoot with Intermediaro! The squid dismasted the hoist, leaving my fleet in some disarray. However, on my next turn DNT was able to cancel the Sea Monster keyword in order to break the pin, allowing the Frontier to row into the fog bank for safety.
The Kettering sank the Gaule! Gold running continued, with the “reef island” up north looking hotly contested. Spencer’s canoes have loaded some coins from it, but the French and Americans are arriving on the scene with firepower ready.
The Kettering survived the reef to sink both Spanish canoes, though it was briefly contested that her move action had started after the turn timer had expired. The Frontier and Griffin returned home with lots of coins, while the island south of the western reefs looked to become another potential hotspot. Indeed, the gold was starting to dry up!
The French sloop on the left had some valuable coins aboard, which both Spencer and I wanted. The Bloody Jewel stole one with a ram and board. I wanted to steal the same coin from the BJ, but the Griffin couldn’t quite reach her and settled for ramming the Pique instead. The Frontier and Morocco are busy repairing to get back in action, but I was losing this mid-game gold race to Spencer and rather worried about it. The Kettering scared off the Bonne Chance and took the Fureur as a prize.
Looking from the west, the game of millimeters continues as the Griffin can only ram the Pique’s flag, and not the Bloody Jewel:
Xerecs had a nifty setup going in the far east – the submerged Intermediaro used its ability to put a coin on the Oxford each turn, with the latter safely docked at home and able to simply explore the home island to unload! It was a nice automatic profit system, but one that was probably too slow to accumulate enough gold to win in this runner-friendly game.
The desperation in the west intensifies, with more ramming and boarding. Both of Gazerbeam’s French sloops are mastless, while the Joya del Sol empties a wild island of its last 2 coins.
The Griffin successfully zips back over the reef and through the whirlpool, and is greeted warmly by the Frontier, who hoists the stolen coin straight to my HI! The Morocco is fully repaired and my fleet is hopefully ready to make a dent in the endgame. Gazerbeam has cleaned up in the north, assigning towing duties to his Bloody Jewel and dismasting the Bonne Chance to eliminate John from the game!
This shows Spencer’s fleet in control of some western gold – he is getting many +1’s via the native canoes, stacking up lots of extra treasure that will be very handy in the final count.
Despite the risk I felt like I had to make an aggressive play, and sent the Frontier through the whirlpool and straight into the heart of Spencer’s fleet. The Picador and Raton rammed masts off her, but her ultimate doom came when trying to sail over the reef. I think this is the first time I’ve seen a wrecked hoist! However, in hindsight she should have returned to my home island via Eternal from Gus Schultz, but I had mistakenly thought the keyword didn’t apply to shipwrecks. Poo!
So close to stealing gold from the Joya in a boarding miracle!
The captured Fureur was carrying the final two coins in play, and so the endgame was truly upon us with urgency. Xerecs managed to position the Oxford out of the Kettering’s cancelling range to sink the Bloody Jewel, freeing the derelict for a fresh owner to tow it. Intermediaro was there to assist, but Xerecs was potentially facing counterattacks from not just Gazerbeam’s Kettering, but Spencer’s swarm as well. The Morocco has lost a mast to the whirlpool but explores the wrecked Frontier to get whirlpool fodder crew for the trip back. (Spencer having gotten the rest of his gold home, so no more on the water to steal)
The Kettering fails to dismast the Oxford and it’s on! The Oxford snags the Fureur while Intermediaro goes nuts on the longship, knocking off 2 masts and pinning her!
Things broke up afterwards as ships scattered across the map. The Fureur explored the Oxford to give the schooner both coins, with the Oxford hightailing it to the north via round earth. Intermediaro finished off the Kettering and pinned the Joya. Gazerbeam deferred giving actions to his final ship in play and so was essentially out of it. I sent the Griffin east via round earth to intercept the Oxford.
We got tangled up in a classic endgame ramming pileup. The Griffin was able to ram the Oxford, but she lost the boarding party. This allowed Xerecs to get the final 2 coins home which ended the game!
- A7XfanBen: 51 gold
- L0rdgingerbread: 50
- Xerecs: 20
- Gazerbeam543: 10
- John: 0
Another incredibly close finish!! O_O After the prior night’s game was a 46-46 tie decided by the units in play tiebreaker, the second game came down to the wire at just a 1 gold differential! I was happy to come away with a win on the weekend, though it may have been the least exciting 5+ player game we played.
I’ve been playing Eternal and reefs wrong as well. This was a fun one, might have to revisit Intermediaro and a lengthy ship again, though I don’t know if I can do much better than the Oxford for a running mate.
It’s a solid gimmick but I think it’s best when you have multiple ships for Intermediaro to use it with (like canoes).