I set up the islands in a straight line formation and had the fleets locate at the outer two islands. I took one island out in order to have only 3 wild islands, and put the highest value coins on the center island (6 coins for that island, then 5 each on the other two).
The Pirates went first, with the Minerva and Swift sailing towards the center island while the Amity (knowing she would only be going home at L speed) going after the closer island. The Frontier and submerged Mercury at first headed for the center island. As the Frontier and the Minerva were the fastest (S+S+S) ships in play, they would have reached the center first. However, the Frontier turned back for fear that she would lose her helmsman and multiple masts, grabbing two 1’s from the safer island. The Minerva headed to the north side of the island, which would become more important on the ensuing turns.
The Swift then took 11 gold off the center island and headed for home. On the next turn, the Frontier took the remaining coins from the center island, but she didn’t get a chance to move away, since the Minerva pounced on her and eliminated two masts and her helmsman (the Frontier blocked the Minerva’s path to the Mercury since the Minerva was on the other side of the island). Meanwhile, the Mercury surfaced and sunk the Swift with one broadside for the second straight game, moving 6 gold to the HI of the Americans and 5 to the Pirates’ side. In this way, the gunships essentially took out the treasure runners instead of attacking each other. The Amity soon finished her treasure run, bringing the Pirate gold total to 10.
While the Mercury’s crew began to turn the sub around to go assist the Frontier, it was too late for the hoist 3 master. The Pirates had the choice of capturing her and trying to tow her home or sinking her, knowing from their own explorations that the ship might have enough gold on her to make them win by sinking her. The Minerva took out the Frontier’s last mast and tried to sink her, but her last two gun rolls missed. Instead, the Pirates captured the Frontier, but they knew the Minerva stood no chance against a submerged submarine, so they had the Minerva explore the island with coins still on it, close to the American HI.
On the next turn, the Mercury surprised the Pirates by coming to the surface and shooting away all three of the Minerva’s masts. The Mercury’s crew knew she would have to capture the Frontier and Minerva to stop the Pirates from getting enough gold to win if she sunk both ships. Unfortunately, subs can’t tow, so she would have to explore the derelicts and take the gold home herself. At this point, the sails of the Amity were spotted on the horizon! The Americans sneaked underwater before the Pirates knew what was going on. The Amity started towing the Frontier, and then the Americans struck, ramming the Amity into submission, knowing she had no way of fighting back. Since the Americans now had dominance of the sea, the Mercury took home the gold and won the game, 20-10!
The Americans (especially due to their new additions that have been long overdue, even the famous Carolina and Rattlesnake gold runners are relatively new) appear to be on the brink of proving themselves as fierce competitors! Beating the Pirates twice in a row with a numbers disadvantage (3-2) is something for them to remember. If the Minerva had canceller Tia Dalma and a captain instead of linked crew Christopher Moody, maybe things would have turned out differently, but I really want to only use previously unused ships and crew. I think it’s time to increase the point limit in order to bring more new ships into the fray. I’m thinking 50 or 60 for the next 2 or 3 games, and then increase it again from there.